Inflammation: Why It Causes Chronic Pain & How To Treat It.
September 26th, 2018
Chronic Pain and Inflammation
Inflammation is one of the largest causes of chronic pain. Any area of the body that has an injury is going to suffer some amount of chronic pain and inflammation. For example, if you have a bulging disc, most bulging discs are asymptomatic all by themselves. However, the shift in your spinal column causes tension on the muscles surrounding it. You may not be experiencing bone pain, but you likely will have swelling in the muscles, since they are having to bear weight differently than they naturally want to. This goes for pretty much any joint or connective tissue in the body: If something is out of place or weakened, strain is placed elsewhere in the body to keep you still able to sit and stand. It shifts the balance abnormally toward the muscle tissue, causing swelling, inflammation and pain.
Why Does Inflammation Cause Pain?
Simply put, inflammation is not natural. Your body’s natural state of being is not an inflamed one. When things swell, this puts pressure on nerve endings, causing pain in the area or with some conditions, such as fibromyalgia or polyarthritis, the pain is widespread because the inflammation is widespread. This kind of pressing on the nerve endings makes for anything from mild discomfort to severe pain, depending on a variety of factors including: Degree of inflammation, natural pain sensitivity, and affected area of the body.
Places like the knee or the back which have a lot of soft tissue construction are more prone to more severe pain because inflammation occurs mainly in the soft tissues. Pains such as these can be complex and have a variety of solutions, but it is difficult to pin one down because it is extremely difficult to pinpoint the actual source of pain. However, treating the inflammation will help with decreasing the pain.
How to Treat Inflammation: Medical Pain Treatments
There are a variety of medications out there that treat pain as a symptom alone, and many that treat inflammation or nerve activity to help treat the source of the pain. However, many of these drugs have less-than-desirable and sometimes even extreme side effects. Opiate pain relievers are widely known to cause addiction, and can even sometimes make pain worse by increasing pain sensitivity. They can also cause considerable liver damage. 1 Neuroleptic drugs like Gabapentin or Pregabalin, commonly known as Neurontin and Lyrica, can cause damage to the brain’s ability to form new synapses, as well as have a host of known behavioral and mental side effects. 2
There has also been some off-label use of Tricyclic Antidepressants such as Elavil and Trazodone. While these drugs are usually used for sleep disorders, some evidence points to their usefulness in decreasing pain sensitivity by slowing signals from nerve endings. However, these drugs also have a number of side effects ranging from daytime drowsiness, fatigue, and anxiety all the way to major depressive episodes, mood swings, and even suicidality. Make sure if you are using any of these medications that you contact your physician immediately if you are experiencing any of these side effects, and if experiencing thoughts of suicide or self-harm, go to the nearest emergency room immediately. 3
NSAID pain relievers are often preferred over these types of treatments, since there are no known side effects on the brain or central nervous system. However, while not physically addictive, they can be habit-forming. They are also shown to cause damage to the digestive tract, including ulcers, bleeding, and even certain types of cancers have been linked to long-term NSAID use. Also, much like any other medication, their efficacy diminishes over time, and higher doses are required to achieve the same, or even lesser results. This means you have to keep taking more and more to help alleviate pain, which increases your risk for any and all of the above side effects. 4
Another risk is that NSAID pain relievers are often used over-the-counter and not properly monitored by a doctor. While taking ibuprofen or naproxen to deal with the occasional bout of pain doesn’t require doctor supervision, long-term NSAID use does. Be sure to consult with your doctor for any pain lasting more than 2 weeks, and do not use NSAID pain relievers in high doses or for more than 2 weeks without consulting your physician to be properly monitored while undergoing long-term NSAID therapy.
Natural Inflammation Relief
Fish Oil contains high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids, which act as natural anti-inflammatory agents in the body. Certain foods, including plant-based foods like soy, chia, flax, and hemp have all been shown to have high amounts of Omega-3’s themselves. However, plant-based Omega-3’s like ALA have been studied far less than the DHA and EPA found in fish and other seafood. Studies on ALA have indicated, however, that while there may be some benefit to the consumption of plant-based Omega-3’s, cold-pressed concentrates like Flaxseed oil have much less benefit for a number of reasons.
The biggest reason for this is potency for volume: You have to take 7 times more flaxseed oil for the same amount of Omega-3 fatty acids, and there are other contents in the flaxseed oil that can cause adverse effects, such as Omega-6’s, which make the Omega-3’s less absorbable, as well as may raise LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. Overall, while incorporating foods like flax and hemp into your diet may have a whole series of positive effects, taking oils or extracts from these may not yield the benefit you are going for, and are probably money better spent elsewhere.
As mentioned before, the components DHA and EPA found in fish oil have been well-studied and their benefits are well-documented. In addition to serving to keep the heart, brain, and central nervous system healthy, they also act as strong anti-inflammatory agents that can help naturally reduce pain and swelling. This makes DHA and EPA very suitable for people suffering with different kinds of arthritis, spondylosis, disc degeneration, and many other conditions that result in chronic inflammation that hurts our bodies.
There are some pretty common objections to fish oil, though, mainly taste, smell, and ease of digestion. Reflux is a common side effect of traditional fish oil, and even odorless versions have been known to cause the lovingly-named “fish burps.” The main reason for this is that fish oil is typically made from very fatty, smelly fish such as mackerel, sardines, herring, anchovies, or all of the above. Since fish oil is an oil, using a really greasy, oily fish is most cost-effective and allows the maker to extract large amounts of the beneficial DHA and EPA with the least amount of effort.
However, because these fish are so smelly have such a strong taste, taking them every single day can be difficult, and many people give up on it. While most people want to enjoy the benefits of less pain or a healthier heart, they just can’t get down with taking something that tastes and smells so strongly of a fish they may not even like every single day. Even worse, strong burps that taste of fish, or fish that is haphazardly attempted to be disguised by lemon, are nauseating, and people often have strong reactions to that. Overall, most people can’t get on board with every minute of every day tasting like fish, and many give up on taking Omega-3’s altogether since the plant-based alternatives that don’t cause these effects don’t help as much for their intended purposes and have other unwanted side effects.
The Omega XL Solution
Unlike regular fish oil, Omega XL is extracted from the green-lipped mussel off the shores of New Zealand. Because of a unique extraction process that leaves the proteins of the mussel out of the mix, Omega XL is safe for people who have seafood or shellfish allergies, since allergic reactions to seafood are caused by the proteins.5 The protein removal also has the added benefit of not causing the fishy aftertaste or the “fish burps” associated with normal fish oils.
Omega XL also has a patented formula that makes it not only safer, but superior to other fish oils. Omega XL contains a blend of 30 other healthy, free fatty acids that can aid in digestion, heart and brain health, as well as joint pain. It is also up to 22-times more potent in Omega-3 fatty acids than other fish oil brands you would find in your pharmacy aisle.
Some online Omega XL reviews seem to perpetuate the idea that there is some deep-seated Omega XL scam. There is no scam, it’s just not a magic bullet. Anyone who has been experiencing pain for a great while knows there is no magic bullet. Many claim that after a few days of taking Omega XL, they didn’t notice any difference in their joint pain or while it may have helped some, they still had pain. While that is unfortunate, Omega-3’s take longer than a few days to have an effect on your body. The inflammation causing you pain will not just vanish after your first dose of Omega XL. This may take a little while. Stick it out. You may need to use Omega XL longer than a few weeks to notice a significant difference, but after, the inflammation in your body will decrease, and it will make a difference.
Talk to your doctor before beginning any kind of long-term treatment. While Omega XL is safe, natural, and effective, you should still consult your physician about any kind of supplements you are taking, and that includes Omega XL. Consult your physician; your pain may likely be caused by inflammation and Omega XL can help.
1 Opioid Side Effects - https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/narcotic-pain-medications#2-5
2 Tricyclic Antidepressant Side Effects - https://www.rxlist.com/tricyclic_antidepressants_tcas/drugs-condition.htm
3 Side Effects of Neurontin - https://www.rxlist.com/neurontin-side-effects-drug-center.htm
4 Side Effects of NSAIDS - https://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/guide/anti-inflammatory-drugs#1
5 Allergic Reactions to Seafood Proteins - http://cdn.intechopen.com/pdfs/31774/InTech-Characterization_of_seafood_proteins_causing_allergic_diseases.pdf