Part 2: Chemical Pain
Chronic pain and suffering often have multiple causes and factors that can make them difficult to undo. It can be frustrating if there isn’t a simple answer to a question such as, “Why do I still have recurring back pain even though I get adjusted?”
Part 1 covered physical pain—pain due to injury or repetitive stress to the muscles, joints, and bones. These are the most straightforward types of chronic pain and respond readily to chiropractic care. Chiropractic adjustments restore structural alignment, and lifestyle habits such as mobility, exercises, and stretches help maintain that alignment. As structural integrity is restored, there is no further injury to the musculoskeletal system and pain decreases.
Sometimes pain is chemical in origin and that is why instability and pain may continue even as the joints are being realigned. The pain may be in the musculoskeletal system, but more commonly elsewhere in the digestive, immune, endocrine, cardiovascular, and nervous systems. The pain may also present in a location outside the injured organ. This is called referred pain.
Earlier signs of chemical toxicity are discomfort, sluggishness, and increased sensitivity and dysfunction. This could manifest as food sensitivities; poor absorption of nutrients; hormonal swings; heart palpitations; shallow breathing; increased susceptibility to colds; eczema; headaches and dizziness; irritability; fatigue; and menstrual cramps.
Chemical pain is a result of chemical poisoning, either from a large dose at one time or smaller repeated doses over a prolonged period of time. There are many sources of chemicals in the air, water, and food, many of which are unavoidable, such as unlabelled GMO foods, pesticide run-off in our water supply, and air pollution. In addition, we can also be exposed to chemicals in medications, cleansers, and environmental toxins such as radiation and off-gassing of man-made products (i.e. glues, paints, foam pillows).
Some toxins are avoidable and avoiding them can make a huge difference in the overall toxicity of your body. Your “toxic load” is the amount of toxins in your body at any given time. The “toxin morbidity threshold” is how much your body can handle before an organ becomes diseased. The “toxin mortality threshold” is the amount of toxin it takes to kill you. Thresholds vary from person to person depending on how healthy you are—how quickly and completely you can deactivate and expel the toxins and how quickly and completely you can heal from the poisoning.
Reducing Your Toxic Load
To reduce your toxic load, you must lessen your exposure to and ingestion of chemicals or radiation, and improve your body’s ability to neutralize and expel the chemicals. To reduce air pollution, use air filters, add air purifying plants, and avoid airborne allergens if possible (clean your home routinely to get rid of dust mites).
Choose organic foods whenever possible, choose natural foods over processed foods, and avoid “anti-foods”—so-called foods have practically no nutritional value and cause harm to the body. They include diet pop, candy, Gatorade, sugary breakfast cereals, fake sugars (aspartame, Splenda), fake fats (margarine, shortening), and artificial flavourings artificial colourings.
Other causes of chemicals that can leach into us are BPAs in plastics, non-stick cookware, hairsprays, phthalates and parabens in lotions, fluoride in toothpaste (fluoride is a toxin), flame-retardants in pajamas and upholstery, plastics in general, and medications.
Reducing the toxic load also includes neutralising and eliminating toxins from the body. A healthy nervous system is absolutely essential in this task. Excess chemicals can overwhelm the nervous system and the body responds by going into subluxation. At this point, like a blown fuse, nerve impulses shut down to prevent overload to the end organ. Chiropractic adjustments reverse the subluxation to allow for healing of the nerves and body.
The next step in recovering from chronic chemical pain and suffering is the actual elimination of noxious chemicals. The gentlest way to rid your body of toxins is to drink lots of water and get rest, mild exercise, and heat. Epsom salt baths, saunas, cleanses, and detoxification diets can speed up the process. For a thorough cleanse of the bowels, colonic irrigation can be considered.
Dramatic detoxification can be very uncomfortable. Proceed gradually at first and with professional supervision if your case is serious, if you’re having bad reactions, or you’re considering sensitive procedures like chelation therapy.
Finally, the process of detoxifying and healing from chemical pain can take time and you’ll need to support the new you. With a lesser toxic load, your body won’t punish you as badly if you eat a cracker with gluten or use someone else’s lotion. That being said, it’s good to continue with less exposure to chemicals, good food choices, a clean environment, and regular chiropractic check-ups to ensure optimal nerve health for healing and body functioning.
Part 3 will deal with chronic pain and suffering from emotional causes.
Dr. Sabrina Chen-See is a pediatric and family wellness chiropractor based in Vancouver. She is a firm believer in making positive contributions to society, and regularly volunteers her time and chiropractic skills for community and charitable events. Website: www.DrChenSee.com. Phone: (604) 566 9088.