What your pain means
What is pain?
Many people suffer from chronic or ongoing pain. What does this mean?
Pain is a signal from your body that something is wrong. It’s linked to tissue damage (tissue is your bones, muscles, organs and blood), its purpose being to allow your body to react and prevent further damage.
This tissue damage to your tissue sparks inflammation. Inflammation is where a site in your body becomes swollen, red, hot and painful. It’s a normal response to injury, illness or stress and is part of your body’s natural defence system to help you to heal.
Chronic or ongoing pain isn’t normal
When pain is ongoing, it can be associated with inflammation. Chronic inflammation can mean your immune system is out of balance. This is where it constantly perceive it’s under attack and must inflame to protect itself.
This kind of inflammation and associated pain feels like a fire inside. I know. I had it for years – a low-grade fever that would come and go, swelling my joints up so it was hard or painful to move, ruining my sleep, draining me of energy and making me feel unwell a lot of the time.
The real problem with this kind of pain and inflammation is that it can contribute to disease.
Almost every modern disease and 90% of disease in general – including autoimmune disease, heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, obesity, dementia – is linked to inflammation. Unfortunately we’re seeing epidemic levels of these types of health conditions.
Concerningly, inflammation is also the main contributor to obesity. Basically, being overweight or obese means the body is inflamed because excess fat is the storage of inflammatory sugar. In 2014-15 two in every three people, including one in every four children, were overweight or obese in Australia.
Why do inflammatory pain and immune problems happen?
The causes of inflammatory pain resulting from an imbalanced immune system are everywhere.
From the sugar and refined carbohydrates, rancid processed vegetables oils, modern wheat and gluten, chemicals and pesticides we eat get from food to our lack of exercise, constant stress, hidden infections and compromised gut resulting from all of these factors combined.
Two of the best strategies to support your immune system, and therefore reduce pain and inflammation are to
Identify and eliminate food sensitivities
Heal the gut
Reactions to food can be varied, involving different immune reactions on a sliding scale with immediate life-threatening food allergies (IgE) being the most extreme.
While not as immediately life threatening, food sensitivities (IgG or delayed hypersensitivity) can cause health problems like IBS, fatigue, headaches, brain fog, joint pain, weight gain, fluid retention, mood issues, acne, eczema and more.
These delayed allergic reactions occur anywhere from hours to days after ingestion, meaning we often find them harder to link to what we’ve eaten.
Why do we develop food sensitivities resulting in pain?
In short, our poor diets, stress, antibiotics, drugs, GMOs and the chemicals we ingest all compromise our gut, which is where 60% of our immunity lives.
When our digestion doesn’t work properly it fails to fully break down our food. These partially digested food particles damage our gut lining causing ‘leaky gut’. Our immune system doesn’t recognise this normal food, tagging it as hostile and attacking it. This is a food sensitivity.
Poor digestion also changes the balance of good to bad bacteria in our gut and allows parasites, viruses and overgrowths of yeast and bacteria to develop, which all compromise our immunity. This is what creates pain, weight gain and many chronic health problems.
How to reduce pain and inflammation, and improve your immunity
Nutrition is a key way to reduce your pain. Eating clean whole foods will eliminate many food and additivies that are harmful to your body.
It’s also possible to identify problem foods using a food elimination diet.
For a deeper dive, you can get microbiome mapping (stool testing) done to identify harmful infectious agents like bacteria and parasites. This forms the basis of a protocol to kill off infections and rebuild a healthy gut and immune system.
Doing food sensitivity blood testing at the same time allows your immune system to rest while your body to heals so that eventually you may be able to tolerate problem foods again.
At Gutsy by Nutrition, I offer all of these services along with guidance and support.
10 steps to reduce pain
Eat real whole foods as they come in nature, nothing processed and in a packet
Cut added sugar and refined carbs (flour products) along with sugar substitutes
Cut toxic processed vegetable oils and eat more anti-inflammatory fats like deep sea fish, walnuts, flax and chia seeds
Do a food elimination diet, cutting out the common culprits i.e. gluten, wheat, soy, corn, dairy, deadly nightshades, yeast and citrus, ideally for 3 weeks but 2 weeks may suffice, before reintroducing one food at a time. There’s a specific way to do this
For more info specific information, get microbiome mapping and food sensitivity testing done, and follow a protocol to eradication infections and rebuild the gut and immune system
Heal your gut, including by
a. removing inflammatory foods
b. eating foods that promote digestion like apple cider vinegar, pawpaw, pineapple
c. eating prebiotic foods to support healthy gut bacteria like onions, garlic, asparagus, artichokes, cold cooked potatoes
d. introducing healing foods like bone broth, apple sauce and fermented foods
Stress less, not a healthy lifestyle
Reduce chemicals in your food, self-care products and home environment