I was delighted to be invited to give a talk about Pain management with Nutrition in November at the Hove Stressbusters monthly meeting.
Here is the report by Jelena Goranovich
Nutritional Therapy for Natural Pain Management
Period pains, stomach cramps, back ache, headache, tooth ache, joints ache, stiff muscles – pain can be a mild discomfort or excruciating and debilitating. But what does pain tell us about our body, where does it come from and how can WE make it go away?
As a qualified Functional Nutritional Therapist, Millie Ferguson is passionate about teaching people how to restore balance and support their body in dealing with the everyday stressful challenges that are an inevitable part of the modern life. She started her talk by reviewing the destructive role that internal and external stress plays in creating chronic pain.
Of course, like all chronic conditions, pain is not immediately life-threatening. A mild discomfort is simply the body’s gentle signal to alert us that it is struggling – Help, do something! However, when left untreated, the effect that triggers pain can be deepening and damaging.
Since we are all different, the same pain may have different causes in different individuals – a view which is very much in line with other traditional medicinal approaches such as Acupuncture and Ayurveda, but in stark contrast with the symptom-focused Western medicine. Fortunately, mainstream medicine is finally beginning to acknowledge the fact that a more holistic approach to health is needed (nutritional support in particular) as more evidence is starting to emerge regarding the effect of nutrients on cellular metabolism.
While pain-killers are usually the drug of choice for any form of pain, they don’t always work and may also have a negative impact on health if taken long-term. Millie warned that pain-killers do not address the cause and offered evidence why it is necessary to take responsibility for our health. Natural Functional Nutrition is a holistic therapy that looks at the effect of external imbalances on the internal processes at cell level. By tracing the causes of these changes and using different nutrients and supplements to address them, therapy helps restore the balance of different cellular and physiological functions that are at the root of various pains.
After this introduction to the functional health model, we worked in pairs, discussing the different types of pain each of us might suffer from occasionally or chronically, and the probable underlying causes. Millie helped us to figure out the causes and demonstrated the process that is applied to identify the source of pain.
In the final part of her talk, Millie presented a wide range of vitamins, supplements, medication and foods that have been proved useful for short term immediate pain-relief and to avoid disastrous long-term health consequences if the underlying cause of pain is left untreated. The key nutrients we need when suffering with pain include: Magnesium (muscle), Gingko biloba (capillary), Rutin, Horse chestnut (veins), Collagen, Glucosamine/ Chondroitin (arthritis), probiotics, L-Glutamine (digestion), Omega3 (any pain), and many others, such as chromium, cinnamon, licorice, Siberian Ginseng, Cat’s Claw, Frankincense and Epsom Salts.
Unlike pain-killers, nutritional therapy intervention is non-invasive and unlikely to cause side effects. However, limited knowledge can sometimes be as dangerous as doing nothing, which is why it’s important to seek professional help to trace one’s own individual pain triggers, antecedents and mediators, and recommend appropriate diet or supplements. We were fortunate enough to receive lots of practical tips and personalised recommendations from Millie during the event, but that’s only a start. Only by making an honest and consistent effort to improve our diet and lifestyle, can we hope to achieve long-term health benefits and pain management.