What causes pain?
We all have aches and pains now and then, but for some of us, back pain, headaches, stiffness and aches are a way of life. In fact, the most commonly purchased over-the-counter drugs are pain killers. These drugs are considered by many to be one of the greatest "miracles" of modern medicine. Perhaps they are. After all, no normal human being likes to be in pain.
What causes pain?
Tissue Damage (Inflammation)
Every time we damage tissues (whether the damage occurs through trauma, nutrient depletion, toxicity or stress) they respond through a process called inflammation. Inflammation can be thought of as the "mother of all diseases" because all disease processes in the body start with cells becoming injured and an inflammatory response being initiated.
Medical research suggests that even serious chronic and degenerate diseases have their roots in chronic inflammation. For example, it is now known that heart disease begins with an inflammatory process, which sets the stage for hardening of the arteries. lnflammation is the first, or acute stage of disease and corresponds to a tissue state we call irritation. Here's what happens.
When cells are damaged, they burst and release certain chemicals into the surrounding tissues. One of these substances is called histamine, another is bradykinin. There are several others but these are the two most important ones.
Even if you have never heard of histamine, you are still probably aware of the existence of antihistamines (drugs which block histamine reactions). Histamine reactions are well-known for their involvement in allergic responses, but they are also involved in all inflammatory reactions. Bradykinin is also involved in inflammatory reactions, particularly the symptoms we experience with the common cold.
Histamine and bradykinin cause the capillary pores to enlarge. This, in turn, allows massive amounts of fluid, including the plasma protein albumin, to flood the tissue spaces. So, our smashed finger begins to swell. Fluid and protein rush out of the blood stream and into the spaces around the cells, filling them with fluid. This takes the cells out of their normal "dry" state and slows down the exchange of oxygen. It also causes waste material to accumulate in the spaces between the cells. In effect, the cells start "drowning."
Our "side" cells are surrounded by excess fluid and plasma protein which has "leaked" out of the circulatory system through the enlarged pores. The cells are pushed apart and the lymphatic system is trying to draw away the excess fluid.
The Acute Stage of Disease Irritation
The other two symptoms of inflammation are redness and heat. That is why it is called inflammation. These symptoms arise from three primary causes. In response to the situation, tissues become hyperactive. They speed up their metabolism trying to clear out the surrounding area and repair the damage. There is also a tendency for oxygen radicals to form and cause free radical damage in inflamed tissues. In effect, oxygen spins out of control and starts "burning" tissues. The cells, of course, send out a distress signal-a cry for help that we call pain. The final cause of the "flames" in inflammation is the activity of white blood cells which are drawn to the area as a "clean-up crew." White blood cells will use oxygen radicals to "burn up" and destroy microbes and toxins that may be present at the site of injury.
Anytime we see the symptoms of heat (elevated temperature either locally or generally as in fever), swelling, redness and sharp pains we are dealing with an inflammatory condition. In other words, tissues have been chemically injured and are in a state of acute distress. The Latin word for inflammation is itis. So anytime you have an -itis, you are dealing with inflammation, whether it is tonsillitis, sinusitis, laryngitis, or bronchitis.
It is the job of the lymphatic system to "suck up' the debris and clean up the area. The lymphatic system captures the proteins that have escaped from the circulatory system and carries them, along with the fluid they attract, back to the circulatory system through a series of one-way check valves. If the body can successfully discharge the irritant and clean up the area via the lymphatics, then the problem is solved and it ends there.
POSSIBLE ANSWERS TO CHRONIC PAIN
Try drinking at least 1/2 oz. of pure water (Evian or Celtic) per pound of body weight/day.
OXIDATIVE STRESS -
TOXICITY - STAGNATION
In traditional Chinese medicine pain
is seen as a sign of stagnation. When there
is a lack of blood bringing oxygen to the
tissues and a lack of good lymphatic drainage allowing an accumulation of acid and
waste around the cells, cells cry for help by
sending pain signals to the brain.
Most over-the-counter pain relievers are anti-inflammatories.
This makes sense, since inﬂammation is almost always associated
Natural analgesics often work faster and more effectively
when applied directly to painful joints or muscles. They are even
more effective when used as part of a pain-relieving massage,
which stimulates blood ﬂow and lymphatic drainage.
NERVINES & SEDATIVES
Since tension and stress contribute to pain, remedies that
help the body relax and promote sleep can also be helpul For
Valerian, lobelia, and wood betony are examples of herbs that ease pain by reducing tension and stress.
Vulneraries are herbs that help tissues to heal. While not
This information is for educational purposes only. Consult with a qualified health practitioner for all serious or persistent illness.
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