Science Says Diets Cannot Fight Chronic Pain

Fakir on bed of nails (1907), from Wikimedia
Fakir on bed of nails (1907), from Wikimedia

Updated: 01 Sept 2014

Pain. We all have it at some time. Headache, joint pain, back ache, muscle cramps, stomach ache. You name the organ, and we can feel pain there under different circumstances. Many solutions have been suggested for getting rid of the pain. Should we get rid of it totally? or are we missing the point of having pain at all? Most would agree that we have to treat chronic pain, or we could “go crazy.” It is more than just a nuisance for many. Is there a difference between chronic pain and acute pain? What can we do to alleviate pain?

First, definitions: chronic pain means that we feel pain, mild, moderate, or severe, for a long time, that if we do not treat it, it won’t go away–ever! Acute pain is short-lived pain, from mild to moderate, to severe, any level. We have expectations that it will go away, whether or not we treat it.  Most of us would deal with both kinds of pain by finding a way to get rid of it NOW! But should we?

Pain in the sinuses from eating ice cold foods, from Jayel Aheram at Wikimedia
Pain in the sinuses from eating ice cold foods, from Jayel Aheram at Wikimedia

Let’s look at why and how we feel pain. Pain in the head is different. Some of it we know exactly where it is, e. g. in the jaw, or tooth. Some of it we instantly “know” the cause, e.g. “ice cream pain”, or “brain freeze”. We know when some part of our body feels pain, but the only pain we become aware of in the brain is that associated with emotional trauma, or some generalized (mild to severe) pain in the brain part of the head. We cannot go into the doctor’s office complaining of pain in the basal ganglia. The most we can say is that it is on the left side, above the ear and deep (for instance). Many would even say that emotional pain is different, that it doesn’t involve pain receptors, because it is so non-specific in place.

Cortical areas involved with pain, from Borsook et al. 2007, at Wikimedia. See Dunckley et al (2007) for brainstem pain processing regions.
Cortical areas involved with pain, from Borsook et al. 2007, at Wikimedia. See Dunckley et al. (2005) for brainstem pain processing regions.

Borsook et al. (2007) reviewed where in the cortex pain was processed, while Dunckley, et al. (2005) studied areas in the brainstem where pain was processed. One can easily see that pain is not processed in only one area of the brain. When cortical and brainstem processing centers are considered together, we can also conclude that processing is hierarchical. Since it is involved in many programs in the brain, and its processing is so widely dispersed, one can conclude also that its detection is critical to many different functions programmed in the brain. Every vertebrate has many such centers where pain is critical for their functioning. It is a very primitive sense that seems to be at least avoided by even tiny microscopic organisms, as well.

So why do we have pain at all? Most have reasoned that pain is an important signal of danger and is often triggered before we get into serious trouble, so that we can avoid even worse damage that could kill us. That doesn’t argue against taking a pain pill for severe pain, does it? So why shouldn’t we take a pain pill every time we ever feel even the slightest pain, especially if it is only acute pain, expected to subside as we heal? I suspect that pain is important to the body for other reasons, reasons that we cannot afford to ignore if we want to heal completely from some physical trauma.

As pain neurons fire off at the site of damage, the brain’s higher centers process this as information, telling it where the damage is and how serious it is, to some degree. Any time tissue is damaged, there is local response by tissues present right at the same site. Most often some kind of chemical signal is sent by damaged cells, released into the interstitial fluid which can travel around the entire body outside the blood vascular system. However, much of this chemical gets taken up by blood and lymph capillaries to be sent via the blood vascular system to the brain, as well as all over the body in a parallel fluid flow.

Neutrophils migrate from blood vessel to place of damage or infection, from Wikimedia
Neutrophils migrate from blood vessel to place of damage or infection, from Wikimedia.

The inflammatory cycle is triggered, first by local cells which cause other cells there to release cytokines, which in turn, can travel in the interstitial fluids to trigger the activation of basophils in the monocyte-macrophage system that happen to be around. These cytokines also get into the blood vessels, which carry them all over the body. The cytokines travel to the brain, where the neuroimmune system is triggered to tell the spleen and bone marrow to produce and release neutrophils, in case of infection. When the blood vessels are involved, the entire body is involved.

Phases of Wound Healing, from Wikimedia
Phases of Wound Healing, from Wikimedia

However, we can also argue that when the brain gets involved, the entire body is involved, too, but in a much more specific fashion. Since the neuroimmune system gets triggered there, specific actions can be coordinated around the entire body, so that inflammatory chemicals cannot trigger the wrong thing elsewhere. It can also regulate other systems that could be described as ancillary to healing. There are infection-specific actions, but there are also construction-specific actions, those which promote the building of a scaffolding that keeps torn tissue together, and those which are responsible for the making of new tissue where needed.

If we keep a tiny bit of pain around, while we are healing, that serves as a constant signal to the brain that there is still some damaged tissue that needs its continuing attention. In the long run, it helps us, rather than hurts us. Realizing that can help us to tolerate pain better, especially if we can reasonably expect that we will heal and the pain will disappear completely when we are healed.

However, most of us have experienced some pain that keeps returning, from “war wounds,” old surgeries, and even some unexplained reason as we age. Then it helps to locate the very nerves that keep firing off. They might be triggering pain because they are irritated by metals that got under the skin from toxins. Or there may be some “body memory.” In the case of the latter, many would think, “oh, that’s all in the head.” Saying that does nothing to alleviate the pain, even if it is true. You can’t just tell yourself to stop feeling the pain because the tissue is not damaged anymore. This is where mind-body medicine techniques can step in and help the brain locate the problem. The continued pain might be physical pain that was associated with some emotional trauma. If the brain continues to associate these two things, you will still feel the physical pain whenever you remember, even for a fleeting second, the emotional trauma. I discuss how you can get at this using mind-body medicine techniques in MRT 1.0: Using MRT Muscle Reflex Testing.

The following sections discuss pain issues that have made it into the news.

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Chronic Pain and Diets

Comment on “Can Diets Fight Chronic Pain? The Science Isn’t There” on Morning Edition on 09 May 2011, where I discuss how scientific research hasn’t been very good at finding the causes of pain. Furthermore, surveys finding correlations between particular diets and pain relief have no controls to determine cause and effect.  I make the point that causes of pain are many, so if a person wants to control pain with diet, then there must be many different diets to do so. I also comment on another study on drug relief of pain.

Summary

PainNPR reporter Gretchen Cuda-Kroen consulted with Lisa Cimperman, a dietitian at University Hospitals in Cleveland, to find out if there is any scientific basis to the claims by various people to have found a diet that cures not only pain, but also serious disorders. She tells us that they all tend to promote omega-3 fatty acids over omega-6 fatty acids, but that the science just isn’t there yet, because the claims rest on results from a few studies with small sample size or poor controls.

We Have to Know More About the Pain

Scientists do not know what causes chronic pain, so they can hardly recommend a particular diet.  Pain itself is different to different people.  The origin of the pain is different, and depends upon which pain nerves are irritated (is it in muscle, bone, tendon, ligament, cartilage, in gut muscle or epithelium, kidney, liver, spleen, either gall or urinary bladder, heart, lung, blood vessel, throat, nose, eye, cheek, forehead, epidermis or deeper, teeth, tongue, ear, arm, leg, torso, uterus, prostate, testis, vagina, anus, urethra?).  We do not have the words we need to describe our pain thoroughly, as the Chinese do, so our doctors do not tend to have a nuanced view toward its treatment, as they should have.

Hip Joint (from http://www.yalemedicalgroup.org/stw/Page.asp?PageID=STW022695)
Hip Joint

There is no question that extra weight on already painful joints makes them more painful, at least chronically painful.  However, extra weight is not a cause of painful joints, since many people of correct or below-normal body weight have painful joints.  Furthermore, no random controlled experiment has taken people of normal weight with no painful joints, had them gain excessive weight, and then found them to suffer from painful joints.

Even the type of study proposed in this report as the model, a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study which pharmaceuticals use to test their drugs, is an experimental study, not done on people. The type of study proposed by Cimperman which “takes two groups of similar people, some eating normally, and others eating an anti-inflammatory diet, and compares the changes in their health over time” is not an experimental study (what was the placebo?, which was the control, and which the experimental group?).  Therefore even if it had produced significant differences, the investigators cannot claim that diet has any effect on health. If it shows any correlation between diet and state of health, it is just that, an association, not a cause or effect.

Just because exercise and losing weight helps reduce joint pain does not show that lack of exercise and excess body weight is a “cause” of joint pain. Removing the suspected “cause” and getting pain alleviation is not the only step that needs to be taken.  One has to apply the suspected “cause” to a person who has never had the symptoms before and show that they develop the symptoms as well.

There are multiple causes of pain, so if diet can ease pain, there must be multiple diets for this purpose. We already know that NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), aspirin and Tylenol treat pain differently.  Acetaminophen (Tylenol) acts on the brain where pain becomes conscious.  NSAIDs act on places in the body where inflammation is found.  Some of these treat muscle (Ibuprofen), others treat cartilage (Aleve), and aspirin blocks peripheral pain nerve synapses in joints and blood vessels. Since the chemistry of pain is varied, so the chemistry of diet must also be varied.  We know that chemistry of food is what our unconscious brains want, and the conscious brain then chooses from known foods that satisfy the chemical needs of the unconscious brain to make up our diet (see my comment on “Does Healthy Ice Cream Taste Good?” reported on Morning Edition 14 Mar 2011 and my extended comments on this report.

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Pain Relief Methods

Comment on “When It Comes To Pain Relief, One Size Doesn’t Fit All” reported on Morning Edition 26 Sept 2011 where I have additional comments on a survey of all pain relief medications to find which works best and in which combinations. I raise the issue that it is difficult to determine what works best if you never know the cause of the pain or its location in the body, down to the tissues and cells that are triggering the pain. I discuss the assumptions that doctors make which interfere with providing effective pain relief.

Summary

Prescription Drugs, by J. Troha, National Cancer Institute, at Wikimedia
Prescription Drugs, by J. Troha, National Cancer Institute, at Wikimedia

NPR reporter Patti Neighmond interviewed Biochemist Andrew Moore of Oxford University, UK, who headed up the survey of 350 different studies involving 38 different drug analyses (prescription and over-the-counter) for acute (not chronic) pain, given in single oral doses to more than 45,000 post-operative patients. Moore et al. (2011) wanted to find the best drug that worked for most people, but found instead that there was a great deal of variation in response to any one drug. What worked for one patient did not for another. However the team did find that combinations of drugs often worked best.

She also interviewed Dr. Perry Fine, a pain specialist at  the University of Utah Pain Management Center, and President of the American Academy of Pain Medicine. Dr. Fine thinks that genetics may explain the differences in response to medication, that trial and error will eventually lead to effective pain treatment and that it is best to examine past experiences with pain to determine the best relief combination for a particular patient.

My Comments on NPR

This study assumes that you do not need to know what causes the pain to get rid of it. Obviously, for some people, that appears to work, but I argue that this reasoning is worthless because it leaves it entirely up to chance whether you manage to get rid of the pain, even when you consider past responses by the patient. You cannot assume that if you have knee pain it is due to normal physiological responses by the body, e.g. the inflammatory cycle, since if they were normal they must be responding to something that isn’t normal. The word “autoimmune” has been overused–it just describes a process where the immune system appears to be attacking the body’s own cells. No cause is proposed by using the term, but implied is that something is wrong with the immune system, and not that something is wrong with the cells it is attacking. Results from standard lab tests may reveal nothing because they do not test for every possible cause. The word “idiopathic” describes an unknown cause better. I describe methods for finding the causes of pain, assumptions made by doctors, and how genetic differences do not cause different responses to pain medication at my blog post “Science Says Diets Cannot Fight Chronic Pain” at https://marthalhyde.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/science-says-diets-cannot-fight-chronic-pain/.

You Need To Know Exact Location of Pain

Genetic differences probably have little to do with pain, since no one has found genes that cause anything. No specific gene is associated with pain, even though there are people with certain genes that tend to feel more pain. They still have to work out what those genes do that is associated with why these people suffer more. All of the associations have to be worked out and most of the time researchers quit before doing this.

Synapse on Capillary, modified from Types of Synapses, from BuceGlaus at Wikimedia
Synapse on Capillary, modified from Types of Synapses, from BuceBlaus at Wikimedia

Most people assume that since pain is registered in a few sites in the conscious brain, then targeting those centers with drugs will get rid of the pain. Most drugs are aimed solely at these targets. Some are systemic and target all pain nerve endings everywhere. But, by using the end point of pain pathways, conscious realization, the doctor is only covering up the problem because he/she never addresses the cause. With systemic drugs, stopping pain transmission at the synapse doesn’t address the cause either. There is nothing to stop the problem from repeating in the future for the same reasons. However, using drugs ensures that money is spent on pain medication for a lifetime. There are thousands of dollars being spent on research to come up with the newest pain medication, since there are thousands of different pain situations that keep cropping up which do not respond to the existing drugs.

My Single-Hand Self-Testing Method
My Single-Hand Self-Testing Method for MRT

You have to figure out exact location of the pain (“Mind-Body Medicine and Joint Pain“), which tissue it is in, and that determines what works best to relieve pain, and you do not need drugs to get rid of pain. Mind-body medicine techniques, such as Muscle Reflex Testing [MRT, “MRT 1.0: Using MRT (Muscle Reflex Testing)“] can work. MRT can tell the physician/patient exactly where the pain is and even what causes it, as long as the doctor’s nervous system is trained in using it and asks the right questions.

Until a doctor finds out where the exact location of the pain was, he/she cannot say that everyone should respond the same way to a drug. Thus, their assumption that genetics determines the difference is very premature.  There were inadequate controls in the statements they make in this survey.  Did doctors take samples of hypodermal interstitial fluids from people with back pain? I doubt it. Pain will come from many places when a person has back pain, e.g. muscle, bone, tendon, ligament or cartilage–all have pain innervation and not all of these tissues will respond to one causal stimulus.

Once the patient starts to use mind-body medicine techniques, he/she learns over time how the pain is different in each tissue and often discovers where it is before even getting a muscle reflex response from MRT. Once the location of the pain is determined, then the method used to get rid of it can be very different. For example, if ligaments are the source of the pain, drugs will do nothing for it.  Acupuncture may help because the ligaments are derived from the same tissues as the dermis during embryonic development, and thus carry the same innervation from unmyelinated spinal nerves.

Gingko biloba from Wikipedia
Gingko biloba from Wikipedia

Herbs can be effective, too, (see my blog post on “Medicinal Herbs”) but differ in their effectiveness depending upon the origin of the pain. Skullcap works well on all nerves to all kinds of muscle. Astragalus + Prickly Pear Cactus stem work best on cartilage pain nerves. Suma works on bone pain, and White Willow on tendon and muscle pain. However, no doctor should just stop upon finding the exact location of the pain, even though the above herbs can help, because the only cure for the pain, and thus avoiding future pain there, is finding the cause of the pain. Microbial infections and toxins will probably explain most pain. Testing for the cause can be done by taking samples of hypodermal fluids, since both microbes and toxins can travel there, and are not always found in blood (see my comments on this problem at “Using MRT: Removing Toxins and Emotional Trauma” and “Mind-Body Medicine and Joint Pain“)

However, in all cases, the pain location and cause are tied in the brain with an emotional trauma, either very recently or in the past. If emotional trauma appears to be the only reason for the pain, and even when the pain is tied to the other causes, the body is remembering that trauma for some reason (“body memory” is made from the triggering of old nervous pathways that are associated with this emotional trauma). Figuring out the emotionally traumatic association often stops the pain immediately, regardless of the physical cause for the pain, since the brain can now “un-associate” the emotional trauma, removing lots of looping circuits, and allowing the brain to let local responses remove the pain. For more about the strong links between emotion and physiological processes see my post Emotional Representation in the Brain.

 

References

Moore, R. A., Derry, S., McQuay, H. J., & Wiffen, P. J. (2011). Single dose oral analgesics for acute postoperative pain in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews Issue 9. Art. No.: CD008659. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008659.pub2.

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Waves of electrical impulses in migraine, causing waves of pain, from Wikimedia.
Waves of electrical impulses in migraine, causing waves of pain, starting in the visual cortex, from Wikimedia.

Migraines: Is There a Gender Difference?

Comment on “Why Women Suffer More Migraines Than Men“, reported on Morning Edition for 16 April 2012 where I discuss that the gender difference may not be due to hormones at all but lifestyle. I feel that toxins can explain all symptoms and what some physicians are doing to treat migraines successfully.

 

Summary

NPR reporter Patti Neighmond explains how migraines are a wave of electrical activity that travels across the brain. Dr. Andrew Charles describes how the wave begins in the visual cortex (many see jagged lines or sparkling lights) and travels to other sensory areas of the brain. This explains why some patients feel “pins and needles”. Much like a stroke, migraines can also affect speech, causing it to sound garbled. Some believe that environment can trigger them. Other explanations have included genetics. However, female sex hormones seem to be a giant trigger, since women are more likely to have migraines than men. Boys have more than girls before puberty. Most researchers think estrogen is the main trigger.

There are a variety of treatments available, but about 50% say the treatment is not effective.  Furthermore, Dr. Charles points out that having migraines makes you more vulnerable to having more of them.

Comment on NPR

I suggest that women suffer more migraines than men because they wear makeup. Men generally do not. In fact women swallow more than 60 lb of lipstick per year (I heard that statistic on the CBS TV show, The Doctors). Note very few men complain of cellulite. Lipstick and other makeup contain many toxic chemicals. However, those toxins are not recognized as toxic by the FDA because the researchers did not test interstitial fluids in the body for these chemicals, or the chemical elements that the toxins break down to. Metals can interfere with nerve signals (see “Toxins” ). More than likely that is what is causing migraines. See my blog post on “Science Says Diets Cannot Fight Chronic Pain” at https://marthalhyde.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/science-says-diets-cannot-fight-chronic-pain/ for more of my comments on this report, including how physicians who suspect toxins as a cause successfully treat their patients.

The Role of Toxins

Conditions which often accompany migraine headaches, from 7mike5000 at Wikimedia
Conditions which often accompany migraine headaches, from 7mike5000 at Wikimedia

All of the symptoms mentioned in the report are exactly the same as those you have when toxins spread under the skin and deeper, as well as when hypodermal fluids containing toxins back-flow into the braincase and do damage to nerves first, sometimes also penetrating meninges to the brain. The wave of electrical activity associated with the migraine may actually be propagated along the blood vessels supplying the areas of the brain mentioned in the report, and not strictly along neuronal pathways as implied. Even more important, many of the conditions which tend to accompany migraines (some but not all) could be caused by toxins traveling under the skin and doing damage to hypodermal organs/tissues. Since the tissue linking the skin to underlying organs, loose connective tissue, is continuous with that linking epithelia everywhere with underlying tissues, the interstitial fluid traveling in the hypodermis also travels within all organs and underneath the gut mucosa and tubes everywhere.

People keep raising hormones as a reason for gender differences in syndromes. However, we have no reason to believe that hormones cause migraines. Estrogen can be implicated in the behavior of a migraine simply because it affects blood flow which then affects interstitial fluid flow–thus the monthly association with migraines. Frequency of attack will be associated with brain damage simply because an increase in exposure to, or flow of toxins in the body, will cause an increase in frequency in attacks ALONG WITH brain damage.

The most successful methods for treating migraines have included removal or reduced exposure to toxins. The patient starts with an extremely restricted diet, never eating anything that is processed, but only from scratch. No candy bars. Popcorn popped in a popper is allowed, but not a bag bought from the grocery store. Certain foods are completely removed from the diet, e.g. fruits, nuts, onions, tomatoes, all spices and vinegar except for salt and sugar, any foods known to cause allergies. The patient is reduced to items like organic rice, lettuce, fresh organic fish, and no meat at all–a rather bland diet. Then, one by one, the excluded foods are added to the diet to see which food is associated with the migraines, on a weekly schedule (long wait times here). Environment is critical, too–no perfumes, no makeup, room fresheners, even no laundry detergent but only soap like Ivory Snow (with no chemical additives), no synthetic fibers in clothing. The patient must not be in contact with people who wear these as well, so life becomes extremely limited in the early stages of treatment.

Dr. Nambudripad writes about this in her books and at her website when she suffered enormous allergies, being reduced to a diet of rice and broccoli. This is when she discovered that there were mind-body medicine techniques that helped her get rid of her allergies. She developed NAET (Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique) for this purpose, which has also helped many patients with migraines.

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Neuromodulation as a Method of Treatment

Comment on “Many Migraines Can Be Prevented With Treatments, But Few People Use Them
where I talk about how toxins are probably involved with causing migraines and why the treatments that are proposed so far do not cure.

Summary

NPR reporter Patti Neighmond interviews Dr. Charles Flippen, a neurologist and researcher at UCLA, who talks about how migraines can be prevented. A recent study reported that only 3-13% of sufferers get treatment. The report mentions many of the guidelines recently posted at the American Academy of Neurology. All of the treatments seem to be drugs: beta blockers, anti-seizure drugs (even if you don’t have seizures), Botox injections, antidepressants, triptans (for the pain, nausea and sensitivity to light and sound), anti-inflammatories and mild sedatives. Triptans are new and very effective, unless you have heart disease or diabetes. Dr. Andrew Charles of UCLA also speaks of a new treatment, as yet not ready for prescription, called Neuromodulation. It involves blocking pain by stimulating peripheral nerves.

My Comments at NPR

Both heart disease and diabetes may be caused by toxins. Migraines may also be caused by toxins, since we know that they appear when blood vessels to the brain change in diameter, they may result from a toxin interfering with the nerve signals to the blood vessels, or irritate the pain nerves that innervate the large vessels of the head, e.g. the internal carotid artery. People with a lot of toxins causing damage may not respond to the medications the doctor prescribes because there is too much damage. Those that do respond probably have less toxin or different toxins in them. See my comments on migraines at “Science Says Diets Cannot Fight Chronic Pain” at https://marthalhyde.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/science-says-diets-cannot-fight-chronic-pain/

Follow the Entire Path

Triptans target serotonin receptors, and many antidepressants target serotonin channels on nerve cell membranes. The neurons that carry these are involved with the last step in a series of neurons in a circuit. This last step measures satiety, or that a particular pathway has been successfully executed. Much of this pathway is completely unconscious, as are many satiety centers in the brain. The center that doctors are targeting with antidepressants and triptans (in the hypothalamus) is one that feeds directly into the conscious brain. Thus, when it measures satiety, we are more likely to feel “satisfied”, either full after a meal, or just woke up from a good sleep, or just had an orgasm, or some other emotionally satisfying circumstance. We have to remember that this hypothalamic center is just the tail end of a series of satiety centers which send signals to it, so medications targeting it may completely miss the real problem–this is why there is such variability in response to these medications.

The problem with all the solutions that have been proposed is that they just cover up the cause. Even the low-level electrical stimulation (neuromodulation) can be considered a cover up. This stimulation just activates non-pain nerves to inundate the brain with other sensations so that pain “gets lost”.

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Obesity and the Pain of Arthritis

Comment on “Obesity Stokes Rheumatoid Arthritis With More Than Just Extra Weight” reported on NPR’s Morning Edition 25 June 2012 where I comment on how toxins can easily explain the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and why women are more likely to have rheumatoid arthritis than men.

Summary

NPR Gretchen Cuda-Kroen interviews Dr. Eric Matteson, a researcher at the Mayo Clinic, who with other colleagues studied obesity and the incidence of rheumatoid arthritis. They found that 25% more of their obese subjects than non-obese individuals developed rheumatoid arthritis. They developed a theory that the added weight of obesity isn’t causing the disorder, but that fat cells may be increasing the inflammation associated with arthritis. They suggest that the greater amount of estrogen in fat cells of women may also be an important factor, since women are more likely than men to develop rheumatoid arthritis. However studies on people getting hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives haven’t pointed to estrogen as being inflammatory.

The report mentions that obesity rates have risen in the past few years, as well as rates of rheumatoid arthritis, but drugs that work on rheumatoid arthritis don’t work very well in obese patients. Matteson thinks that losing weight appears to help reduce the symptoms for two reasons: less stress on the joints, and the drugs work better. Finally, smoking seems to greatly increase the chances of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

My Comments at NPR

Cuda-Kroen says “…being obese increases your risk (for getting rheumatoid arthritis), would losing weight help?”, which is not exactly what the research shows, since there was no experimental test for obesity as a cause of rheumatoid arthritis.  The wording should have been “if rheumatoid arthritis is more common in obese people, what association is there with obese people who have lost that weight?” (a question not answered in any experimental study so far, although many anecdotal observations suggest that the answer is yes).

Because women are more likely than men to develop rheumatoid arthritis, people seem to assume that sex hormones must be involved. No doubt hormones are involved at one level (such as those from fat cells), but these researchers seem to forget that men and women live very different lifestyles. Women tend to wear makeup and men, in general, do not. We already know that makeup has a lot of toxins in it, like parabens, aluminum, cadmium, lead, petroleum products. Supposedly a woman who wears lipstick swallows about a pound of it over a lifetime. These toxins accumulate, since the body doesn’t know how to get rid of many of them. See my blog post “Science Says Diets Cannot Fight Chronic Pain” at https://marthalhyde.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/science-says-diets-cannot-fight-chronic-pain/ for my reasons why I say toxins are to blame.

Inflammation is Homeopathic

Joints are hypodermal structures (“What is the Hypodermis?“) and thus are constantly bombarded by the toxins that get dumped into the body’s interstitial fluids. Calling this disorder “autoimmune” is just short for “I don’t know what is causing it”. The immune system is probably attacking damaged cells under the assumption that the toxins present are being released by bacteria, and not our body’s cells. The cells can get filled with toxins when the membrane transport system fails, just as happens when it is exposed to toxins. Inflammation is a normal part of the immune response because it triggers a larger response than that which occurs in low level pain. Inflammation, therefore, acts like homeopathic drugs because both call out the “shock troops”. We have to stop looking at inflammation as the cause of problems, when it is supposed to be a solution. When the solution doesn’t work, we have to ask why our immune cells are not doing what we think they are supposed to do. They may be doing everything they are asked to do, just not the right thing because we haven’t a clue what the right thing to do is. The answer may lie in getting rid of toxins inside of us.

Proposing that something that fat cells do is implicated in causing inflammation is a novel idea. However, the explanation given in this report is pretty thin. Fat cells release a variety of hormones, but they do not make sex hormones–they only collect them. I strongly suspect that going down the path of estrogen will not lead them to any solution.

Fat cells do another thing that is more likely associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Many toxins are strongly attracted to fat cells. When you lose a lot of weight, you tend to release a lot of toxins into the body’s interstitial fluids which can cause harm if you do not eat the right way and limit activity to get them out of the body. Those who eat a lot of fresh fruit and veges are more likely to be able to get rid of the toxins than those who only exercise. Thus, there will be many who lose the weight and the inflammation as well, but just as many who do not get much respite by losing weight.

Both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis may be caused by toxins, just different toxins. The ones causing rheumatoid arthritis may be targeting nerves and damaging them, sensitizing pain nerves to cause them to constantly fire even when they should not. The toxins causing osteoarthritis may be attacking bone and cartilage directly, and not damaging nerves. Both toxins cause pain when they pool in the joint because both could irritate pain nerves. Exercise causes calcium and phosphate to stream in the hypodermis and throughout all “channels” in between organs and cells. Calcium and phosphate may be grabbing some toxins and carrying them away from the joint. As stated above, different toxins do different things. This may explain why exercise seems to help osteoarthritis patients feel better, but not rheumatoid arthritis sufferers.

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References

Borsook, D., Moulton, E. A., Schmidt, K. F., & Becerra, L. R. (2007). Neuroimaging revolutionizes therapeutic approaches to chronic pain. Molecular Pain, 3(25), 1-8. [Open Access].

Dunckley, P., Wise, R. G., Fairhurst, M., Hobden, P., Aziz, Q., Chang,, L. & Tracey, I. (2005). A comparison of visceral and somatic pain processing in the human brainstem using functional magnetic resonance imaging. The Journal of Neuroscience, 25(32), 7333-7341. [Freely Available].

© Copyright 2014 by Martha L. Hyde and https://marthalhyde.wordpress.com.

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