Chronic Pain - Preventing it and Learning from it!

Since 1994 I have been dealing with chronic pain and I like to say that I have come to understand what pain is, how it can affect us, and what we can learn from it. What we do know about pain, is that some pain and suffering is unavoidable and some pain and suffering can be prevented or relieved naturally. Some experts believe that a lack of oxygen, or inflammation in our bodies is what causes us to have pain. Some also believe that pain is not only physical but can be emotional due to our stress levels or emotions. When dealing with your pain naturally it is best to try to look for the cause of your pain and let your understanding of that cause help direct you in leading a healthier life.

As we begin to explore some different options/strategies for easing pain, please keep in mind that our bodies need to signal pain. Pain is now our enemy it is our bodies way of warning us that something isn't right.

Pain is a Lack of Oxygen

Dr. C. Samuel West at the International Academy of Lymphology favorite sayings was, "Pain is a lack of oxygen at the cellular level." Dr. C. Samuel West isn't the only one who feels that way. Majid Ali, M.D.also stated about oxygen "It is an elixir of life and a hemlock for death--the ultimate molecular Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Sometimes by its presence and sometimes by its absence, oxygen initiates signaling for cellular life as well as demise. In that context, it is important to recognize that oxygen drives chronic pain pathways primarily by its absence."

Having experienced tremendous pain relief through the use f the Chi Machine which increases your oxygen, energy and circulation I tend to agree that a lack of oxygen reaching our cells and tissues is a main culprit for our pain. Usually pain is caused by inflammation, which is the normal response to tissue damage. When inflammation occurs, fluid and protein leave the blood stream and enter the tissue spaces. This slows down the exchange of oxygen and nutrients at the cell level.

Some things that may help for pain relief from minor injuries:

  • Squeeze or rub the pain away. By grabbing the injured area tightly, or rubbing it lightly, one can move the excess fluid in the tissue spaces and move it into the lymphatic system. If you keep this up until the pain stops, a process that usually takes 5-20 minutes, the pain will be immediately relieved and won't come back.
  • Breathe deeply. Try to concentrate on breathing very slowly and deeply when you have a headache, neck ache, backache or other type of chronic pain, you'll be amazed at how much it can be eased by 5-15 minutes of deep breathing. Deep breathing floods the body with oxygen, pumps the lymphatics, and reduces stress and muscle tension.

Some NSP products that may help the body with oxygenating tissue:

Liquid Chlorophyll is excellent at promoting healthy circulation. With healthy circulation comes the transportation of oxygen throughout our blood. Reserach has been done on Vitamin C in relation to pain. so I try to drink a glass of liquid chlorophyll with a little Vitamin C Powder in it at least 1 to 2 times per day and it does seem to help with my pain.

Pain - Healing Inflammation

Some of the symptoms of acute inflammation (the initial response of the body to harmful stimuli which is achieved by the increased movement of plasma and leukocytes from the blood into the injured tissues) are: heat, swelling redness and pain. When you injure yourself, the pain you feel is usually caused by acute inflammation.

Most people when they are in pain reach for a pain reliever (analgesic). Analgesics are a remedy that numbs the nerves to deaden the sensation of pain. The analgesic lessens the pain, but doesn't do anything to assist your body in dealing with the inflammation that is the cause of your pain.

People feel natural remedies are "slow acting" or not dependable. There are several natural remedies you can use for pain releif.

Topically you can use Tei-Fu Lotion which is one of my favorites.

Herbs aren't "magic bullets" for pain because they aren't isolated chemicals. They're complex mixtures of substances that act on the body in various and multiple ways.

Nerve Eight contains two herbs with natural salycilates (the forerunner of aspirin), white willow and black cohosh and may be helpful for inflammation.

Stress and Pain

by Kimberly Balas, ND

In today’s world we are constantly under stress and this stress contributes to the pains we experience. In stressful situations, the sympathetic nervous system is activated, releasing increased levels of epinephrine and norepinephrine. These hormones create vasoconstriction, stress on the cardiovascular system and affect glycolysis in muscles. Emotions like anger, anxiety and grief affect hormones and neurotransmitters that can actually bring about physical sensations of pain.

Stress makes us feel anxious, short tempered and overwhelmed. It takes its toll on the adrenal glands, contributing to adrenal exhaustion, which can increase inflammation and pain. Pain causes us to clench our muscles and breathe more shallowly, which makes pain worse. Pain is stressful, so experiencing pain increases our stress level. Since stress makes pain feel worse, this creates a vicious cycle that contributes to fear, depression and feelings of exhaustion.

Clearly, it is necessary to both reduce pain and control stress at the same time. Things like time management, bio-feedback, chiropractic, yoga breathing, hypnosis and acupuncture are all really beneficial for pain relief because they also help to manage stress.

Food choices are also a big issue. When eating processed foods the nerves aren’t being properly fed. They become innervated, raising pain levels due to irritation. pH values become too acidic, which also contributes to pain. An alkalizing diet that features plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables will feed the nerves and reduce irritation, easing pain. Staying hydrated also helps to relieve stress and reduce acid elevation in the pH.

Exercise is also a key element in pain reduction. Exercise pumps lymphatics and prompts endorphin release, which blocks pain signals and makes you feel better. So, exercise helps you both emotionally and biochemically with pain as long as you don’t put undue stress on injured areas of the body. Stretching, yoga and Tai Chi and are all helpful for pain management.

Adaptagenic herbs are a key element in controlling adrenal and stress responses, which in turn will help with pain management.

So, when considering ways of managing pain, don’t forget to manage stress at the same time. This dual approach will increase your effectiveness at easing both.

Reference: Steven Horne, RH (AHG), Kimberly Balas, ND