HOW WE TREAT CHRONIC PAIN
Living with chronic pain is debilitating and impacts your quality of life in many ways. Often called “the invisible condition”, millions of people in the UK and worldwide are suffering with long-term pain. We will work with you to identify the cause of your pain and to help you to manage your condition. Improving your overall wellness will help you to manage your chronic pain and to live your life to the fullest.
Persistent pain can be caused by infections, injuries, the ageing process or underlying illness. Common underlying causes are arthritis, fibromyalgia, gut issues, long Covid, post-viral fatigue, allergy/sensitivity and multiple sclerosis. Other possible causes include peripheral neuropathy, sarcopenia, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (connective tissue disorder) and osteoporosis. Sometimes people have acute infections of the skin, such as with shingles, which is a common, painful skin disease. Whatever the cause, a wide range of treatments may be offered to help you.
The causes of pain can be very varied and if anyone presents with pain, we have to consider this. In particular, because pain is perceived in two different ways by the body. The first way that the body perceives pain is by the long nerves, called sensory nerves, which can appreciate pain, but also the second way, which is through fine nerves that are connected with the autonomic nervous system. When treating pain, we have to differentiate between these two types of pain pathways.”
Jean Monro, Environmental Naturopath
We take a clinical history and examination into consideration and provide treatment based on this assessment. The cause of pain is often caused by the nerves, which have small, sensitive fibres, being triggered as a result of impaired circulation or damage to nerves through inadequate nourishment. For example, diabetic neuropathy can result from poor circulation to the nerves, which means we need to treat both the diabetes and the neuropathy to relieve the pain.
For chronic pain, we sometimes use a technique called neuromuscular taping and have published on successful management of pain, using this specifically for both acute and chronic causes of pain.
While growing up, I suffered from a variety of seemingly unrelated health problems. Soon after turning 21, I visited Breakspear Medical for the first time and within 20 minutes, my life changed forever. I was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), a genetic connective tissue disorder, including an infection and candida overgrowth, and ME/CFS. The truth is that without the help of the fantastic Breakspear Medical team and their expertise, I do not know where I’d be.
Read more about Georgie’s story in Issue 50:
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SUPPLEMENTS FOR CHRONIC PAIN
For those with chronic pain, there are many supplements that may be recommended in combination to help you regain your vitality. Often supplements are used in prescribed doses, which may vary considerably from the standard, recommended doses. A wide range of herbal remedies can also help as part of the first step to working towards feeling better.
Our environmental naturopath or nutritional therapist will advise you on the best supplementation programme for you during a one hour appointment to discuss your test results and recommendations so that you know what to do next.
SYMPTOMS OF CHRONIC PAIN
Chronic pain is defined as a pain that carries on for longer than 12 weeks despite medication or treatment. Most people have experienced pain from injuries or surgery. However, sometimes pain carries on for long periods or comes and goes without an apparent cause.
Chronic pain can impact every aspect of the sufferer’s life as it reduces their ability to work, exercise and socialise, for example, leading to psychological and emotional issues in some cases.
The symptoms of chronic pain vary considerably depending on the root cause and include:
- joint and muscular aches and pains
- burning, throbbing or stabbing pains
- fatigue and sleep issues
- loss of mobility, stamina and flexibility due to reduced exercise
- mood problems, including anxiety and depression.
It is quite common for people with the following conditions to experience chronic pain:
- gut issues
- long Covid
- Ehlers-Danlos syndromes
If you are dealing with chronic pain, book an appointment at Breakspear Medical and find out what treatments are available to help you.
ARTICLES ON CHRONIC PAIN
We have shared information about chronic pain in our newsletter over the years on many conditions as well as specifically on chronic pain including:
What do you offer for chronic pain that is different to other clinics?
We often treat patients with pain. It is best to start by finding the causes of pain and determining the type. To do this, we provide questionnaires, which help to assess the frequency and severity of pain, the type of pain, and the areas affected. In order to reduce your pain, it is paramount to learn about your medical history. Not all chronic pain is caused by an injury or surgery. A neurological examination should be undertaken, which investigates all cranial nerves and motor and sensory function of the peripheral nerves. After examining your medical history, performing a physical examination and completing an evaluation of environmental encounters, a personalised treatment plan will be recommended.
Does nutritional supplementation help with chronic pain?
Often nerves need nutritional support to overcome pain. For example, with migraine, looking at your medical history, completing a dietetic evaluation, addressing allergy/sensitivities and providing nutritional supplementation can help. If you suffer from joint problems, a similar approach can be used to help.
How long will it take to treat my chronic pain?
Sadly, there is no easy answer to this question. Each case of chronic pain is individual. To diagnose and provide an appropriate chronic pain treatment plan, an examination has to be conducted, questionnaires to determine and access the type of pain have to be completed and a treatment plan developed. Once the treatment plan has been provided, it must be followed, which may require dietary, environmental and lifestyle changes. It is unlikely to eliminate pain overnight, but your quality of life should improve over a few weeks to many months.
Will treatment prevent my chronic pain from coming back?
Unfortunately, your chronic pain may come back. However, by re-evaluating diet, supplements, activities and your environment, and making changes, your quality of life can be improved again.
If you have a question for us that is not shown here, please get in touch and ask directly.