Defeat Chronic Pain: If you are one of the estimated 50 to 100 million Americans who struggles with Chronic Pain, you are aware of just how miserable and life-altering it can be. There is not a single area of you life that remains unaffected. You no longer sleep well. Your SEX LIFE is non-existent. Everyday activities have become your own personal “Mount Everest ”. You cannot concentrate because the pain IS ALWAYS ON YOUR MIND. It is wearing you out, physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s sapping your ability to think clearly or make decisions. In short we’re here to defeat chronic pain.
People can see the pain on your face and in your eyes. Chronic Pain and the inability to do the things you love, is making you feel DEPRESSED (not the other way around like your doctor may have suggested). Recent studies have even shown that brains of people suffering with Chronic Pain, show patterns of atrophy that are virtually indistinguishable from what is seen in patients with dementia or ALZHEIMER’S. In fact, a recent study from a prominent Canadian University showed that Chronic Pain causes the brain to degenerate at almost 10 times the rate of someone without pain!
Although Chronic Pain may seem hopeless, there are some things that you can do to help yourself — even though your doctor undoubtedly failed to educate you in this regard. Some of the most basic of these include eating only healthy foods (I recommend a PALEO DIET), taking only WHOLE FOOD SUPPLEMENTS, drinking more WATER, giving up the CIGARETTES, and EXERCISING to the degree that you can (difficult when suffering with Chronic Pain or FIBROMYALGIA).
Although DOING THESE SIMPLE THINGS will certainly help a large percentage who suffer and be able to defeat chronic pain; there is a significant percentage of you whose pain is not greatly diminished by these measures. It is for you that I created this website. But before we move on to treatment of Chronic Pain, you must first understand what Chronic Pain is and how it really works.
Defeat Chronic Pain: It Works Like This
For years, neuro-scientists have known that Chronic Pain can cause brain atrophy (shrinkage) that is indistinguishable from Alzheimer’s or Dementia. More recently, the prestigious Journal of Neuroscience reported research from McGill University showing that, “The longer the individual has had Fibromyalgia, the greater the gray matter loss, with each year of Fibromyalgia being equivalent to 9.5 times the loss in normal aging”. Think about this statement for a moment. Every single year you live with some sort of CHRONIC PAIN SYNDROME (or syndromes as the case may be) is the equivalent of nearly 10 times the brain loss seen in the normal aging process. Re-read this paragraph until the urgency of your situation sinks in!
Although there are several types of pain (the study of Chronic Pain can get extremely complex), we are going to try and keep this as simple as possible. For our purposes, there are two types of Chronic Pain. It has to do with where the pain comes from. Chronic Pain originates in one of the two following areas.
- The Central Nervous System
- The Body
As we will discuss shortly, Chronic Pain that arises in the CNS is frequently ‘learned’ pain. Let me explain. In order to learn how to SHOOT FREE THROWS, use chop sticks, PLAY THE PIANO, speak Swahili, you have to practice. Everyone remembers the old adage; Practice makes Perfect. If you stimulate pain pathways in the Brain & Nervous System long enough, or are exposed to enough stressors in your life (CHEMICAL, AUTOIMMUNE, EMOTIONAL, DIETARY, FOOD SENSITIVITIES, PHYSICAL, BACTERIAL, VIRAL, PARASITIC, FUNGAL, MOLD, ELECTROMAGNETIC, etc), you can alter the way your Brain and Central Nervous System function.
Hopefully your pain, even though severe, is still Type II (THE THREE TYPES OF PAIN). As people start losing control of numerous areas of physiology (DIGESTION, HORMONAL, IMMUNITY, BLOOD SUGAR REGULATION, HYPERSENSITIVITY, DYSBIOSIS, etc), the problems ramp up. Over time this pain can (will) become locked into the brain. Although pathological Pain Syndromes arising from a malfunctioning CNS are not the most common causes of Chronic Pain, if this is where you are at, you are going to have to find a way to deal with these underlying issues (FUNCTIONAL NEUROLOGY can be a fantastic starting point). Although I provide information that helps many people help themselves with the severe metabolic and neurological problems, this website is chiefly devoted to defeat chronic Pain that is not locked into the Brain, but is instead originating from the body (Type II Pain).
Defeat Chronic Pain: Nociception
“Simple Nociception” is the most basic type of pain. If someone steps on your toe, it hurts. This is normal, and means that your nervous system is functioning properly. Get the person off your toe, and the pain goes away — almost immediately. Simple. There are several different types of Nociceptive Pain, but the one that we are most concerned about on this website is the one that has to do with ‘deep’ musculoskeletal pain, otherwise known as Deep Somatic Pain (Greek “Soma” = body). Deep Somatic Pain is pain that originates in tissues that are considered to be ‘deep’ in the body. Although we do not always think of many of these tissue types as being deep, this category includes things like LIGAMENTS, TENDONS, MUSCLES, FASCIA, blood vessels, and bones. There are two main types of Nociceptors, chemical and mechanical.
I. Chemical Nociception
The Chemical Nociceptors are stimulated by noxious chemicals. The chief of these are the chemicals we collectively refer to as INFLAMMATION (bear in mind that once Inflammation is involved, we begin moving away from Type I pain and into Type II pain — Nociception is still involved, but so is the Inflammatory Cascade). Inflammation is actually made up of a large group of chemicals manufactured within your body as part of the normal Immune System response. They have names like prostaglandins, leukotrienes, histamines, cytokines, kinins, etc, etc, etc. When these chemicals are out of increased beyond what’s needed for normal tissue repair, the result will be a whole host of health problems —- and Chronic Pain.
Although “SYSTEMIC INFLAMMATION” is at the root of the vast majority of America’s health problems (DIABETES, CANCER, FIBROMYALGIA, THYROID PROBLEMS, ARTHRITIS, HEART DISEASE, and numerous others), you will soon see that even though Inflammation is always involved with the tissues of the “Deep Soma,” it sometimes gets more credit than it deserves. However, you also have to be aware that exposing MICROSCOPIC SCAR TISSUE to chronic inflammation can potentially hyper-sensitize nerves. This hypersensitization makes the nerves within Scar Tissue as much as 1,000 times more pain sensitive than normal (the work of the famous neurologist, DR. CHAN GUNN).
INCREASED TISSUE ACIDITY (usually caused by hypoxia — diminished tissue oxygen levels) is another common form of Chemical Nociception. This frequently occurs as the result of a JUNKY DIET, but is also caused by relentless Mechanical / Neurological / Immune System Dysfunction. It is a big reason that my Decompression Protocols utilize OXYGEN THERAPY extensively.
II. Mechanical Nociception
As you can imagine, Mechanical Dysfunction stimulates the Mechanical Nociceptors. This group of nociceptors (pain receptors) is stimulated by constant mechanical stress in the tissues of the Deep Soma — particularly ligaments, tendons, and fascia. Mechanical tension, mechanical deformation, mechanical pressure, etc are the things that cause Mechanical Nociception, which can in turn, cause pain — chronic, unrelenting, pain. Remove the offending mechanical stressor, and you can oftentimes remove the pain. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, nothing is ever quite as simple as it initially appears.
Be aware that Nociceptive Pain can actually become Brain-Based over time. This is called ‘Supersensitivity’ and is caused by alterations in the Brain and Central Nervous System that perpetuate the pain cycle (many in the medical community are calling it CENTRALIZATION OR CENTRAL SENSITIZATION. In Mechanical Nociception, even though the injured tissue has, according to all of the medical tests, HEALED, it has healed improperly; i.e. microscopic scar tissue and tissue adhesion — particularly in the FASCIA. I probably do not need to tell you that this can be really really bad news — particularly because it is a significant feature of what I call “CHRONIC PAIN’S PERFECT STORM“.
As nerve function and PROPRIOCEPTION become increasingly fouled up, degenerative arthritis and joint deterioration begin to set in (HERE). Because of involvement in the Brain or Central Nervous System, this kind of pain is often referred to as Neuropathic Pain or Neruogenic Pain. Sometimes people end up with HYPERALGIA (Extreme sensitivity to pain. Stimulus that should cause a little pain, causes extraordinary amounts of pain). Or they end up with ALLODYNIA (Stimulus which do not normally elicit any pain at all, now causes pain). Sometimes these two overlap. Stay with me and you will begin to understand why.
Defeat Chronic Pain: Hypersensitized Nerves Relationship To Injured Or Damaged Fascia
Think of nerve endings as the twigs at the very end of a tree limb. Nerves (just like a tree) begin with a large trunk, which splits / divides into smaller and smaller branches until eventually you arrive at the end — the tiny twig (or nerve ending) at the end of the very smallest branches.
If you have ever seen a “topped” tree, you can understand what happens to nerve endings that are found in microscopic scar tissue. Professional Tree Trimmers cut (or “top“) the largest branches just above where the trunk splits into two or three limbs. What happens to these stubs? Instead of having limbs that continue to branch out and divide into ever-smaller limbs in a normal fashion, you get a stub or stump, that in a short matter of time, swells up and has hundreds of tiny twig-like limbs growing from it. “Topping” stimulates the growth of twigs from the stump. The injured nerves found in microscopic scar tissue act in much the same way.
As the larger nerves that are found in soft tissues are injured, you end up with an inordinate number of immature nerve endings (twigs) growing out of an inflamed nerve “stump”. As you might imagine, extra pain receptors are never a good thing! And because there in Inflammation present, this often leads to Microscopic Scar Tissue, which, even though it is up to 1,000 times more pain-sensitive than normal tissue, cannot be seen with even the most technologically advance imaging techniques such as CT / MRI (HERE). This is a commonly seen phenomenon in Facial Adhesions, and is why even though the people living this nightmare believe that because their pain is so severe that it should make their MRI “Glow Red”, it shows nothing. This tends to lead to deer-in-the-headlight looks when you ask your doctor what might be causing your pain, not to mention accusations of malingering, drug seeking, or attempting to get on Disability.
Defeat Chronic Pain: Nerves Are Like Tree Branches
Defeat Chronic Pain: Fascial Adhesions
Microscopic Scar Tissue & Chronic Pain
One of the biggest revelations for many people suffering with Chronic Pain is the absurd numbers of CHRONIC PAIN SYNDROMES brought on by microscopic scarring of the FASCIA. It gets even worse once you realize that this Fascia is the most pain-sensitive tissue in the body —- yet it does not show up on even the most technologically advanced imaging techniques, including MRI. Simply read our “Fascia” page to see why microscopic scarring of this specific “Connective Tissue” is at the root of all sorts of Chronic Pain Cases — not to mention ILL HEALTH.
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The information herein on "Defeat Chronic Pain" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.
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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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