Debilitating chronic pain is on the increase, and if you don’t know why you are in pain then it is difficult to know what to do or how to cope. At Natural Spine Solutions, we treat people with chronic pain every day and Dr. Fichter focuses on the underlying cause of the pain. When working with patients that have chronic pain, it is not always straightforward and can be a time consuming process to determine the main factors contributing to the issue. These underlying factors can include emotional, physical and chemical trauma. It may be surprising to find out that one of the following triggers may be affecting your chronic pain.
No. 1: Pain medication. Pain medication interferes with you body’s response to pain and over time you may need to take more medication or need a more potent pain medication to alleviate chronic pain. In some individuals this can lead to increased sensitivity to pain in the long run. We has seen this with the current opioid epidemic. The Department of Health and Human Services reports that opioid overdoses accounted for more than 42,000 deaths in 2016 — more than any previous year on record. An estimated 40 percent of opioid deaths involved a prescription opioid. Some other consequences of continued use include addiction, liver damage, brain damage due to hypoxia, nausea and vomiting.
No. 2: Emotional trauma. Doctors are beginning to realize that post-traumatic stress or abuse can manifest itself as chronic physical pain. A clear correlation is still unknown, but one prevailing theory is that emotional trauma, physical injury or environmental toxins appear to stimulate microglia. Microglia are molecules that live in the central nervous system to create a continuous supply of inflammatory chemicals whenever they’re stressed. Your body’s response to this constant inflammation can manifest itself in two significant ways: chronic pain and psychological disorders like depression and anxiety.
No. 3: Poor-quality sleep. Deep sleep is a time when your muscles have an increased blood supply, which helps with tissue growth and repair. When you are not getting regular sleep this can cause an increase in generalized muscle pain or an increase in the perception of pain. Poor sleep quality may interfere with recovery which is needed to help you feel better.
No. 4: Leaky Gut. Did you know that 70 percent of your immune system is located in your gut? It is filled with nerves as well as tiny hairs in the walls known as villi that prevent your body from absorbing too many toxins. Taking too many painkillers, or even having food sensitivities to things like gluten, can damage both the nerve endings and those villi, leading to a condition known as “leaky gut.” When your gut “leaks,” undigested food, bacteria and other environmental chemicals can cause the microglia cells in the brain to get stimulated and lead to inflammation and chronic pain.
No. 5: Magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. According to the National Institutes of Health, 48 percent of Americans don’t get enough. This vital mineral helps with pain by blocking your brain’s receptors of glutamate, a neurotransmitter that can cause neurons to be hypersensitive to pain. The latest RDA for magnesium intake is 400-420 mg/day for men and 310-320 mg/day for women. You can also get magnesium by increasing your intake of leafy greens, dried apricots, avocados, brown rice, almonds, cashews, and bananas.
If you have any further questions regarding your chronic pain, please give our office a call to schedule a consultation to discuss how chiropractic might be able to help.
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Dr. Wayne M. Fichter Jr. is a chiropractor at Natural Spine Solutions. The business is located at 3913 Schreiber Way in Coeur d’Alene, 208-966-4425.