How to Solve Central Pain Syndromes with Non-Drug, Non-Invasive Approaches
- February 28, 2017
- By Martin Rutherford, D.C., C.C.S.T., C.F.M.P. and Randall Gates, D.C., D.A.C.N.B.
- Categories: Alternative Medicine, Healthy Living
Last month we discussed the main cause of such seemingly unrelated central pain syndromes (CPS) as fibromyalgia, chronic unrelenting limb pain, interstitial cystitis, chronic penile pain, irritable bowel syndrome, pelvic floor syndromes, reflex sympathetic dystrophy and more. We discussed the spinal pain gating (stopping) mechanism that breaks down as well as the roles of various stress hormones, poor sleep and immune inflammation. This article addresses the various therapeutic approaches to these maddening conditions.
Most patients are told there is no cure for CPS. We say that in many cases there is, and that most cases can at least improve. This often creates confusion in the patient as it should. Why does my doctor (MD) say there’s no cure and you (not an MD) say there is? Here’s why.
Doctors depend on the research world, which performs tens – maybe hundreds – of millions of dollars of research on wildly disparate and “disconnected” causes for chronic pain including CPS. However, researchers never simultaneously evaluate the multiple contributing factors that create chronic pain for any specific chronic pain syndrome. In reality they can’t. This is not the way classic research is conducted. It studies individual contributing factors – one at a time – and has done this for virtually every chronic pain condition that exists. Unfortunately, in our body multiple systems are frequently involved in causing chronic pain. As a result of the way classic research is conducted, our health care system has evolved to treat various biochemical or organ parts separately, instead of treating the whole body. Specifically, doctors treat the one or two parts of the body that the “research” that they are familiar with says are the lone causes affecting the rest of the whole.
For example, in interstitial cystitis (pain in bladder and can’t urinate) a Mayo Clinic study clearly states that it’s a neurological problem and that the brain is drowning out signals from the bladder (see part one). This finding is correct and is the main cause of this condition. But the neurologist groups (whose prognosis is: there is not a cure and that you must use drugs forever) do not study the non-neurologist aspects of a case of this nature (i.e. the additional components of immune inflammation affecting nerves found by immunological researchers, or anxiety contributions to brain responses causing bladder dysfunction by the urologist or poor sleep contributions to poor brain function researched by the sleep community). Not one neurological researcher is studying how all of these physiological malfunctions are related to poor brain function, and that all must be addressed to correct the brain and “cure” the cystitis. Not one. So, you get a strictly neurological prognosis – learn to live with it.
When evaluating a CPS case (or any chronic pain case for that matter) all of the patient’s “pain” regions or dysfunctional systems must be evaluated at the same time, as they are more often than not all related to causing the central problem. Once again, in classic research this is not the model. The current model of care for interstitial cystitis is maybe a drug for the pain or for the “stress” or anxiety, then neurologically related causation and a surgery for the bladder if that doesn’t work.
A more conservative non-drug solution for CPS goes something like this: A patient presents with significant, unrelenting hand pain, but no pain anywhere else. All standard diagnostics are performed to rule out pathology, trauma, carpel tunnel, pinched nerves, etc. As in the patients who come to our office – let’s say all their tests then come back normal. That’s the end of it in the medical model. But as functional clinicians knowing the cause of central pain syndromes is the brain (central meaning brain and spinal cord) we can infer that spinal cord receptors are shutting off pain to the brain from the rest of the body, but not from the affected hand (see part one). Thus, logic would dictate that, diagnostically, it is the nonfunctioning spinal pain gating mechanism from the hand to the brain and the common variables that affect this mechanism as discussed in part one and the introduction to this article that must be assessed and addressed.
Poorly functioning pain gates, not only for the example of the hand pain case, but also for the interstitial cystitis and all CPS cases, can be rehabbed with a variety of patient specific non-drug spinal cord and brain rehabilitative strategies. These strategies are done in conjunction with addressing systemic inflammation, sleep and dampening immune responses that shut off pain filtering brain cells in the brain stem. Now spinal “gating” mechanisms can be rebuilt and will shut off the pain, generating from the damaged pain cells in the area of the body being affected. So, the cause of the unrelenting pain was in the brain and spinal cord and with their exacerbating factors, not in the hand.
Chronic pain conditions and CPS in particular are complex. But, most can be improved or resolved with the right approach. Settling for chronic pain pill management, surgery or implanted electrical stimulators may sometimes be an appropriate approach. But, they should be considered only after all non-drug, non- invasive approaches have been tried.
For more information, call Power Health at 775-329-4402 or visit www.PowerHealthRenoNV.com.
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