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Pain and Inflammation

100 Million Americans suffer from Chronic Pain. $600 BILLION a year in medical treatments and lost productivity.

Chronic pain can follow and actual injury that has healed, such as a sprained back or serious infection, or there can be an ongoing cause of pain, such as arthritis or cancer, and someone can also experience chronic pain without any past injury or ongoing illness. The experience of pain involves multiple and interactive neural pathways that influence pain signals at several levels at once: the sensory organs, the spinal cord, and the brain at both the cortical and subcortical levels. Pain pathways become stimulated by painful stimuli and, with repeated stimulation, these pathways can become altered and start firing independently of a painful stimulus. With repeated exposure to certain stimuli, a person becomes more sensitive to the stimuli and responds with greater and longer lasting pain. These changes in the brain, in turn, affect the endocrine and immune systems of the body. Through these multiple and interacting pathways, pain becomes amplified, it triggers more neural networks, and it becomes self-sustaining and resistant to treatment. These events result in disturbances of mood, sleep, energy, libido, memory/concentration, behavior and stress tolerance.

Inflammation is an immune response, the result of the body trying to “right” itself by removing the free radicals, dead cells, irritants, germs and pathogens. It is an attempt of the body to get rid of stimuli. Like any other purging process, this causes pain. Therefore, inflammation is a root cause of pain but the truth is that this too is caused by other underlying conditions. You cannot be treated for inflammation and think that the chronic pain will go away for good. You need treatment for the condition that caused inflammation in the first place. Not all inflammation is bad, but when it turns chronic, it can cause cancers, hay fever, atherosclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. It seems that inflammation has good and bad sides. However, it is likely to cause depression and this will only intensify the pain.

Lifestyle Recommendations:

• Practice deep breathing which stimulates the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which reduces inflammation. • Consider modalities such as chiropractic care, acupuncture, trigger point massage, and injection therapies like neural prolotherapy. • Monitor for appropriate time to resume exercise. • Stay well-hydrated. • Apply topicals such as arnica cream or gel, menthol or essential oils; utilize hot and packs if applicable.

Dietary Tips and Caveats:

• Emphasize fresh whole foods such as pineapples, tart cherries and cherry juice, oranges and celery, and healthy fats such as avocado, coconut oil, and raw nuts and seeds. • Incorporate complete protein with each meal or snack, such as lean meats, protein powders and hormone-free dairy (if no dairy sensitivity exists). • Limit red meat and sugar consumption during healing period. • Eat spices such as ginger and garlic. • Drink calming herbal teas such as tulsi, turmeric or ginger tea.

Neurofeedback For Your Pain?

Neurofeedback can have a direct influence on the processing of pain. By learning self-regulation of brain functions, a patient can modify the electrical activity of areas of the brain involved in pain processing, pain perception, or pain memory. This allows the reduction or even elimination of pain, along with many of its co-morbidities, including depression or anxiety, for example. The psychological factors that influence pain perception have the ability to modify our body’s biochemical processes. Thoughts can have a direct impact on these processes and potentially produce analgesia. Chronic pain can also induce changes in the functional organization of the brain. Neurofeedback can allow the control of pain by altering the connectivity between brain regions, thereby inducing long-lasting changes in neuronal networks that can counterbalance the changes induced by chronic pain.

Chiropractic and Chronic Pain :

When the chronic pain you’re experiencing stems from irritation or injury to your nervous system, or from irregular function of muscles, joints and the vascular system, chiropractic is one of the most effective means of achieving pain relief because of how it targets the root of the problem. Chiropractors manipulate the body's alignment to relieve pain and improve function and to help the body heal itself. We may advise you about changing your biomechanics and posture and suggest other treatments and techniques. The ultimate goal of our office is to help relieve pain and help patients better manage their condition at home.


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