We are at a crisis point today; more people are suffering with chronic pain than ever before, over 116 million individuals. Possibly you are one of them? This crisis is leading to an epidemic of addiction to prescription painkillers. As a society we need to wake up to the fact more people now die from their prescription pain medications then die in car crashes or in gun violence!
No Real Help From Conventional Medicine
Why? Most doctors simply do not know how to help their patients heal their chronic pain. This is only going to continue for less than 4% of medical schools have a required course in pain and many offered no dedicated courses at all. When there is a medical course on chronic pain those schools had classes that amounted to less than five hours and the focus was only on drug therapy.
Why Chronic Pain?
Pain is your body’s signal that something is not functioning properly and needs attention. Taking a drug that blocks pain signals is like putting a piece of black tape over your flashing check engine light. It makes no sense! If your body is malfunctioning and sending you signals (PAIN!), it would be more beneficial for you to address the underlying causes.
One of the primary triggers of chronic pain is chronic systemic inflammation. One of THE primary triggers of chronic inflammation is your diet, especially sugars and simple carbohydrates spiking your blood glucose levels.
How Sugars and Carbs Cause Chronic Pain
Like spilled gasoline, excess blood sugar creates a highly combustible environment leading to free radicals and inflammatory fires that chronically erupt. The spike in blood sugar levels that comes from simple carbs and sugars (white bread, pastas, baked goods, white rice, chips, soda, etc.) increases levels of regulatory inflammatory messengers from your immune system called cytokines.
Excess blood sugar levels from causes glucose to stick to proteins and lipids making them abnormal, a process called glycation. These abnormal (Glycated) sugary proteins and lipids then attach to your cells and turn on chronic tissue inflammation and dysfunction causing you pain.
This is not conjecture or theory but now established scientific fact. The National Library of Medicine now has more than 5000 scientific papers on the subject matter of glycation and inflammation. So yes, your diet makes a huge difference in healing your chronic pain and fatigue.
The Role of Your GI Tract in Feeling Like Crap (FLC Syndrome)
Another hidden source of systemic inflammation and chronic pain comes from your GI tract. The primary culprit is a rarely recognized condition called SIBO or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. SIBO is defined as “an overgrowth of GI microorganisms adversely affecting the human host”.
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is driven by the consumption of fermentable simple carbohydrates and sugars. It is not only an underlying cause systemic inflammation, but of many functional digestive disorders. Fix the SIBO and many times you fix the GERD, irritable bowel syndrome, Leaky Gut, malabsorption and inflammatory bowel disease.
The bacteria found in SIBO can produce toxins that damage the lining of the small intestine. This damage can prevent your small intestine from absorbing the nutrients you need. Micronutrient deficiencies, such as B1 Thiamine and magnesium, is another hidden factor in chronic muscle and joint pain.
Another way these toxins cause GI injury is by damaging the “glue” that holds the intestinal cells to each other leading to Leaky Gut Syndrome. With leaky gut foreign molecules like toxins, microbes, undigested food particles, can escape from your small intestines. With 70% of your immune system in your G.I. lining your immune system has ample opportunity to mark these “foreign invaders” as pathogens and attacks them. This immune response will cause local G.I problems (e.g. IBS, IBD) and systemic inflammation leading to another hidden cause of chronic pain.
Leaky Gut and its seeping through of undigested food proteins, that your immune system reacts to, is a primary cause of food sensitivities, another hidden cause of chronic pain. Food allergies and sensitivities occur when your immune system mistakenly identifies a normally harmless substance (e.g. a food protein) and tags it as an invader, as if it was a bacteria or viruses.
Your immune system then attacks this substance the same way it would attack any invader. When your immune system attacks an invader it releases inflammatory cytokines, causing aches, pains, fatigue, brain fog, and mood issues. Just like the symptoms you experienced when you last had the flu.
All of these hidden and usually unrecognized causes of chronic pain have specific laboratory tests that I run to determine if they are a factor in your suffering. Tests such as HA1c for glycation driven inflammation, SIBO Breath Test for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, micronutrient assays for tissue deficiencies of magnesium and B vitamins, a blood test specific for “Leaky Gut Syndrome” and IgG food sensitivity blood tests. Once recognized I can then reverse these chronic pain causes through diet, nutritional support and acupuncture.
This vital information to your health is covered in greater detail in my book “Why We Hurt” and also at my “A Path To A Pain Free You in 2020” Workshop— Monday, January 27th or Wednesday, January29th 7:00 PM at the Pain and Brain Healing Center 1400 131st Ave NE Blaine. Call 763-862-7100 to register seating is limited or call for a FREE consultation.
Dr. Greg Fors, D.C. is a Board-certified Neurologist (IBCN), certified in Applied Herbal Sciences (NWHSU) and acupuncture. As the clinic director of the Pain and Brain Healing Center in Blaine Minnesota he specializes in a functional medicine approach to fibromyalgia, fatigue, diabetes, heart health, thyroid disorders, depression, anxiety, autism and ADHD. If you have any questions or comments regarding this article you can contact Dr. Fors at 763-862-7100. Dr. Fors is the author of the highly acclaimed book, “Why We Hurt” available through booksellers everywhere.