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Chronic Pain
by Allison Apflebaum, ND
What is Chronic Pain and what are the symptoms?

Chronic pain is a condition that affects over 100 million Americans. It can be mild/moderate/or severe pain that has lasted more than 12 weeks. In chronic pain the nervous system remains activated for months or even years and can physically mentally, and emotionally drain a person.

Often, chronic pain stems from headaches, joints, sinuses, tendonitis, bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or more generally in the neck, back or shoulders. Emotionally chronic pain can be related to conditions such as fatigue, depression, anxiety, anger and irritability.

Pain that is chronic is often due to the nervous system becoming "sensitized," and creating a lower pain tolerance. What this means is that minor irritations that did not produce pain previously, have become sensitized and now produce pain.

How can Naturopathic Medicine help?

Naturopathic medicine for chronic pain includes addressing the abnormal sensitization to pain by decreasing inflammatory factors that potentiate it. It also includes blocking the pain receptors as well as addressing other contributing factors such as brain chemistry balance, sleep, and postural assessment. We can use nutrition, supplements, and physical medicine to address chronic pain to prevent the long-term use of drugs, or help you become less reliant on them.

How can my Pain be related to my Nutrition?

The body does work in mysterious ways: It is possible that the food you are eating could be “inflammatory”. The immune system can actually react with the proteins of the foods and cause an inflammatory cascade of proteins, markers, and cytokines. These factors cause increase pain, swelling, sometimes even weight gain/water retention. We can test for food intolerances and remove what is producing inflammation in your diet.

Come in today for your chronic pain assessment to see if we can help you! Learn how pain is connected to mood, attitude, fatigue, and physical structure. Let us teach you about decreasing inflammation, balancing brain chemistry, exercise regimens, and decreasing pain sensitization.

Ask yourself these questions:

“Has your pain lasted longer than 3 months?”

“Does your pain respond to minor triggers that set it off?”

“Is your pain constant?”

If you are answering yes to these questions you most likely have chronic pain sensitization and need an assessment.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact the Northwest Center for Optimal Health at (360) 651-9355.

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