Category: Pain treatment
May 7th, 2018
If you have pain, change the conditions and your body can thrive
I would like to start this blog with a quote from vitamin D expert Prof. Michael Holicks book ‘The Vitamin D Solution: A 3-Step Strategy to Cure Our Most Common Health Problems’, as I think he put it nicely, when he wrote the following:
‘We should give the human body more credit than it sometimes gets. People don’t shrivel, shatter, or shut down at the first sign of stress. Instead, the human body operates on the “overload principle”—when subjected to outside forces, it adapts by getting stronger. Examples of this phenomenon abound in the human body. Your muscles don’t pop and your bones don’t break if you regularly lift weights—they get bigger and more powerful so they can handle a heavier load. Your heart and lungs don’t explode or collapse if you go running every morning—they become more efficient and your lung capacity expands. Your ligaments and tendons don’t snap if you do stretching exercises—they get more flexible.’
I think Prof. Holick gets it absolutely right here. What he’s saying is, that our bodies are perfect the way they are, as long as they find the right conditions to work properly.
So what conditions can help the body to stay or become free from pain?
The main pillars of a good and pain-free health are a well balanced diet, regular high quality movement, plenty of sunshine, good supportive friends and family and of course good stress management.
Now, what’s a good diet? Ask five different people and you will probably get five different answers. So I will give you my opinion based on my research and my personal experience. Muscles hate acid and work best in a relative alkaloid environment. This means that a diet high in micronutrients (such as magnesium, potassium, vitamins, secondary plant substances) and rich in alkaloids like vegetables, fruit, legumes and whole grains, and low in animal based protein is going to help you get smooth, flexible muscles and soft tissue. Drink plenty of fluids (water or herbal teas).
I’ve been talking about the importance of regular high quality exercise balancing out your daily routines of one-sided movement patterns in recent blogs. There is an idiom that nails it: Use it (the right way), or loose it! Provide high quality stretches for tense muscles. That way you will gradually improve your range of motion and reduce pain. Exercise also gets your muscles to excrete myokines, molecules with a very wide range of healthy properties. Foremost, they are involved in exercise-associated metabolic changes, and in the metabolic changes following training adaptation. They participate in tissue regeneration and repair, maintenance of healthy bodily functioning, immune-modulation, cell signaling, expression and differentiation. What more could you want?
What’s sunshine possibly got to do with pain? Sunshine has several great benefits: It provides warmth. Muscles love that. It provides endorphines, which reduce pain and make you feel good. But first and foremost the UVB-fraction of sunlight makes your skin produce vitamin D. Sunshine is actually the main source of vitamin D. Even with the best diet you could not get enough of it. Vitamin D is a real jack of all trades. Among other functions vitamin D gets your bowels to absorb calcium and distributes it to the right places, like the bones and, very important, also the muscles, which is essential for good muscle function. So get out in the sun and enjoy it sensibly. Without getting burnt, of course.
Stress and a supportive environment
The last topics from my list, stress and a supportive environment, go hand in hand. The latter will reduce stress, which can be a major factor in increasing muscular tension. The stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol (long term stress hormone) create acid, which, as mentioned above, increases tension and therefore pain. So beware of stress, be it mental or physical and avoid people causing same.
In the end it all comes down to one thing. Be nice to yourself and do not exploit your body. You will be rewarded.
Do you have any further questions? Do send me an email.
November 7th, 2017
Osteoarthritis is widely seen as a destructive process of the joints cartilage, caused by wear and tear as people age. Addit genes are blamed as well. Yet a study published by researchers from Utrecht puts a different perspective on this illness. An illness that is believed to cause so much pain and puts such an enormous strain on health systems all over the world.
The current view on osteoarthritis leaves some significant questions unanswered. What about all the people developing osteoarthritis at a very young age? Many of those don’t do any strenuous activity. What about all the lucky people that despite having osteoarthritis don’t suffer from pain?
As you might know already from previous articles I have a different approach on where pain comes from and how destruction such as osteoarthritis come about. And now I found proof!
Browsing through the net I found a study carried out by researchers in the Netherlands found that osteoarthritis is reversible if you create the right condition for the cartillage to recover. Through the course of one year they observed what happens to people with osteoarthritis, when they had their joint facets surgically distracted for two months. Means the joint facets were pulled apart from each other by an apparatus built in surgically. One year later they revised their patients and found, that joint distraction can reverse ostoarthritis.
Now that is some message, huh? Even though I recommend a different kind of treatment, the message is loud and clear. Reducing the pressure on the joint facets – there I recommend stretching the muscles – will stop the pain and reverse osteoartrthritis which is a side effect of too much muscular tension.
Here’s the link if you want to read more about this, in my opinion, groundbreaking study: http://ard.bmj.com/content/early/2011/05/12/ard.2010.142364
July 2nd, 2017
People in the Western world suffer a growing problem. It’s called lower back pain (LBP).
According to Wikipedia approximately 9 to 12% of people (632 million) have LBP at any given point in time. Nearly 25% report having it at some point over any one-month period. About 40% of people have LBP at some point in their lives, with estimates as high as 80% among people in the developed world.
Now why is that? Why would the number for the developed world be double as high? The reason is hours and hours of sitting. Some people even say sitting is the new smoking. However it is nowadays one of the most common reasons for lower back pain.
How does that work?
Most people with lower back pain are so concerned with the area they feel pain in, they don’t realize, that the initial problem lies in the front. Based on my previous articles we know already that tension in myo-fascial tissue is the main reason for pain. Structural damage, like osteo-arthritis or disc damage is usually not the cause. It is rather the secondary effect of long term tension. When we sit we shorten our muscles in the front. Specifically the pectoral and the abdominal muscle and the hip flexor. Our brain is constantly adjusting our muscles to our every day needs. If we don’t do exercise to balance out the shortness in the front, we have to build tension in the back in order to be able to stand up straight. What happens then is the source of all problems. Now we have tension in the front and in the back. That puts the structures inbetween, such as the joints, the discs and the bones under massive pressure. Once we reach a certain level of pressure the body warns us of long term damage. It’s triggering pain in the lower back and buttocks.
What’s the way out, how do we find the balance again?
The problem develops from short abdominal and hip flexor muscles, causing strong muscle tension in the lower back and gluteal area. The solution is stretching. In order to make the muscles and soft tissue more flexible, to create less pressure on, and therefore more room for the joints and discs.
Some very useful stretches borrowed from yoga are the cobra, the one leg pigeon, the sitting forward bend, or the half lord of the fishes. In LNB pain therapy we use similar stretches but adapted to specifically treat pain more effectively.
Do you experience back pain in the morning when you get up?I highly recommend you sleep on your back most of the time. Because sleeping sideways with your knees pulled up is just the same as a sitting position. As you just learnt that shortens the soft tissue of your front. If you like to usually sleep sideways, this will take some effort and training to get used to, but you will be rewarded after a few weeks. Next time I will tell you my basic rules of stretching, so you can achieve the best effect for pain reduction for the long term.
February 24th, 2017
Giving multiple pain a name is curse and blessing at the same time.
Finally being able to give the devil a name and being able to say ‘that’s what I am suffering from’, can be a relief. On the other hand the diagnosis of fibromyalgia seems so definite, that it can lead to a lot of hopelessness and despair. By definition fibromyalgia is widespread body pain and a heightened pain response to pressure. Any other potential diagnosis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, have been discarded. Often the pain is accompanied by fatigue, poor sleep, mood problems, restless- legs syndrome, bowel or bladder problems, numbness and tingling, and sensitivity to noise, lights or temperature. There is no clear evidence as to why people develop these pains. That makes it very difficult to find effective treatment options. In many cases people end up with a big list of drugs, but yet they don’t find the relief they are looking for.
The LNB Pain Therapy looks at it from a different angle
From the LNB Pain Therapy view the primary focus is to get the pain down, as that is where the patients main suffering comes from. The simplistic LNB Pain Therapy approach sees fibromyalgia as multiple pain areas due to exaggerated myo-fascial tension.
Therefore LNB Pain Therapy treats fibromyalgia just as any other pain condition – with osteo-pressure and consecutive stretching exercises. If you treat one area after the other, starting with the worst, the condition can be gradually healed. This has been proven in numerous cases. With specific constriction point stretches patients can also keep fibromyalgia at bay in the long term. Once the pain is successfully treated we should also go ahead and look for primary causes for the fibromyalgia. Usually there are more factors coming together.
In my next blogs I want to look at the specifics of some of the most common pain conditions. I want to put some light on how they develop and what one can do about them.
December 14th, 2016
In my last blog I explained how pain develops, today I want to tell you how to get rid of it. I already mentioned, that the most common reason for pain is muscle tension. So the logical consequence must be to reduce the tension. Here’s an example.
Many people have lower back pain. While the pain is felt in the lower back, the source of it actually lies in the front. Due to sitting many hours or bent forward activities the muscles in the front adjust to every day movement and shorten. A short hip flexor muscle (iliopsoas muscle) and short abdominal muscles are probably the most common cause for lower back pain. Every time we stand up from a sitting position now, the muscles in the back have to overcome the tension in the front. That progressively increases the tension in the back as the hip flexor becomes ever shorter from all the sitting. Once the tension in the front and the back reaches an unhealthy level for the related joints, the body triggers pain to warn against impending danger of destruction. How can we avoid that?
The logical consequence is to elongate the muscles and get them more flexible. That way the joints get more room to move. We can achieve that with specific stretching of the myo-fascial structures. If we suffer from lower back pain, we have to stretch out the short muscles of the front so the ones in the back get the chance to relax.
Unfortunately stretching is a very slow method to achieve that. It can take weeks or even months to get the muscles long enough, to achieve pain freedom. The ‘LNB Pain Therapy’ I use can give you pain relief in an instant, which will make it easier for you to do the stretches necessary to keep up the long term success. In my next blog I will give you the most important rules to achieve a longterm effect with stretching.
October 24th, 2016
Today I want to explain my model of pain development. How does pain turn chronic? Let’s start with acute pain. As I mentioned in my last article the purpose of acute pain seems clear. We hurt ourselves and in order to achieve a protective reaction the body triggers pain. In chronic pains the principle stays the same but the danger is not as obvious. The key is the muscular or more precisely myo-fascial tension. If we exceed a certain level of myo-fascial (muscle and surrounding soft tissue called fascia) tension, it puts the joints moved by the muscle under high pressure. This way the joints cartilage cannot maintain the balance between wear off and build up and the cartilage is slowly ground. To warn us from long term damage the body triggers pain, which will stay chronic as long as the condition persists.
Our natural reaction is to avoid the pain and not use the affected area any more, which leads to a further shortness of the muscle and therefore the tension. At this stage people usually start taking pain killers. While pain killers might help get the pain down, the condition still stays the same and over time the joints cartilage looses substance and becomes thinner. That’s called osteoarthritis then.
What you might have already noticed by now is, that the pain appears long before the structural damage. It stays – what nature always designed it for – a warning sign. What this means is, that the structural damage is not the cause for pain, it’s rather a secondary effect of the underlying condition, which is the myo-fascial tension.
And here comes the great news! No matter how bad the structural damage may be, you always have a chance of curing the pain. How? I’m going to tell you in one of the next blogs.
October 10th, 2016
I think everyone would agree with me, that pain has an important function. It warns us when we cut ourselves, when we step on a screw or hit our thumb with a hammer, et cetera. So what about chronic pains, when there is no obvious acute danger? One of the most common theories is the concept of a ‘pain memory’. According to that theory the body would keep pain in memory, so mistakes that hurt us would not be repeated. As a result the memory of pain may outlast its benefits as acute pain becomes chronic pain. But why would our musculoskeletal system store the memory in a way that makes us suffer permanently? This concept doesn’t leave us a way out, does it? How can we possibly delete a memory?
Is pain an error of nature, a misguided sensation? Could you honestly believe mother nature created the human body – such a marvel – and installed a program, that makes the lives of millions of people just miserable, without serving a better purpose? I don’t!