We all have felt pain at some point in our lives. A cut, fracture, childbirth, surgery or kidney stones all cause pain of varying intensity. In all these cases, the cause of the pain is known, and the pain resides when the cause is cured. This type of pain is called acute pain. Acute pain has a function of its own, it informs the body of an existing disorder.
Chronic pain on the other hand, is the kind of pain that lingers for years and can take over your life. Chronic pain can also destroy your physical and emotional health, and cause you to lose your enthusiasm for life. It often leads to feelings of isolation, anger, frustration and guilt. The most common chronic pain conditions include back pain, neck and shoulder pain, limb pain, headache and abdominal pain.
The usual treatment prescribed for chronic pain is usually over-the-counter medications which often cause more problems than they solve. The side-effects of such toxic drugs are varied, not to mention sometimes life-threatening, and can be as serious as the diseases they are meant to treat.
It is important to note that pain is not a malfunction. There is always an intelligent reason for it, and chronic pain resulting from disease is no different.
The Most Common Cause of Chronic Pain
Humans react unconsciously to many of life’s predicaments. This includes reaching for the pain medication when something hurts. The real problem isn’t that you’re in pain, however (although it may seem like it). The real problem is what is CAUSING the pain.
Inflammation is the most common cause of chronic pain. It is both an immune response and a mechanism for healing, so its presence simply means that the body is trying to protect you or repair some kind of damage.
Inflammation can cause disease and/or result from disease, so it’s imperative to do everything possible to eliminate what’s causing it, not just cover up the effects.
Other chronic pain is caused by a chronic illness such as arthritis or cancer. Some people suffer from pain for which the cause is unknown. This does not mean that the pain does not exist. Whatever the cause, chronic pain is real and should be treated.
The following conditions are sometimes associated with chronic pain
- spinal trauma
- back injury
- inflammation or nerve damage.
In some cases, chronic pain can be caused by damage to a nerve. Pain of this type is referred to as neuropathic pain and is often the result of direct trauma to the nerve or disease affecting the nerve. Neuropathic pain is different from acute pain; the person often complains of radiating pain or a burning sensation rather than dullness or soreness.
Foods to Avoid When Living With Chronic Pain
Certain types of food can most assuredly work against you when dealing with chronic pain and inflammation because:
- The body treats everything you ingest that is not created by nature as a toxin. The immune system will attack these toxins in an attempt to protect you and rid them from your body.
- Any foods that cause insulin to spike will also result in inflammation and an increased sensitivity to pain.
- Processed foods are full of Omega 6 fats which upset the delicate Omega 3/6 balance.
The following foods can either cause or worsen inflammation in the body. If you suffer from any inflammatory condition like arthritis, headaches, asthma, fibromyalgia, allergies, bowel disease, COPD, heart disease, etc., you should avoid these foods at all costs.
- Artificial Sugar / Sugar Substitutes
- Dairy (milk, cheese, butter)
- Trans fats / Hydrogenated Oils
- Commercially Raised Meats
- Processed Meats (lunch meat, hot dogs)
- Processed Foods (wrappers, bags, and boxes)
- Additives / Preservatives
- Stimulants / Caffeine
- Processed Grains (bread, pasta, cereal)
- Fried Foods / Fast Foods
Foods Which Reduce Inflammation and Chronic Pain
Nature has provided us with some powerful foods which aid the immune system, lower insulin levels, and reduce inflammation. The following foods have an anti-inflammatory effect:
- Turmeric / Curcumin
- Brussel Sprouts
- Green Tea
- Salmon, Tuna, Cod
- Olive & Avocado Oil
- Clean Water
For these foods to have the proper effect, they have to be eaten fresh and the produce should be as raw as possible. Canned fruits, frozen vegetables, and processed fish will actually cause inflammation rather than reduce it.
Natural Pain Relief
In my own experience with patients, especially with arthritis and fibromyalgia, the following supplements have been the most effective when trying to control or eliminate inflammation.
Vitamin D – Part of this hormone’s job is controlling the inflammatory response. It is an essential nutrient and dangerously lacking in most humans.
Omega 3s – Also an essential nutrient and deficient in most humans. Along with a lack of Omega 3 fats, the average American diet is full of Omega 6 fats, and this disruption in the Omega 3/6 balance results in inflammation. In addition to supplementing with Omega 3s, chronic pain sufferers should eliminate as many processed foods and foods containing artificial chemicals as possible.
Boswellia – An Indian herb with a long-standing record for success in chronic pain relief. This is especially effective for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
Curamin & Genacol – This combination has been more effective than anything I’ve seen thus far. It has helped many patients get off their dangerous pain and anti-inflammatory drugs. The curcumin in Curamin has been studied quite extensively and has been used in India for centuries.
Exercise – As much as exercise can be uncomfortable for those suffering from chronic pain, it is a genetic necessity and something you simply cannot eliminate if you want to achieve wellness. There are many low-impact forms of exercise chronic pain sufferers can utilize like dancing, biking, walking, hiking, isometrics, yoga, swimming, etc. Moving the body properly lubricates joints, strengthens bones, and releases endorphins which are natural pain killers. Just use common sense and stop any exercise that causes or worsens discomfort.
*It’s always best to make any changes to your lifestyle in partnership with a trusted health professional.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are TENS machine effective in treating chronic pain?
Transcutaneous electrical neurostimulation (TENS) transmits electrical energy through the skin using electrodes. Although it is not known exactly how TENS works to relieve pain, it is thought that the energy initiates a natural reaction in the spinal cord that reduces pain. TENS is not effective for everyone, but it does provide some pain relief for some people.
Are acupuncture effective in treating chronic pain?
Acupuncture are said to helpful in providing relief for migraine, back and neck pain. During an acupuncture session, the practitioner inserts fine needles under the skin at specific points on the body. Acupuncture probably stimulates natural analgesic chemicals stored in the spinal cord. Relaxation and meditation techniques can help to relax muscles, reduce anxiety and ease pain.
Does Physio therapy reduce chronic pain?
Physical therapy addresses the physical symptoms of inflammation, stiffness and soreness through manipulation, exercise, and massage. However, it can also help the body heal itself by increasing the production of natural pain-relieving drugs. Physiotherapists can provide advice and lifestyle guidance, help with chronic diseases, and prescribe exercises and aids that will help people live better.
Living with chronic pain can create a vicious circle of anxiety, dependence on others and lack of sleep.Chronic pain can make normal daily life difficult for some people; it exhausts them and negatively influences their work abilities.
Nearly every degenerative disease you can name can be traced back to a deficiency of certain nutrients, a toxicity of chemicals or things that are unnatural, but most commonly a combination of both.