Chronic Pain and the Gut
Did you know gut health is related to chronic pain? Find out the underlying cause and how to treat it…
Pain can result from injury, repetitive strain, or no apparent reason at all. This can go on for months or years and can also hinder your life. If you are in pain you will undoubtedly seek treatment because you need to find relief and move on with your life. Your quest starts out with a visit to your family doctor. You tell the doctor your muscles hurt or your joints are killing you and you don’t know why.
The doctor, with their limited understanding of how the body works as a whole, just shrugs and suggests ibuprofen or if they are feeling frisky, offer you up some muscle relaxers. You are hesitant but will try anything to feel better. After some time you will probably realize that the medication is not providing lasting relief.
Next is a visit to a chiropractor, a massage therapist, a physical therapist, an acupuncturist… You feel better for a little while, but the pain comes back. WHY?!
There is one contributing factor that many health professionals overlook… gut health. How many times has your doctor inquired about your gut health and diet? Your pain may be due to chronic systemic inflammation. How does this life-sucking condition start?
It all starts in the gut!
The gut is full of bacteria, more than 100 trillion of them! In fact, these bacteria outnumber human cells 10:1! These bacteria stimulate your immune system and are your first line of defense against foreign invaders. Diet plays a critical role in how these bacteria are balanced. The gut houses “good” and “bad” bacteria and we need the perfect balance to thrive.
The benefits of bacteria in our digestive system are incredibly important. Without them, we would be unable to digest our food, synthesize certain essential vitamins, absorb water, and fend off the dangerous bacteria that often tries to attack our gut.
The lining of the gut is a blanket of cells only one cell deep. Eating inflammatory foods like gluten can cause the lining of the gut to die off causing what is called intestinal permeability, better known as leaky gut syndrome. This dramatically decreases your gut health causes many issues in the body.
Having a leaky gut means that food particles, bacteria, antigens and fungus are leaking from the intestines into the bloodstream. As a result, your immune system sees these substances as invaders and attacks them.
This can affect chronic pain in your body!
“When alterations of our microbiome are compromised, dysbiosis occurs, meaning that there is a microbial imbalance, which can lead to a variety of illnesses from inflammatory bowel disease to cancer. This is not only observed in the gut but also in parts of the body where no direct anatomical connection exists. This new area of science is beginning to identify “gut-related axes.” Of particular interest is the existence of a gut-joint axis and its relation to musculoskeletal pain.”
The passage of antigenic material (toxins, bacteria, food antibodies/allergies, and microbes) through the lining of your gut and into circulation can deposit them in your joints, tendons, synovial sheaths, muscles, and ligaments. The link between obesity, inflammation, and our microbiome is beginning to reveal how previously thought chronic musculoskeletal problems, such as osteoarthritis, are not simply one of physical wear and tear.
That’s right, microbiome changes in the gut can lead to chronic inflammation which can lead to chronic pain in the muscles and joints!
Signs You Have a Leaky Gut
- Digestive issues (bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, reflux)
- Seasonal allergies or asthma
- Autoimmune diseases, such as celiac disease, RA, or lupus
- Chronic joint and muscle pain or fatigue
- Mood issues, including depression, anxiety, ADD
- Acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis
- Food allergies and intolerances
So what can you do? Heal the gut! How do you do that?
It all comes down to nutrition and supplementation. There is no other way to heal the gut. It is essential to eat foods that feed the good bacteria and starve the bad bacteria.
You need to:
- Change your diet eliminating dairy and gluten, among other things
- Supplement with probiotics
- Commit to STOP using antibiotics!
- Stop using NSAIDS
There are many other things you can do to heal your gut. As a health coach, I offer a 4 week Gut Reboot program that will help you implement dietary changes. Focus is also given to stress reduction and supplementation guidance is especially relevant. It is my passion to assist people in finding long-term relief from pain.