Inflammation / Immune Support
Muscle / Tissue Repair
Branched-Chain amino acids (BCAAs)
(Leucine, isoleucine, valine+L-glutamine)
Tension / Tightness
Stress and Sleep
There is an explanation for your pain that practically no one speaks about: your brain. We have yet to develop a fancy, expensive test to diagnose it, but your brain is often the real cause of your persistent pain. This is an essential chapter in your recovery process, and we need to address it before we talk about the specifics of nutrition and exercise— which are also extremely important. Before you begin the Healing Pain Program, you need to fully understand exactly how your body and brain function.
How Your Body Heals
The inflammatory process is necessary for healing to occur in the body and follows a predictable path, as long as you are healthy and well. Injuries heal at different rates, depending on the type of tissue, severity of the injury, and the health of your immune system, environment, diet, and stress level.
Soft tissues are most commonly injured and consist of basically every tissue except bone. This includes muscles, ligaments, tendons, joint capsules, disks, nerves, and fascia. A strained muscle often heals in a matter of days, due to its rich blood supply, which brings healthy immune cells to the area for healing and repair. The richer the blood supply to a particular part of your body, the faster an injury will generally heal.
Many of us have had fractured bones and know that in approximately six to eight weeks, a fracture will heal.
The Three Phases of Healing
1. Inflammation 3~7 days
Immune system releases cytokines (protein messenger) - Pain, Redness, Swelling - to protect the injury form further damage.
2. Repair 2~6 weeks
Lay down new collagen in place of the old.
3. Remodeling 3~6 months
The new collagen created during the repair phases may be inelastic or stiff, so it's important to to perform certain movements to make the new tissue pliable.
Unfortunately, this is the stage where most people get stuck. their pain is decreasing, but they have lingering stiffness, making them fearful to move. Unless the tissues are reeducated to move, the problem will persist, worsen, or relapse. This phase often include physical therapy.
If pain continues beyond three months, it is considered to be chronic, or persistent pain. The question you should be asking is: why do I still have pain?
One possibility is that you do not have a strong immune system, or the environment around you is not optimal for healing which puts you in a state of chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation will mean persistent pain.
Another possibility is that your brain has decided it's in your best interst to remain in pain. This can happen even if you have successfully completed the stages of healing.
Npciception Not Pain!
Your body has no pain receptors. Pain is not something you feel but a decision your brain makes. Your body has something called nociceptors. It's their job to carry signals up to your brain. It is your brain's job to interpret these signals and decide if you are in danger.
Your brain takes into account many different factors when deciding to create a pain response. During your pain experience, your brain receives information connected to that experience such as upbringing, cultural influences, thoughts, emotions, and your current stress level. With persistent pain, these factors are continuing to affect your brain's decision about pain.
Understanding neuroplasticity has put an end to the old view of pain as simply a sensation transmitted along hard-woired paths up and into the brain. Neuroplasticity occurs in your brain as an attempt by your central nervous system to adopt to injury in a positive way. but in the case of persistent pain, neuroplasticity can be maladaptive and at times work agains those trying to cure themselves from pain.
Your brain is kind of like a satellite in space that is constantly receiving signals. Nociceptive input sends danger signals from your skin, joints and muscles to be interpreted. If you sprain your ankle, information about an injury will be sent to your brain. At the same time, it is receiving visual input via the optic nerve, smell from olfactory nerves, sound from your auditory nerve, and even taste from your lingual nerve. Your brain is also cross-checking the information it has previously stored to weigh in on its decision. Stored information and belief about pain. This matrix of information is considered by the brain and occurs in a millisecond! If your brain receives enough danger signals from the variety of inputs, it will trigger the alarm and will create pain. This is why different people have different amounts of pain, even with similar injuries, or why your pain can change from day to day.
Allodynia = when a person experiences pain with things that are normally not painful like a simple touch or massage.
Hyperalgesia = when actual painful stimulus is perceived as more painful than it should be.
Tag, You're in Pain
Cortical areas of the brain responsible for movement, memory, smell, sight, thoughts, beliefs, emotion, and sensation all play a role in the brain's decision of pain. All these nerves work together in a network referred to as a neurotag. Each of the "brain cells" for a particular neurotags.
Under normal circumstances, a painful neurotag is inhibited, meaning it is dormant and not causing any pain. But if you land on a day where you are stressed, sleep deprived, and you happen to see the commercial for the newest back pain medication you can unearth a dormant neurotag in your brain. Since neuron s and neurotags overlap, this process can be imprecise. This is one reason why pain might spread beyond the area of actual tissue damage, move from one area to another, switch sides, or become harder to locate.
Another issue that occurs with chronic pain is a lowered threshold for activation of a particular pain neurotag, meaning that it can be activated more easily. The smallest input can activate the neurotag. This is called sensitization, and it explains why pain that persists might become activated with less and less stimulus.
The severity of the pain report is not always an accurate indication of the degree of tissue damage. Pain is a poor indicator of damage. With persistent pain the link between pain and actual damage is weak. Persistent pain is something you can desensitize over time and with the right trailing. And the training begins with retraining your brain and reframing your relationship to pain.
Long-Term Effects of Cortisol on Various Body Systems
Painful trigger points
Old injuries hurt
Proneness to illness
Tightness in neck/chest
No REM sleep