Chronic pain is pain that occurs for more than three months such as arthritis pain, persistent headaches, nerve pain and fibromyalgia affects more than 20% of Australian adults. Analgesic medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and prednisolone are linked with negative side affects such as gastric mucosa damage and impaired absorption of nutrients including vitamin B12, which in turn can exacerbate pain. Chronic pain can create depression and anxiety, sleep problems, inability to work, financial strain and decreased quality of life.
Pain stimuli are sensed by peripheral nociceptors, which transmit pain signals to the spinal cord and then onwards into the brain. Here, neurotransmitters are involved in pain processing including inhibitory neurotransmitters, glycine and gamma-aminobutyric acid. Also, the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate. Cytokines in the brain intensify pain. This may alter the re-uptake of glutamate, increasing pain signalling. Glutamate, plays a key role in central sensitisation. In response to sustained pain, increased amounts of glutamate are released in the spinal cord, resulting in activation of the NMDA receptor. This starts a cascade of intracellular signalling that amplifies the pain response.
Neuralgia, neuropathy and nerve compression can also intensify pain signalling. Pain that is felt as burning, hot or cold, ‘pins and needle,’ stinging, lancinating, sharp or shooting indicates injury or damage sustained by nerve tissue. Other factors that may exacerbate chronic pain include obesity, poor diet, lack of exercise and stress.
1. PainX [Magnesium, glycine & glutamine supplement]
Magnesium is an absolute must for patients with chronic pain. Magnesium deficiency has been associated with increased inflammation and pain perception. Magnesium blocks the NMDA receptor to reduce central sensitisation and the strength of pain. Magnesium is needed for painful periods, fibromyalgia, chronic headaches and migraines. Analgesic herbs such as corydalis, are invaluable in osteoarthritis of the knees.
Magnesium also supports sleep quality and healthy mood. PainX contains Magnesium bisglycinate [two glycine amino acids attached], Corydalis and Californian poppy for pain. PainX also includes glutamine which converts to glutamate which is needed to balance GABA in the brain to reduce pain sensitivity. Glycine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain and is needed along with glutamate for the NMDA receptors.
2. SPM Active 60 caps
SPM Active resolves the cycle of inflammation to stop pain. The primary function of inflammation is to eliminate the cause of cell injury, allowing for tissue repair. However, excessive or chronic inflammation is a leading cause of many diseases including chronic pain syndromes. Specialised pro-resolving mediators (SPMs), trigger the switch from pro-inflammatory macrophages to anti-inflammatory macrophages, thereby promoting resolution of inflammation and limiting tissue damage.
3. Bio Absorb PEA 42 VegeCaps
Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) provides anti-inflammatory, analgesic and neuroprotective actions and is particularly beneficial for neuropathic pain. For example with diabetic-induced peripheral neuropathy significant reduction in pain intensity, paraesthesia, burning and numbness is possible. Lumber sciatica pain also shows a significant improvement.
4. Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) 150g
GABA is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and plays a fundamental role in CNS function. Its principal role is reducing neuronal excitability throughout the Nervous system. GABA is synthesised from glutamate [derived from the amino acid glutamine] which acts as an excitatory neurotransmitter that counters the effects of GABA. When glutamate and GABA remain in homeostasis, balance is maintained between neuronal excitation and inhibition thereby supporting optimal brain function. However, insufficient GABA activity associated with chronic or severe stress decreases glutamate/GABA cycling and may induce neuronal hyperexcitation, predisposing individuals to stress and anxiety, depression, sleep dysregulation, epileptic seizures, chronic pain and other mood disorders.
5. Inflavanoid Sustained Care
Specialised turmeric and boswellia, in combination, have been found to significantly reduce pain and joint tenderness in patients with osteoarthritis.
6. Diet & Lifestyle
Weight loss is important for obese patients and has been found to significantly ameliorate pain.
Regular physical activity can also lessen pain and pain sensitivity in Chronic pain patients.
Consuming a wholefood diet and adding in omega 3 foods may reduce pain by up to 33%. Vegetarian, vegan, Mediterranean and calorie restriction diets. Diet modification significantly reduces pain in rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and general pain conditions.
Keeping fit can decrease chronic pain and hypersensitivity. Exercise training significantly lowered pain sensitivity in individuals with fibromyalgia and neck pain
Practicing self-compassion is very effective for enhancing pain acceptance and diminishing pain and anxiety in patients with chronic pain.