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Pain and Inflammation (or some kind of ‘____itis’)
Pain is a warning sign. If treated naturally, healing results; if treated chemically, more pathology ensues. Pain is what drives many people to put black tape over the ‘service required‘ light and create a whole new set of imbalances.
An analogy: When the ‘service required‘ light comes on in your car, you know that the problem is NOT the light. The light tells you there is a problem that needs your attention. Does putting black electrical tape over the ‘service required‘ warning light fix the engine problem? Responding to pain by taking OTC or prescription pain meds is like putting black electrical tape over the ‘service required’ light. Bad idea long term to ignore the cause of the problem this way. I am not into pain. So get functional w/pain meds if need be, but find the underlying cause.
Please understand that I am not talking about opiate-level pain from severe trauma to nerves, surgeries, etc. Yes, God has given us remedies for this kind of pain but the FDA has limited access to them. Many of these fall into the ‘addictive’ category. What I discuss below is non-trauma, non-surgical, chronic pain.
Please read Basic Principles if you are trying to make sense of what has happened to your health, and How Herbs Help to see what is involved in getting your life back. Specific and common Joint/Muscle Pain scenarios and remedies are found in that document. Gut pain is addressed in the Digestive page. But the basic etiology of pain is found here.
I have classified the origins of pain into 2 categories: That arising from too-much of something, and, that arising from not-enough of something. I am giving you below a troubleshooters guide, some common ways pain develops, what allowed it to do so, and what kinds of things may address the underlying cause and thus, relieve it for you in a way that preserves and continues life.
1. Pain From ‘Too-Much-Ness’
This is far and away the most common cause of pain. We tend to ignore it because it begins subtly with an intermittent sense of stiffness or fullness, and advances to ‘sore’ness, and then we notice tenderness to touch when finally it is no longer intermittent and some part of the body breaks out in chronic pain. The ‘check drainage’ light has been on for a long time at this point, BUT we have noticed from experience how well we can still function with the ‘check drainage’ light on. So we ignore the warning light because we have seen that it generally goes away with time…or…well…it used to. However, our body’s ability to bounce-back or resolve this imbalance gets slower and slower in the absence of nutritional intervention (herbs). When OTCs are introduced, and then regularly relied on, fibromyalgia, a.k.a. tissue pain, develops or specific joint pain. If you have good insurance you’ll get lots of toxic tests, toxic pharmaceuticals and eventually get disabled. Might there be something better?
OK so in this case, the basic problem was accumulation of acid tissue wastes and debris that are not draining from the tissue. This is where the term ‘too-muchness’ applies. Most often, but not always there is also a stubborn weight issue as the body attempts to dilute and sequester the acids in tissue. The overload of acid waste in the tissue makes it feel sore. With time it will create localized tissue inflammation and be tender to touch and you’ll be surprised that you can touch a part of your body and it will hurt – just from touching. These acids make muscles stiff, affecting/decreasing range-of-motion of our joints. NEVER force a painful joint – even by gentle yoga stretching. Get rid of the acids and the muscle will soften and the range-of-motion will return.
These are the same kinds of conditions where boils or abscesses form due to the too-muchness that cannot escape. This is an intelligent response of the body to sequester and remove these ‘too-muchness’ accumulations through the skin or gums. With sufficient resources it can do it quickly and it is over and you are not left with toxic stuff in tissue. Note that if the downspouts are not draining the swamp in a kinder gentler way, then another one will form (see below). It is an intelligent program.
(A special sub-case of this: If you also happen to have pain in the small of your back on either side of the spine, it is an indicator of kidney inflammation. A wonderfully simple remedy to begin to resolve this pain in the early stages is Juniper Berries (#400-4). In the chronic stages JP-X (#1222-7) is stronger and works better. Do one bottle of this first, at the 6-8 a day level to see how much resolution you can get from this. These will resolve the small-of-the-back pain but they may also resolve much more. In other words, the reason the acid stayed in tissue is because there was a transport problem (resolved by plant potassium) OR a traffic backup at the kidneys to eliminate the acid wastes through the urine. Another indicator that the potassium transport/kidney stagnation is at the root of your pain is painful feet in the morning. If these herbs DO help resolve all things, use the pain in the small-of-the-back feeling (or painful feet in the morning) to tell you when you need to do kidney kinds of herbs again. It is a simple imbalance, resolved simply. Check the Kidney page for other indicators of kidney imbalance. (Note: OTC pain relievers damage the kidneys and liver.)
Depending how long the ‘check drainage’ light has been lit will determine where to begin. If you are in advanced stages or have taken many OTCs or pharmaceuticals, you must do
STEP 1. the Gentle Liver Cleanse first to avoid the adverse effects of reversing this condition. That is, when the acid lymph moves out of the tissue, and makes its way to the blood, and is taken to the liver, and the liver is already congested, you will feel like you have a bad flu. So clean out the liver and give it what it needs to detox itself and, what you are going to send to it. Then you need to begin …
STEP 2. opening the exits. This post thoroughly explains this process.
2. Pain From ‘Not-Enough-Ness’
There are two insufficiencies that give rise to pain: not enough blood, and not enough of your own anti-inflammatory production.
A. Not Enough Blood Supply
This pain is usually described as dull or ache-y but may begin with sharp shooting pains. It can accompany complaints of cold extremities, cold nose, blue fingernail coloration, and cool skin surface temperature or high blood pressure medications. This pain is not usually associated with stiffness, but rather restlessness. These kinds of symptoms arise from insufficient blood flow into the area. This is the kind of pain a clot will produce. This is where the term ‘not-enoughness’ applies to blood, and the ‘Check Blood Supply’ light is lit. Consider how the tip of your finger feels after wrapping it many times with a rubber band. It’s cold and it aches. This is the same kind of pain as a heart-attack – a.k.a. lack of blood to the heart itself. The causes and solutions may be found in the Blood Supply Issues. If you want to live a long time, and look like you haven’t, pay close attention to the recommendations there.
One of the reasons that blood cannot get into tissue may be that the tissue is full of acid clogged lymph. This is where swelling occurs. The solutions above (Type 1 pain) should be applied first.
B. Not Enough Anti-Inflammatory Production
First some inflammation factoids:
1. Inflammation is a necessary part of the remove-the-old and rebuild-new-tissue process. If an area of your body has weak, diseased, stress-damaged, necrotic (dead), cancerous or otherwise affected tissue, an inflammatory process is necessary to remove it so new healthy tissue can be built in its place. Sometimes the body will employ the help of bacterial and fungal infections to digest and remove nonfunctional tissue. This is plan A. To understand the role of infection see the BioRemediation page and the German New Medicine document.
An analogy: When communities decide that ‘downtown’ needs to be revitalized, the 1st step is demolition. The old, unsafe, damaged, boarded-up (non-functional) buildings are destroyed and removed piece by piece. New buildings are not safely built on old buildings. If you inhibit this demolition (with steroids, for example) you will have lots of this unsafe, damaged, non functional tissue distributed around your body that is in the way of rebuilding new healthy functioning tissue. Is that what you want? The demolition is an inflammatory process instigated by the intelligent physician within (using minute surgeons). Now if you have plenty of fuel (energy) the whole thing will be over quickly, but intensely perhaps (like in a child who can develop a quick fever and by morning he is much better). If your ‘Low Fuel Warning’ light is on, and you are chronically fatigued, the inflammatory process will be a long drawn out process. If you add steroids, you suppress the whole process until you jump start yourself again.
2. Your body makes its own anti-inflammatories (Intelligent design) to help you not feel the pain from the downtown revitalization process. This is where the term ‘not-enoughness’ applies to our own anti-inflammatory production, and the ‘Check Anti-Inflammatory Level’ light is lit. The job falls to our adrenal glands to make our own steroids in the right amount at the right time with the added benefit that they do not suppress our immune system. If you suffer from chronic stress, you will feel the pain because your adrenals are exhausted and cannot make anti-inflammatories out of nothing while ‘running from the bear’. (Check the Endocrine Section for an explanation of this and to see if you have other symptoms that point to imbalanced adrenal function. People who had traumatic early childhoods, or are the ‘type-A’ personalities are typical adrenal exhausted folks.) If you crave sugar, and wake at night for no reason, and cannot get back to sleep, this is you and your ‘check anti-inflammatory level’ light is lit. Take Adrenal Support (#1507-0) 3B, 3b for a week so you can sleep better then cut back to 2B, 2b. (B=Breakfast, b=bedtime) for 3 bottles worth and then see how little you need for the stress load you carry. Other nice formulas to rotate with include Wild American Ginseng (#725-8) taken along with Licorice root (#420-6) 2 of each at breakfast and bedtime, reducing to 1 after 2 weeks. If you are in a lot of pain requiring methotrexate or other very strong auto-immune-type prescriptions, then, after 2 weeks on Adrenal Support at the 3B 3b level, add DHEA-F (#4202-2 for women) or DHEA-M (#4200-7 for men), at the 3B, 3b level so the adrenals that you are building up can have some materials to make the needed pain relievers. Another clue that you need to step up to DHEA is longstanding hormone imbalances. (NO, taking DHEA does not force your body to make estrogens, or any other hormone that it does not need. It is smarter than that.)
3. If your tissue pH in the vicinity of the revitalization area is too low (acidic – see #1 above) neither man-made nor herbal anti-inflammatories will work. Even our own home-made steroids work best within specific pH ranges and may be ineffective outside that range. Sam Queen in his discussion of ‘Free Radical Therapy’ has found that in a condition known as local acidemia (low tissue pH), the body can go into a state of chronic inflammation. Here the body has insufficient tools to shut down the inflammation process. Often the scenario begins with an injury which continues to remain painful long after the damage is done, and may even go into a so-called ‘auto immune disease’ or RSD. So when the local tissue pH is acid the body exhausts its own supply of steroid-like compounds and develops a prednisone deficiency, NOT. In these cases the liver is usually involved and taking N-Acetyl Cysteine (#509-7) 3B will help. Check the liver page to see if you have other indicators of liver dysfunction and if so then do the Gentle Liver Cleanse. Keep supporting the adrenals as in 2. above then continue to work to correct tissue pH.
(I’m still working on this, but I put up as much as my clients taught me.)
Pharmaceutical Phactoids – In the unlikely event that your doc failed to warn you that…
Common painkillers raise heart risk
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Popular painkillers such as aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen can raise blood pressure and thus the risk of heart disease among men, U.S. researchers reported on Monday. Men who took such drugs for most days in a week were about one-third more likely to be diagnosed with high blood pressure than men not taking them, the researchers found.
Their findings, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, reinforce a study published in 2002 that these commonly used drugs raise blood pressure in women. “This is a potentially preventable cause of high blood pressure,” Dr. John Forman of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, who led the study, said in a statement. Millions of people take the painkillers as pills every day to treat headaches, arthritis, muscle pulls and other aches and pains. [OR because the doc said Baby Aspirin would help their heart!!! Do they read about their double blind placebo controlled studies!!!! Sheesh]
©Pat Block ND 2007
Consider this…..I have learned more from very sick people than I have from double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over studies. My sick clients taught me how to get them well - things that even my teachers didn't know. I have such smart clients.
** Important Warning **Nothing on this site is FDA approved. Nothing I say is intended to be medical advice. Follow my recommendations at your own risk. Results may vary, and blah, blah, blah. So if the required warnings have not scared you away, then you have a chance. I'm reporting here what kinds of approaches actually helped very sick people get well, AND the kinds of things that actually made them sick (and it usually isn't their diet, lack of exercise, weight, menopause or smoking - it is the underlying cause of all those things.)
** Important Posts **
In case you were wondering..B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner, b=bedtime. Make sure to read What to Expect on an Herbal Program (in the Herb menu) before beginning. Dosages given are about what my clients benefit from. You may be different. Begin slowly and see how each recommendation benefits you.
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