Reduce Your Pain Without Drugs
Each and every year, Australians spend millions on drug medications to reduce pain and inflammation.
We devour these medications, hoping for a quick fix and fast relief from aches, pains and strains.
The most popular drugs – acetaminophen, aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are available in many convenient places (think petrol stations, supermarkets, milk bars) so we can easily seek relief to our pain.
So how do these medications actually work?
After we have digested the drug, the active elements work to inhibit the enzymes that normally convert dietary fatty acids into inflammation-producing chemicals that can cause pain.
Basically, they upset the normal function of the body.
As well as inhibiting reactions, they can also cause a range of nasty side-effects, including stomach ulcers, bleeding from the bowel, fragile bones, stroke and heart attacks.
Our diet plays a huge role in determining the level of pain and inflammation we experience. Rather than continuing poor dietary choices, encouraging pain and injury and then taking drugs as a short term ‘fix’, maybe it’s time to address the source of the problem (poor diet) and make a positive change.
Poor Dietary Choices = More Pain
Most of our modern diets rely largely on nutrient-free calories – think sugar, refined flour, oil, fatty meats and pasta. Not only do these foods provide little nutritional value, they are also pro- inflammatory foods; promoting inflammation in the body.
This means that for too many of us, up to 80% of the calories we consume promote inflammation and pain.
The first order of business to reducing pain and inflammation should be to reduce or eliminate the consumption of foods that cause such ailments.
It is highly unlikely that swallowing drugs or NSAIDs will reduce pain and suffering if you continue to eat pro-inflammatory foods.
Basically you cannot medication yourself out of a condition you eat yourself into.
Refined oils, flours, wheat and fatty meat are known to contain excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids which generally cause inflammation.
Omega-6 fatty acids, in small amounts, are actually good for us. Unfortunately though, most diets contain huge amounts of this fatty acid.
In contrast, omega-3’s are found in green vegetables, certain seeds and in abundance in oily fish. Omega-3’s have an anti-inflammatory action in the body, and have been shown to aid in relieving inflammatory conditions like arthritis, osteoarthritis, asthma, joint pain, skin conditions and even heart disease.
Most of our daily calories should come from vegetables, fruit, fish, lean meats and nuts.
These foods are the best sources of calories to reduce heart disease, pain and inflammation because of their anti-inflammatory nature.
Addressing your diet, and combining healthy eating with a good supplementation schedule could be the key to reducing your pain, inflammation and suffering.
Start with the basics – and live your life without the pain.
Where do I start?
Changing your diet can often seem like a scary concept, but it doesn’t have to be. Beginning with the basics, and slowly eliminating the ‘pro-inflammatory’ foods in your diet is the best approach.
When considering supplements to help reduce your pain, it is crucial that you understand the pain expression is based on physical, psychological and biochemical factors.
The goal with supplementation should be to address the source of inflammation (and thus pain).
There is a range of supplements to take to ease inflammation, including:
Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil play a key role in a range of vital body processes – from regulating blood pressure and blood clotting, to reducing inflammation and boosting the immune system.
It is important that you get your exact omega-3 fatty acid requirements tested before beginning supplementation.
The Spinal Centre Fatty Acids Test is an ideal way to identify your exact EFA levels. We will create a personalised supplementation schedule, and steer you in the right direction to improving your health.
However, if you are already taking a fish oil, are you taking the right one?
Many inferior brands contain high levels of contamination, and low levels of omega-3’s.
I am quite amazed by the junk people buy now days in the chemists and health food stores. The cheapest is not usually the best – even if you take a lot of them. It is not cost effective and may do you more harm than good.
Indeed many of the fish are farmed; which means they are often feed grains. Grain pellets destroy the essential fatty acid balance in fish – just as they do in humans. Avoid and beware.
The Spinal Centre’s Best Fish Oils lists the best, strongest and purest fish oils we are able to source for our patients.
Vitamin D has emerged in recent years as a vitamin with anti-inflammatory and anti-pain benefits.
Many diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, are inflammatory in nature and known to be associated with vitamin D deficiency.
We get vitamin D from the sun, but its production is reduced by up to 95% by sunscreen, and our eagerness to slip, slop and slap all the time and too much time indoors has resulted in a widespread vitamin d deficiency.
Also the further you live away from the equator – the more likely you are to have a Vitamin D deficiency.
Research indicates that if you live anywhere south of Sydney in terms of latitude, you are likely to be Vitamin D deficient. Especially in winter.
It is important to have your Vitamin D levels checked so that you maintain them in an optimum level.
Vitamin D levels need to be between 100 and 150 for patients who have musculoskeletal problems. Particularly if you are arthritic or have chronic pains.
Research suggests that if you are lower than 100 you will have a suboptimal result from your supplementation.
Conversely, elevated levels over the long term can lead to toxicity and should be avoided.
Do not make the mistake of having a one off check and then thats it – particularly if you supplement.
This is why we check Vitamin D levels routinely as part of the Musculoskeletal Profile. It can be done separately if required.
Too little attention is paid on this vital mineral, which is a shame given that more than 300 enzymes and many metabolic reactions require magnesium.
Most of us are magnesium deficient. Particularly musculoskeletal patients – those with back, neck, shoulder, knee pains etc.
A severe and prolonged deficiency can result in a range of conditions, including heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis, headache, chronic inflammation, and nervous system dysfunction.
This simple blood test will reveal your exact magnesium levels, and the corresponding report formulated by The Spinal Centre will tell you how to stabilise your levels.
It may seem odd, but research is emerging that poor digestive function can cause musculoskeletal pain and inflammation.
This speaks volumes considering our reliance on nutrient-poor food refined oils that are devoid of fibre and known to compromise gut bacteria.
Supplementation with a good probiotic formula, like those found on The Spinal Centre’s Best Probiotics will supply the gut with plenty of bacteria to reduce intestinal inflammation and boost immunity.
If you like this article be sure to visit the Spinal Centre website at www.thespinalcentre.com.au and view more content by Dr. Hooper and the Spinal Rehabilitation Team.
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