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Nutrition & Natural Health - Health Street Wellness

Root Cause vs Symptom Control for PAIN

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ROOT CAUSE vs SYMPTOM CONTROL

by Rick Kohut

B. Ag., C.H.N.C.

Nutrition Consultant

Digestion Specialist

Holistic Organic Farmer

We all deal with physical pain from time to time. Many people experience different types of pain of either acute of chronic state. It is a natural human response. So what approach should we take when have it and how do we limit a strong response? Through my personal experience working with clients in pain, seeing first hand how overuse of medications can lead to abuse and even worse, and doing extensive research on my own I've developed a new respect and appreciation for pain. When there is pain I believe it is important that we first realize THREE THINGS in order to take appropriate actions;

  1. Pain is a natural language of the body. It is our body's way of communicating to our brain that something is either going wrong or something is healing and needs to be protected and respected. Pain can be either chronic (long lasting) or acute (immediate and short term). We must listen and respond accordingly. I like to think of my brain having a relationship with my body and when my body speaks with pain it deserves to be heard. If I choose to ignore it - it will just speak louder or eventually start yelling to get my attention because that is it's only way of communication with my brain. How can we expect to take appropriate actions if we aren't even listening to the messages from our body?
  2. Pain and Inflammation requires your support - not your neglect. The most common modern approach to pain is the medical approach, which is to immediately "control" pain or any discomfort with a medication designed to stop the pain sensation. Neglect is a blunt word, but that is exactly what we do when we take a medication for pain. Our body is asking for our help and awareness, but instead of helping with improved health, good nutrition and reducing stress - we just cover it up and ignore it as though nothing is happening. The problem with that approach is that it not only stops your body's communication with your brain to make you aware of what's going on, but it also stops or significantly inhibits the mere healing process!
  3. Nutrition is the LIKELY root cause. It is a fact that Canada's population is consuming more junk food, fast food and highly refined food than ever before. The amount of refined sugar consumed is higher than ever. Digestive problems related to improper eating habits such as IBS and Heartburn at a all time highs. It is also a fact that the number of people taking pain medications is higher than ever before and the number of people taking 4 or more prescription medications is at an all time high. Coincidence? A healthy body and a healthy lifestyle takes commitment and some positive changes. Although those changes may be difficult, they are a lot less costly than side-effects of medications, illness and dependence on medications.

The mistake many people make when it comes to PAIN is that they often think of it as a bad thing and immediately interpret it as something going WRONG instead of realizing that it may be something simply "healing" and going right (examples: healing after an injury or after strength training workout). Inflammation is an example of this misinterpretation. It is a natural process that delivers nutrients, blood flow and immune support to an area of the body that needs it to support healing. In the case of "HEALING" the pain should be a signal of respect which then should be reflected in your actions toward your body. Instead of changing some bad eating habits or lifestyle habits (the most common root causes) many people choose to keep doing the bad habits and just take a medication to cover up the "uncomfortable" symptoms (the communication from the body). The problem is that "controlling" symptoms is just like sweeping the dust under the rug and eventually it needs to be cleaned or else it will just eventually start getting everywhere regardless of where you step!

Pain medications that mask symptoms and suppress the immune response merely prevent the healing process from happening, which may lead to serious complications, more pain and consequently more medications that further suppress the process. Eventually the use of medications to CONTROL symptoms leads to dependence and it is more difficult to get off of them. This is why there are so many harmful side effects associated with medications for pain, inflammation and immune suppression.

It is a fact that the abuse of "PAIN MEDICATIONS" is an epidemic and that despite all the research dollars and tax dollars that go into pharmaceutical research the problem continues to escalate. Deaths due to the use of pain medications is sadly an epidemic. Why you ask? I think it's because of our perspective and misinterpretation of what pain is in the first place. Avoiding or "Controlling" the pain by means of medicating is just like ignoring our body's communication to us.

My suggestion is that when you are having pain of any kind that you respect it. Listen to it and address the most likely root causes first while supporting the healing process, the inflammatory process and the immune system with herbs and natural supplementation instead of inhibiting the process with the use of pharmaceutical medications whenever possible.

If your body is healthy it will recover quicker from painful situations of any source. Overall health in my opinion is about keeping your mindset positive, your hydration adequate, your nutrition balanced and your body strong. To manage pain from the ROOT CAUSE you may consider using the following tips and guidelines.

To support your body from the ROOT CAUSE perspective take these steps:

  • Use herbs and natural supplements to support a healthy immune response, which will help you heal quicker and reduce symptoms without side-effects.
  • Always work on improving DIGESTION. You only absorb nutrients from food that is properly digested. Your digestive health and your immune health is directly correlated. If your digestion is good - your immune health is good.
    • Consider using a digestive enzyme (Digest Best) with your meals
  • Drink more water and stay hydrated. I suggest 2-3 litres per day (between meals)
  • Drink less coffee and more herbal tea
  • Consume enough vegetables, greens and nutrients to fuel your immune system and give your body the tools to effectively regenerate tissues and cells after injury or illness
  • Don't eat junk food more than 3 times per week
    • refined sugar, candy, chips, desserts, etc.
  • Do a seasonal cleanse at least TWO times per year - Healthy Habits Cleanse Program
    • I suggest a Spring Cleanse and a Fall Cleanse

The information provided to not intended to replace medical advice. For information purposes only.

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