It’s an invisible, non-contagious, demon that creeps and creaks in a high percentage of the population. In small amounts, it can impinge on your abilities to carry out daily activities, but in chronic states, it can spiral into an all consuming battle. It’s called – musculoskeletal pain.
Musculoskeletal pain has become a costly, swelling plague in current times. Ten years ago, it was rated in Canada as the third, most expensive condition in expended health-care costs, shadowed only by heart disease and cancer. And, as a large segment of our population increases in age and size, the incidence of arthritis and other musculoskeletal disorders will continue to escalate as well.
Often, but not always, inflammation and musculoskeletal pain go hand in hand. The pain itself is not a disorder, but rather a main symptom of an inflammatory disease due to the presence of pain-sensitive nerves. It may be caused by degenerative diseases such as arthritis – a general term that describes inflammation in a joint.
Analgesics and anti-inflammatories tend to be the most commonly used conventional pain management drugs. They offer a fast-acting mode of treatment when pain is intense and are useful in times of immediate relief. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reduce pain and inflammation by inhibiting both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes which are involved in the inflammation process. Long-term use of these NSAIDs and other COX inhibitors can lead to serious adverse effects, including gastrointestinal problems, liver and kidney disorders, and cardiovascular imbalances.
Musculoskeletal pain and inflammation is caused by a number of interrelated factors; consequently, there is no one simple, targeted solution. Traditional medicine understands that pain and disease are influenced by various factors, including dietary and lifestyle choices. Complementary therapies offer additional pathways to increase the chances of effective pain management.
For instance, a number of natural compounds exhibit potent anti-inflammatory actions without the harmful side effects of their synthetic counterparts, and can be effective adjuncts to pain management. Included in this list is curcumin, an extract found in turmeric. Scientific studies have confirmed that curcumin has the widest range of anti-inflammatory activity of any known natural substance, including the inhibition of both Cox-1 and Cox-2 enzymes. Ginger root extract has many active constituents that exhibit inhibitory effects on inflammatory compounds in the body, showing a clinical benefit in the management of many musculoskeletal disorders.
In terms of nutritional modifications, increasing dietary intake of beneficial omega-3 essential fatty acids appears to have some of the same positive effects as COX suppression. Many double-blind trials involving high potency EPA/DHA fish oil have shown that omega-3 plays an important role in the modulation of the inflammatory process, and is extremely effective in reducing inflammation in both chronic and acute states.
It is estimated that three out of four people will experience chronic pain and inflammation at some point in their life. The first step in conquering any painful imbalance is becoming informed. Researching the vast number of therapies available can help reduce excess inflammation, thereby managing pain. Working together with a diverse health-care team can create a comprehensive pain management plan to get you back on track with pain-free living.
Michele Sevier Biography:
Michele Sevier, DNM, DAc, is an educator and advocate of natural health and healing. As an independent advisor to Nutrition House, she is actively involved in many facets of integrative medicine including research, the formulation of specialized supplements, and providing natural health solutions to the general public through Nutrition House’s ‘Ask Our Expert’ service.
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Nutrition House, a pioneer in the natural health industry, provides information, products and services to make sound decisions. For Media Inquiries and Interviews with Michele Sevier call or fax 905-662-1932, or E-mail micheles[at]nutritionhouse[dot]com.
Nutrition House offers a wide array of quality health-related products and nutritional supplements. Founded in 1979, Nutrition House has obtained over 70 stores across Canada. For more information, visit NutritionHouse.com.