What You Can Do to Beat Chronic Pain
Pain is one of the most common complaints that people seek relief from at a doctor’s office. Pain develops when pain sensitive tissues including muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and of course spinal and peripheral nerves are irritated. The pain from mechanical irritation can be due to acute trauma or can develop from a repetitive activity that slowly builds up over time. This irritation will create an inflammatory response in the body which is designed to compartmentalize the injury and initiate a healing response.
Inflammation and pain can also be caused by metabolic imbalances such as high blood sugar and other problems that create a systemic inflammation. Just like mechanical irritation this overall inflammatory response will excite nerve endings and result in pain. The inflammatory response can also be perpetuated by faulty brain function.
The Mechanisms That Create Three Types of Inflammation
Damage to spinal structures including discs, spinal nerves is a common occurrence. The spinal structures and associated soft tissues support our body 24/7 in all positions and activities in the daily balance against gravity. Vertebra can lose proper position and mobility in the spinal column resulting in the vertebral subluxation.
Peripheral nerves that divide off from the spinal nerves continue into the extremities. These nerves can be irritated in the shoulder, elbows, wrist, knees and ankle joints. Spinal and extremity joint adjustments are of key importance. Muscular tension can complicate extremity problems or any mechanical inflammatory pattern. Trigger point therapy and myofascial release techniques are often needed to obtain relief as well.
The Meningeal system in the body is a network of soft tissue structures that are highly networked with pain fibers, they tether the brain to the skull, cover the cranial nerves and attaches tightly to the upper neck, loosely along the rest of the spine and tightly to the low back. Tension in this system can also produce mechanical pain; affect brain function and organ function via the cranial nerves. The tension in this system can be relieved thru neuro-cranial integration technique.
Systemic inflammation can occur for many reasons:
-Blood sugar elevation
-High levels of acidity in the body
-Immune dysfunction causing auto-immunity reaction in which the body attacks itself
-Unhealthy gut function and food allergies
-High cortisol levels
-Low levels of essential fatty acids
-Heavy metal toxicity
-A diet high in sugar and refined foods
Laboratory evaluation can be used via blood, saliva and urine to detect these problems. Specific inflammatory markers to test for include: HBa1c, Uric acid, C – reactive protein and Homocysteine along with a complete thyroid panel. Once these problems are discovered targeted nutritional support can begin through supplementation, change in diet, and detoxification.
The Power of Light! Cold Laser Therapy
Cold laser therapy is an FDA cleared modality for pain control, inflammation reduction and accelerated healing. The science behind cold lasers is based on using a wavelength that penetrates the body to an appropriate level and using a pulsing frequency or continuous wave that interacts with the tissue to inhibit or excite the damaged area. Studies have shown that laser light is absorbed by healthy tissue but it does not trigger a reaction.
What can it do?
1. Reduces pain by causing production of natural pain killers called endorphins.
2. Reduction in inflammation by suppressing inflammatory enzymes that creates swelling, redness, pain and heat.
3. Enhanced lymphatic drainage, which increases circulation and speeds healing.
4. Release tight muscles that create chronic pain, joint problems and decreased mobility.
5. Initiates faster bone repair by stimulating cell growth
When You Have Chronic Pain You Must Treat the Brain
The human brain is a most amazing mechanisms, it contains approximately 100 billion neurons which is around 15 times of the total human population on earth. The brain is a storage device for all of our memories, is the center for our emotional responses, coordinates all of your muscular activities and stimulates and monitors all of your organ function. One function that you probably didn’t know is that a healthy brain has mechanism that turns off pain. Proper balance involves detecting pain when tissue injury is present and not feeling pain when no tissue injury exists. Distortion of this effect can perpetuate pain when there is injury and perpetuate pain from a stimulus that would not normally be painful. A pre-existing pattern of pain can make the brain more susceptible to a continuation and an amplification of pain when more tissue injury occurs.
This is often seen in patients who had been in multiple motor vehicle accidents. It is also true that emotional stress and overall metabolic inflammation can also perpetuate the pain cycle. Imbalances in the brain and the nervous systems that perpetuate pain can occur in one or several areas:
-Somatosensory cortex (part of the parietal lobe) area of the brain that interprets pain
-Limbic system- involved in emotional processing
-Spinal Cord- transmits information from the periphery to the brain and back
-Peripheral nerves- nerves that go to the arms/fingers, legs/toes
A functional neurological examination will uncover which areas are losing function and a plan of treatment can be initiated to restore function and re-balance the pain response.
Functional Neurology or Brain Based Therapy is a neurological and metabolic approach that examines the function of the human brain and nervous system and attempts to correct chronic problems without drugs or surgery. BBT utilizes the most effective approaches to rehabilitate the nervous system and can be an alternative form of treatment when the standard medical approach isn’t working for you.
BBT Treatment Modalities:
-Oxygen therapy with exercise
-Calorics – warm water in ear stimulates the cerebellum
-Sound, olfactory and light therapy
-Unilateral chiropractic adjustments
-Canolith repositioning for dizziness
-Metabolic laboratory testing and corrective nutritional protocols
Chronic pain can have a major effect on a person’s productivity and overall well- being. Fortunately an overall integrated approach addressing the patient neurologically and metabolically can produce life changing results.