Chronic Pain: Dealing with and healing from pain is a subject I hold near and dear to my heart. It is something I have dealt with personally, and overcoming chronic pain is has completely transformed my life. There is a lot of misinformation out there, and my journey to overcome pain has taken me through methods of all kinds; I am here today to share with you what worked for me in hopes that it may help you or a loved one well.
A Multi-Therapeutic ApproachWhen it comes to pain, we want to keep you off the ibuprofen, the oxycodone, and any of the other pharmaceutical drugs that come with a host of side effects. We don't want to blunt the pain, nor do we opt for invasive surgery unless absolutely necessary. Here at Health Hunters, we want to promote healing by supporting the body as naturally as possible. Pain is an interesting tool for transformation because, as humans, we are motivated by pain and pleasure. So although it can be a difficult journey towards recovery, pain is also a great teacher and catalyst for growth and transformation in the health realm. My biggest personal challenge came from debilitating back pain as well as chronic neck pain following a fracture. Despite the difficulties I experienced, I have overcome them and am on my hero's journey to report back to you and share my experience. Being able to help and inspire people across the world brings me so much fulfillment, and so despite the hardship—every pain has its purpose.
Two Types of PainSomething important to understand right off the bat is that there are two types of pain: mainly a structural problem (that results in chronic pain) or pain resulting from trauma (break, pull, twist, etc.). If the injury failed to heal correctly, that could also cause your trauma to become chronic structural pain, but either way, there are ways to heal and restore wellbeing.
Structural PainI used to do structural correction chiropractic work with my patients and would see it every single week: the impact that structural problems have on functional patterns. In other words, seeing someone's bone structure via an X-ray would demonstrate why they currently have pain or how they will develop pain at some point in their life. Seeing one shoulder higher than the other, or one arch flatter than the other- these structural imbalances put pressure on the mechanics of the body, that has to work day in and day out to keep you stable. Imbalances get more severe with time and with every type of impact (sitting at a desk, standing all day, training at the gym, running a half marathon), and so over time, the body weakens to the point of developing chronic pain.
TraumaTrauma is a whole different story. Not only does the injury site retain trauma (scar tissue), but more often than not, we also resume activity before the area has had time to heal completely. Even the simple notion that you have been injured in one place can cause the body to compensate and develop a structural imbalance that will lead to more pain in the future. Managing and healing from pain requires a multifaceted approach to deal not only with the acute pain of the moment but also ensure that the foundation of the body is aligned correctly, to prevent pain in the future.
Structural CorrectionIf your pain is long term and chronic, I suggest starting your journey towards healing at a qualified chiropractic clinic. Understanding the way your structural alignment may influence your day-to-day movement can quickly be done via an X-ray. You can, at the very least, rule out the need for unnecessary surgery. Two techniques I love to address structural realignment are called Pettibon and Chiropractic BioPhysics.
Muscle Activation TechniquesThere are many different muscle activation techniques, and generally, you will find them at a chiropractor or orthopedic clinic. One of these techniques is the Advanced Muscle Integration Technique (or AMIT), popularized by Dr. Craig Buhler. Dr. Buhler works with Olympic and NBA athletes and pro skiers, not only to recover from injury but also to improve their performance. The concept is pretty simple: since our nerve supply the muscles and the muscle make the joint move- this technique addresses the nerves predominantly, especially when they have been turned off due to trauma. When we undergo trauma and our nerves and turned off, this causes significant imbalances in the body. We activate the nerve, the muscle, and this helps our body reestablish balance. To do this, an AMIT practitioner will activate the muscle using multiple different techniques, including acupuncture points, trigger points, and other holistic modalities, by focusing on the connection between muscle function, range of motion, and the restriction that is at the root cause of the pain. Often a single session will reestablish mobility, and the pain will vanish.
Prolozone TherapyProlozone is another incredible therapy that I have used personally with immense success. It is a non-surgical ligament reconstruction and is a well recognized and permanent treatment for chronic pain. The procedure is an all-natural injection of collagen-producing substances and ozone gas to reconstruct damaged or weakened connective tissue around the joints. I experienced the power of Prolozone during an episode of pain related to the lumbosacral ligament in my low back, which was compensating for a disc problem that had been lingering for years. Although the treatment protocol generally takes three to six shots, it relieved my pain in a single shot. This therapy really works with the body's natural healing mechanisms, and so not only does it provide instant relief, it promotes continued healing moving forward. You can learn more about Prolozone therapy by listening to my interview with Jason West, on Cellular Healing TV.
BEMERAnother breakthrough technology would be FDA-approved BEMER therapy. This natural therapy is groundbreaking and works by improving circulation, thereby supporting the body's biological self-regulating processes. Blood is the body's universal means to transport oxygen, nutrients, chemical messengers (i.e., hormones), and immune cells. By boosting the circulation, BERMER encourages that the tissues and organs are adequately nourished, and metabolic waste products are removed. As a result, our bodies become healthy and function properly. The devices work with a patented signal, and you can check out their website for all the different ways to administer the current and start healing your body.
Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMF)PEMF machines operate by directing powerful, pulsed energy waves toward damaged or injured areas of the patient's body. Similar to BERMER technology, the PEMF energy pulses penetrate and stimulate the cells surrounding an injured area. Essentially the body uses that energy to activate its natural healing mechanisms.
These healing tools might sound too good to be true, but I have experienced them myself and can tell you: they work. If you are facing an invasive surgery to help relieve your pain, why not try a non-invasive, natural option first?
CryotherapyYou have surely heard of cryotherapy by now—these cold chambers are sweeping the nation, and you can most likely find a cryo wellness center in most towns nowadays. Cryotherapy uses nitrogen gas to cool the chamber to 150 to 250 below zero, to drop the body's temperature by 35 to 45 degrees. You enter the chamber for short amounts of time, under the supervision of the clinic staff. What happens as a result is incredible. Physically, the body down-regulated inflammation (which means pain relief), but benefits also include hormonal optimization and a positive change in the microbiome. Benefits mirror my diet variation principles, in that forced adaptation generates health and hormone optimization. I discovered cryotherapy to help heal an injury. Still, the benefits were so profound that I continue to go about 3x per week as a tool for preventative health and to speed up the recovery time from my workouts.
There are so many supplements out there that can help your body thrive, but my top 4 for pain relief are:
- Magnesium: works great for muscle spasms.
- Cannabidiol (CBD) oil: works incredibly well for all types of pain; it reduces inflammation dramatically, helps heal the gut, and supports the hormonal system.
- Tryptophan: is a wonderful natural sleeping aid.
- White willow bark: is a natural replacement for aspirin.