A Naturopathic Doctors systematic approach to relieve pain and cure your pain by treating the whole person.
If you experience musculoskeletal pain to the point of needing help you are not alone. 315 million people per year visit a GP’s office with the complaint of musculoskeletal pain. ( J Am Board Fam Pract 2004;17:S32– 42.) According to the bone and joint decade initiative from the World Health Organization, this number is expected to drastically increase with the aging baby boomer population.
The typical treatment prescription for these complaints is a pain-killer, an anti-inflammatory, a muscle relaxant, or any combination of the previous. This may be appropriate for temporary relief but is not a viable sustainable option for the long run due to side-effects and complications with these drugs.
As with any condition, the wisest treatment protocol must begin with the root of the problem and then move forward towards temporary relief. Much of the musculoskeletal complaints can be due to structural issues from trauma or poor body mechanics according to our Naturopathic doctors. Chronic complaints that do not respond to structural correction need further treatment. An example of this is rheumatoid arthritis- an autoimmune condition.
For any immune mediated muscle and joint condition such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, scleroderma, etc, there is new research that pinpoints root causes of the condition.
5 main root causes of immune mediated musculoskeletal conditions
Recent research compiled by Dr. Alex Vasquez, points to 5 main root causes of these immune mediated musculoskeletal conditions. They are as following:
1. Proinflammatory diet and lifestyle
2. Multifocal Dysbiosis
3. Psychoemotional and physical stressors
4. Xenobiotic immunotoxicity
5. Hormonal imbalances
1. The proinflammatory diet consists of high refined sugars, oxidized fats and processed foods, food intolerances or allergens, high animal meats and low vegetable fiber. The proinflammatory lifestyle is sedentary with less than 10,000 steps per day, high on stimulants like coffee and soda, high alcohol consumption, and low social pleasure. The treatment goal would be to create the opposite of these in your diet and lifestyle.
2. Multifocal dysbiosis is a term relating to an imbalance in organisms throughout your body. This may show up in many ways as gas and bloating, nail or skin fungus, recurrent yeast infections, weakened immune system, or even as musculoskeletal pain. The treatment approach for this is to assess body burden through a thorough exam and consultation as well as perform testing through blood, stool, or other measures. Once you have the assessment done then the treatment can be created to address the specifics of which organisms your body needs to balance.
3. The psychoemotional and physical stressors need to be assessed to ascertain whether they are major or minor players in the condition. Psychoemotional and physical irritants will always be involved but need to be assessed to see if they are the result of the pain or the cause of the pain. These factors must not be overlooked in fibromyalgia and arthritis. Clinically we have seen the longterm psychoemotional stressors of life create proinflammatory mediators that eventually over time lead to a breakdown in an area of weakness.
4. Xenobiotic immunotoxicity is a term that describes the immune reaction to a chemical or substance that the body does not normally produce or that is in the body in more than normal healthy levels. Examples of this would be organochlorides from plastics and pesticides, or lead and mercury from various sources in our environment and lifestyles. These are called xenobiotics and cause the immune system to become toxic and initiate hypersensitive or autoimmune responses. The treatment is to assess and support your body’s ability to eliminate these xenobiotics.
5. Hormonal imbalances are the last category but not the least. Hormonal imbalances are correlated with a host of musculoskeletal conditions from frozen shoulder to low back pain and fibromyalgia to various forms of arthritis. The suspicion of hormone related conditions usually comes high when symptoms start with periods in life of hormonal shift such as menopause or high stress times. The treatment is to assess the hormonal picture, correct imbalances in the hormone axis, and support with appropriate hormone support if needed. This may look like herbal and nutrient hormone support or in more severe cases bioidentical hormone replacement.
If you have immune mediated joint paint, this research is showing that the breakthrough to healing could be in your diet, lifestyle, toxic exposures, and stressors. This is an approach that the Naturopathic doctors in our clinic in Vancouver have successfully used for years.