Understanding Why You Feel Pain
The answer seems rather straightforward; we feel pain because we have injured ourselves. However, pain can manifest in different ways. Yes, you feel pain when you stub your toe or cut your finger. Your body responds to outward injuries by sending nerve signals to your spinal cord. Its pain receptors send a message to your brain, specifically into your thalamus and then to your cerebral cortex, where it processes the message and sends a response back to the area of injury. At the same time, your brain also determines what
healing response is required to fix the damage. This type of pain is known as “acute” pain and seems easy enough to understand. However, you can also feel other kinds of pain that are more difficult to sort out and for your body to fix. Chronic pain is a persistent pain that is the result of an underlying condition such as arthritis or fibromyalgia. When you have chronic pain, the brain will process pain messages differently. Over time the abnormal amount of stimulation to the pain sensors can cause your systems to feel pain more intensely even when the stimulus itself has not changed. At the cellular level, pain receptors and neurons are altered and are easily activated by inflammation within the body. Even the spinal cord’s regular signalling process fails to reduce the pain, making the situation feel dire. Neuropathic pain is one of the most difficult to diagnose and treat; it usually feels like a burning, tingling or shooting sensation. People with neuropathic pain may feel pain from stimuli that are generally not painful, such as light touch or cold. They can also be more sensitive than usual to stimuli that are usually painful. For example, bedclothes touching the affected area could feel painful, and a pinprick could feel excessively sharp. It is often associated with damage to the nerves, which disrupts normal signals to the spinal cord and can be caused by shingles, diabetic neuropathy, chemotherapy, MS, Amputation, Spinal Injury, etc.
Can You Manage Pain Naturally?
Acute pain will subside once the injury has healed, but you can certainly help to speed up the healing process with healing herbs and supplements, such as L-Glutamine. Glutamine provides fuel for your immune cells and white blood cells, but it also helps to heal tissues from within. Neuropathic pain and chronic pain both require a more long-term approach, and both require management of the underlying causes to reduce the ongoing pain response. Natural health supplements can play a role in the healing and pain management of neuropathy by supporting the nervous system. B complex vitamins support
a healthy nervous system with each of the specific sources of B acting out a different role within your system. A deficiency in B12 is also one potential cause for peripheral neuropathy. Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant that shows promise for neuropathy by improving nerve function and reducing pain, itching, tingling and numbness associated with diabetes and chemotherapy treatments. Curcumin is a well-researched supplement for reducing inflammation and the underlying cause of pain in chronic inflammation in diseases such as arthritis. It also plays a significant role with neuropathy by relieving the numbness and tingling sensations. Curcumin reduces COX-2 enzyme activity, and by blocking this enzyme, it impedes the production of prostaglandins that are responsible for pain and inflammation. It completes this action without negatively impacting other systems within the body. The therapeutic effects of curcumin make it our first choice in chronic pain management, along with supporting supplements, such as white willow bark, which contains an active ingredient called “salicin” along with other related compounds. Salicin is similar to the ingredient found in aspirin. Boswellia extract is widely used in the treatment of inflammatory conditions, as well as wound healing. Studies confirm that conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), rheumatism, bursitis, and tendonitis benefit from this supplement. Studies of Omega 3 and its role in inflammation, show that it has capabilities to reduce inflammation. Since Omega 3 has a role in neuro-transmissions, it tells the body to release chemicals that stop inflammation and other chemicals that keep inflammation from coming back.
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