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Four Nutritional Strategies Against Pain




Excerpted from
The Pain Cure : The Proven Medical Program that Helps End Your Chronic Pain
By Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D., Cameron Stauth

In just the past few years, as the study of pain management has progressed dramatically, researchers have found that certain nutrients have a profound effect upon how much pain people feel. As a clinician, I have enthusiastically applied these new findings.

I have also applied ancient nutritional measures that have been used in Eastern medicine for thousands of years. Because many of these measures have not undergone extensive testing by governmental agencies, most Western doctors have never even heard about them.

This combination of ancient and modern nutritional remedies has worked extremely well. With it, I have achieved far better results than most other pain specialists, or pain clinics.

My nutritional anti-pain strategies can help virtually anyone, because these strategies address the most fundamental functions of the nervous system, which are similar among all people. In effect, these are "generic" anti-pain strategies, which are just as effective against arthritis pain as they are against headache pain or back pain. These strategies oppose any cycle of pain that has been engraved upon the nervous system.

The other three levels of my pain program also work on all forms of centralized, engraved pain, regardless of the source of that pain. Therefore, the next four chapters-which describe my general pain program-apply to all people with chronic pain.

For all people, pain is pain-and pain is in the brain. That's why this general program is effective against back pain, headache pain, joint pain, and every other type of chronic pain.

Of course, there are also some specific therapies in my program that are uniquely appropriate for specific problems. In the final section of this book, I'll address a number of specific conditions - including back pain, migraine, arthritis, and fibromyalgia - and help you fine-tune your general program to fit your own special condition.

To get started on the general program, let's look at the four "generic" nutritional strategies against pain:

1. Eat Nutrients That Relieve Inflammation. As I've mentioned, inflammation is a major cause of pain. It's present in everything from migraines to back pain to muscle pain to arthritis. Certain nutrients have a powerful anti-inflammatory action. Other common nutrients, though, badly aggravate inflammation, and should be strictly avoided.

2. Eat nutrients that build pain-blocking serotonin. You may recall that the neurotransmitter serotonin is one of your body's most powerful weapons in its counterattack against pain. Serotonin helps close your pain gates. If you have a shortage of serotonin, you'll be far more vulnerable to pain. A serotonin shortage has been linked to a variety of chronic pain conditions, including migraine, back pain, muscle pain, and many other maladies.

In addition, a shortage of serotonin has also been closely linked to many of the characteristics of chronic pain syndrome, which "locks in" pain. These characteristics include depression, dependence upon drugs and alcohol, overeating, and insomnia.

One reason that a serotonin deficit is common among pain patients is that pain causes the body to "burn up" its supply of serotonin. When this happens, the pain gets worse. Then the body's supply of serotonin becomes even more depleted. Thus, a destructive cycle is created. But you can stop this cycle by nutritionally replenishing your body's supply of serotonin.

3. Eat nutrients that boost the health of your brain and nerves. As I indicated in the first chapter, the healthier your nervous system is, the higher your pain threshold will be. A well-functioning brain can suppress pain. But your brain will not be able to do this unless it is receiving powerful nutritional support.

If your brain is functioning well enough, you'll be able to help banish pain with just your thoughts. As you may remember, one proven method of defeating pain is to provide the brain with a competing source of input. Thoughts can be an extremely strong competing source. Some people can literally "think" pain away.

But this is only possible when cognitive powers are razor-sharp. That's one of the reasons why pain hurts more when you're tired-you just don't have the mental energy to distract your brain from pain.

4. Avoid the classic dietary pain pitfalls. There are a few common dietary mistakes that many pain patients make. Any one of them can markedly increase pain, and can contribute to chronic pain syndrome. These mistakes can have disastrous results.

The most frequent mistakes are allowing yourself to overeat; allowing yourself to undereat; allowing yourself to eat foods that cause allergies or food sensitivities; and allowing yourself to eat foods that destabilize hormonal balance.

Often, in the early stages of chronic pain, these seductive dietary pitfalls are used as a temporary refuge from pain. However, they then often become part of chronic pain syndrome, and begin to perpetuate the cycle of pain.

Avoiding these mistakes is relatively easy.

Now let's take a close look at each of the four basic nutritional strategies.

These strategies are virtually certain to help you. By the end of this chapter, you're going to be able to marshal a powerful force against your pain.

This will be your first step on your journey toward curing your chronic pain.



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