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AN END TO PAIN: Integrative & Functional Medicine Solutions For Lasting Pain Relief

A Guide to Help You Understand Why You Are in Pain and How to Heal From It

Understanding Pain

Pain has a purpose. It is a survival mechanism designed to tell us something is not right, and once a signal is sent to our brain that we are being harmed (or harm is perceived) we then act to remedy what is causing the pain. A good thing….usually. 

Signals can go awry generating excessive or disproportionate signals. The generation of pain is a complex dance between the immune system and the nervous system that can easily be thrown out of balance. 

“A vicious cycle”

The body’s immune cells respond to injury with an inflammatory response that activates pain pathways. Mediators released by immune and glial cells act on receptors in the brain eliciting pain response.  After activation of the initial acute pain response, if left unabated, can develop into chronic pathological pain. 

Whether the pain is localized to one or two joints or diffuse chronic pain syndromes such as in fibromyalgia, the following factors may be important in how your body turns pain signals on and off. 

Underlying causes of pain and inflammation- What is preventing you from healing? 

  • Structural Imbalance: This needs to be identified and corrected. “The pebble in the shoe concept”. If we have a tendon or ligament that is torn or a disc that is ruptured, it is unlikely pain will resolve until those things are given an opportunity to repair.

    Meaning a joint that is out of alignment should be aligned or broken bones need to be reset. However, once that occurs, if inflammation is present in excessive amounts, it blocks the localized healing process. 
  •  Systemic Inflammation/ Perpetuating the pain cycle: Why do some people heal easily and others do not? Why can two people have seemingly similar injuries that may be excruciating to one person and barely give notice to another? Many factors affect inflammation as well as pain signaling and intensity. 

KEY INSIGHT: “You have to put out the fire before you can rebuild the house”

  • Dietary Factors/ Food Allergies/ Sensitivities
    • There are the most common ones, such as dairy, wheat/gluten, soy, egg, nuts, citrus – however, you can have an intolerance to ANY food, even if its healthy (such as avocado). 
    • Elimination diet with challenge and/or Food Allergy Testing
    • Nightshade family
  • Gut Health
    • Presence of inflammatory/pathogenic bacteria
    • Yeast overgrowth
    • Lack of digestive enzymes
    • Parasites
    • Balanced microbiome- which directly mediates immune response and neurotransmitter production
  • Nutrient Deficiencies
    • Essential fatty acids deficiency (high pro-inflammatory fats)
    • Trace minerals (Magnesium is #1)
    • B-vitamin deficiency (poor methylation, poor detoxification)
  • Environmental Factors
    • Mold/ Mycotoxin exposure
    • Heavy metal accumulation (lead stores in the bone, mercury in the muscles)
    • Chemical exposure (occupational risk?)
  • Neurotransmitters and Hormones
    • The connection between low cortisol levels and chronic pain 
    • Increased Glutamate= Increased Pain Signaling
    • Correlation between chronic pain and low Serotonin/ Low GABA 
  • Genetics
    • +COMT more likely to experience pain
    • +multiple methylation defects (such as homozygous MTHFR) will lessen the ability to detoxify
  • Testing 
    • Routine labs: CRP, homocysteine, ANA, Vitamin D
    • Stool panel
    • Heavy metal/Urine Comprehensive Toxic Element Panel
    • Neurotransmitters
    • Comprehensive Nutrition Testing
    • Genetics: MTHFR, COMT, and more (www.ancestry.com and Stratagene report)
    • Mycotoxin testing 

 Regenerative Medicine Solutions

1. Trigger Point Therapy:  Trigger point therapy is an injection technique that involves the injection of lidocaine (and we add B12) to tender muscle tissue or ‘knots’ in order to relieve pain and dysfunction in areas of the body. 

2.  Ozone Therapy: Ozone is a type of regenerative medicine that is used to regenerate and repair cells in the body (all connective tissues, muscle, joints, tendons, ligaments). It has been available since the 1940’s and is now a therapy in traditional medical centers in 40 countries around the world. Ozone can:

  • Stimulate TGF (Transforming Growth Factor) Beta-1 which causes the cartilage cells to regenerate, to lay down more matrix; cartilage increases over the course of a year.
  • Increases antioxidant levels: SOD, glutathione – key in increasing telomerase, key to anti-aging.
  • Improves the ability of red cells to release oxygen, more oxygen dumping in the tissues.
  • Increases NAD (from B3), which creates super gifted red cells, better oxygen dumping
  • Increases potent cytokines and interferons that stimulate regeneration of tissues
  • Activates immune competent cells
  • Ozone therapy can be done systemically or as localized injection

3. PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma): PRP is derived from your individual blood. It is extracted, concentrated and ‘activated’ by natural elements to release growth factors which work to stimulate the natural healing of your tissue or joints. PRP is used to heal injury or arthritis in joints, or injury to tendons, ligaments, and other forms of connective tissue. For the healing of joints and injuries, PRP can be stronger than ozone. PRP has been thought to also stimulate STEM cell activity.  However, I like to combine the two to optimize healing. 

4. IV nutrient therapy: IV nutrient therapy is an IV where we combine specific nutrients to speed healing, increase energy, improve the immune system, and heal your connective tissue. Examples of nutrients we include in higher doses are: Vitamin C, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Magnesium, Calcium, Amino Acids and more. 

5. Amniotic Stem Cell Therapy: AmnioFix is a bioactive tissue matrix allograft composed of dehydrated human amnion/chorion membrane (dHACM) that preserves and contains multiple extracellular matrix proteins, growth factors, cytokines, and other specialty proteins. Amniofix is thought to have stem-cell like activity, and due to it’s extensive growth factors, can be used for joint repair, tendon and ligament repair, and hair growth. 

If you’d like to explore these regenerative approaches or wonder how they might help with your situation, call our front desk to schedule your appointment, call: (425) 245-5752

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Dr. Angila