Is your pain due to silent inflammation?

In my last post, I talked about pain being generated from the muscles. Muscle pain tends to be confusing. It is the great mimicker and many will confuse it with conditions like sciatica, TMJ pain, sinusitis, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome. Muscle pain may also wake you at night with an intense burning sensation. It can be so intense it may make you cry. If your pain is generated due to muscle trigger points then the fix is pretty simple and I have to admit pretty darn satisfying for me too!

So what else causes pain?

Well diffuse achy pain is also extremely common too. People often experience general joint pain or they feel achy all over. They blame this on getting older and just accept its normal. Well its not! This type of pain tends to come from what we call silent or chronic inflammation.

We all have experienced the classic signs of acute inflammation, like stubbing a toe. After an injury we get - redness, swelling, heat and pain. WIth this type of inflammation you get a fairly fast resolution once the damage is repaired.The inflammation then stops.

On the other hand, silent inflammation is the same just at a lower intensity so it does not produce these symptoms. Instead you often get:

  • Diffuse aches and pains,

  • Low mood or low motivation

  • Overall just not feeling as energized.

Most carry on for years and never address the inflammation. Over time this can lead to chronic health problems like heart disease, stroke and immune system dysfunction (like autoimmune disease).

Luckily there is a lot on the natural toolbox that can help. So let’s talk herbs!

Boswellia serrata is a traditional herb is a potent anti-inflammatory and acts by inhibiting the 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) enzyme. This is the main enzyme involved with inflammation and pain. There are also drugs that act in this pathway too. Since it disrupts inflammation, this makes it exceptional for autoimmune disease. But it’s not just limited to pain. We are learning it can kill bad bacteria in the gut, prevent cancer and support detox! You may have heard me say that herbs have some side effects that we all want - those that promote health. Herbs are pretty amazing!

For those into the science here is a great article

Curcuma Longa or tumeric. We have all likely heard of this spice for cooking and its popularity is increasing for pain. It is an amazing anti-inflammatory for joint pain but I am also now using for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and to support memory protection.

If you want to learn more about this here is a fantastic review article!

Bromelain, Serratopeptidase - these are enzymes that can absorb into the bloodstream and then find their way into the joints to break down inflammatory mediators. They may also find their way into the sinuses and help to digest mucous and candida! It’s great for chronic sinusitis as well.

So these are some of my post popular herbal anti-inflammatories that can protect from silent inflammation. Remember through that pain is complex and most will have a mixture of trigger points and silent inflammation.

In upcoming posts, I will discuss the underlying causes of silent inflammation ranging from the gut microbiome to stress!

Trigger Point Injections

Many of us take magnesium for muscle pain. including myself. But what else can you do if your pain still exists. Lots!

Trigger point injection therapy has been my go to treatment for the past 4 years now. I love it because its some simple and effective.

If your muscles are sore with all the summer activities (gardening, biking, swimming, skiing) then trigger point injections will be your friend!

I use a very thin needle and saline to cause your muscles to relax, with fast pain relief.

In this treatment I add electrolytes to hydrate your tight muscles. The needling physically stimulates the release of substances like growth factors that help direct the immune system to heal the area.

I have been getting excellent results for:

  • Headaches

  • Sinus pain

  • Neck pain

  • Shoulder pain

  • Back pain

  • Leg pain

For best results I recommend a series of 4 treatments spaced 1 week apart.

Also check you extended health insurance plan for naturopathy. We are happy to directly bill your visit to your extended health plan, reducing your out of pocket expense.

We need more natural pain solutions. There is a huge over emphasis on drugs and many unfortunately are never given the chance to try a natural solution. Most have never even heard of this.

If you have a friend or family member is in pain, please forward this message to them. At least so they are aware of these effective alternatives.

Click here to read more about trigger point injections

Why Magnesium?

Magnesium is involved in over 300 chemical reactions in the body. The daily dietary intake in adults is about 450 mg. Some great food sources are green vegetables, legumes, and nuts. When looking at diet alone I find most don't meet this requirement. We are just not getting our veggies high enough.

What makes evaluating an Mg deficiency even more challenging is that it is mainly found inside cells. So blood markers are not very useful for assessing for a deficiency. The best blood test is called the intracellular RBC test. Although better then a serum Mg test, it is still likely unreliable reading for what is occurring in the various tissues.

So why is Mg important?
1. An essential cofactor in the energy production pathways
2. Anti-inflammatory properties
3. Muscle relaxation and reduces pain
4. It even stabilizes the insulin receptor and may be helpful for blood sugar support
5. Calms the brain
6. Supports bone mineralization
7. Supports blood pressure
8. Can soften stools, improving regularity.

It truly is a super nutrient!

Not only are we not eating enough Mg-rich foods, when under stress Mg will be used up to meet the demands. Because of these factors, it is estimated that Mg deficiency is extremely common. This can lead to aches, pains, fatigue and constipation.

Mg glycinate is bound to an amino acid. This helps to bypass the Mg transporters in the gut which quickly become saturated with other forms like Magnesium Citrate. Ultimately this means you can get greater absorption with fewer side effects with the glycinate form.

Protect Your Health From Silent Inflammation

Aches and pains are the body's way of telling us that something is wrong. Pain is a symptom of silent inflammation and simply taking a drug or natural anti inflammatory will not cure it. 

With a more traumatic injury your get redness, swelling, heat and pain. This is the hallmark symptoms of the inflammatory response. It has always fascinated me that it is the symptoms you are experiencing are actually your immune system. With this type of inflammation you get a fairly fast resolution once the damage is repaired.

On the other hand, a low grade form of inflammation does not produce these symptoms. Instead you often get diffuse aches and pains, low mood and overall just not feeling as energized. We call this silent inflammation. Most carry on for years and never address the inflammation. Over many years this can lead to chronic health problems like heart disease, stroke and immune system dysfunction. 

Here is our top 6 causes of silent inflammation that are all too often overlooked.

  1. Poor quality sleep

    • Anything that interferes with sleep can be driving inflammation. Sleep apnea is one condition that may remain undiscovered and drive inflammation for a long time before diagnosis. 

  2. Gastrointestinal dysfunction

    • Gluten and processed food are two dietary factors contributing to a "leaky gut". When GI integrity is compromised foreign particles can enter into our blood which stimulates one's immune system to generate inflammatory mediators. 

  3. Undiscovered dental infections may be hiding within a tooth or below the gums.

  4. Too much stress and no relaxation

    • Stress comes in many forms. It may produce inflammation due to the physical wear and tear of our tissues. 

    • Emotional stress can influence hormone levels or prevent one from sleeping, both drive inflammation. 

  5. Dietary factors

    • The average western diet is often low in good fats and high in bad fats. Good fats like fish oil (rich in omega 3) are anti inflammatory. Bad fats found in many animal products (high in omega 6) are pro inflammatory.

    • Other factors such a sugar and processed foods also contribute to inflammation. 

  6. Hormones

    • After menopause there is a decrease in the level of estrogen which has anti-inflammatory properties. 

The naturopathic approach always attempts to seek the root cause of disease while treating the symptoms using the most non-invasive therapies. 

Chronic pain is a complex condition involving many factors that are not discussed above. An integrative approach involves the incorporation of multiple modes of therapy. Therefore a through investigation including a detailed history, complete physical exam and diagnostic or functional testing is always recommended. 

Calming the Nervous System Is Fundamental To Healing

The nervous system regulates our entire body. When in a calm state it tends to focus on detoxification and cellular recovery.

The problem is that we live in a face paced society with a lot of stress! This can overwhelm the nervous system and make the “fight or flight” side predominate. This side of the nervous system tends to focus on immediate survival.

Not only that, we are being exposed to more and more environmental exposures than ever before. We also have to deal with the added electromagnetic radiation exposures we get form electronic devices, and blue light from screens. This really stresses out the nervous system and sleep patterns.

Humans are also electrical beings. Our cells are like tiny batteries that generate energy for all the processes in our body. Our nervous system also communicates to distant regions of our body with electrical signals. We are only beginning to uncover how electricity influences human health, but I suspect as we learn more we will be surprised.

Now more than ever before, we need activities and treatments to calm our nervous system and ground our bioenergetic systems.

Our Keto Program

We are in trouble! Our reliance on sugar in the diet is contributing to the obesity and metabolic dysfunction (pre-obesity, diabetes, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, PCOS...) we are seeing today.

Following the traditional rules of nutrition, fats have been vilified but the latest research is showing that certain fats are essential! Fats are an essential fuel source that are NOT converted to sugar. They are NOT stored as fat like we are made to think.

The real problem is refined sugar! It is our excessive sugar intake that is directly stored as fat and a reason for our diabetes and obesity epidemic!

But the ill effects are not limited to the overweight. We are seeing many examples of those that are “skinny” developing metabolic dysfunction. We call this problem “skinny fat”.

Many health care providers will not tell you that years before pre-diabetes even develops high levels of insulin can be elevated and are associated with many of the chronic diseases we are seeing today!

Low carb and keto is the future of eating. We are currently in the middle of a huge epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and pre-diabetes that is only getting worse.

According to Diabetes Canada:

  • The prevalence of diabetes in 2015 was estimated to be 3.4 million / 9.3% of the population 

  • The prevalence of pre-diabetes in 2015 was estimated to be 5.7 million / 22.1% of the population 

To put this into perspective the population of BC is about 4.8 million! As you can see these are big numbers. Ideally, we want to intervene with a nutritional intervention at the earliest point, during the pre-diabetes stage. If we can do this, we literally can change the course and delay or prevent type 2 diabetes. 

Unfortunately, many follow the extreme, one size, fits all keto model that is high in animal protein, saturated fat and low in vegetables. The internet is full of conflicting and misleading information that unfortunately make this diet look bad. This is unfortunate since so many can be transformed with a low carb or ketogenic diet. 

Many people can also react to this diet in unusual ways! We have heard stories of rashes, hair loss, and fatigue. These are not normal and if they do occur it means you are out of balance. Luckily with some simple steps, these can be easily treated. 

The secret to unlocking the potential of this diet is finding the right levels of ketones, combinations of fats, electrolytes, protein and carbohydrates that make you feel great and meet your goals! There are many variations of the ketogenic diet that can be paired to you!

Good nutrition will play a big role in curbing this epidemic! But only if we have doctors and coaches that are trained in nutrition to lead the way.

We have decided to lead the way by creating our own keto program that provides unparalleled guidance.

Our NEW program provides flexibility so you can progress in a way that works best for you! Start with a keto talk in a small group setting or meet with Dr. Jeffery for more individualized care. You can go all out or stick with the low cost in office talks!

Monitor your success or screen for unhealthy reactions with the Keto Markers blood panel. This is much more than your standard panel. 

After 3 months get continued support with a low-cost membership. This will keep you on track, motivated and making your goals! If you are feeling off or have dipped out of keto we are here to help you get back on track. Because your success is our success. 

Our first Keto talk starts this Wednesday at 7 pm at the clinic. Click here to sign up.

To learn more about our program check out our infographic or reply to this email with any questions

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