Everybody knows what pain is but no one really knows how to switch it off especially when it becomes persistent and annoying. Have we lost sight of the real pathophysiology that underlies the phenomenon of pain? Are we concentrating on the end point rather than the cause of the malady? Drugs and physical therapies don’t have all the answers to pain management. Is there another way? Maybe we should take a broader look at why the pain started in the first place and then we can work out the solution to the health challenge!
Key Terms in this Chapter
Codetron: Codetron has been classified as acupuncture-like TENS. The effect of this machine is equal to or better than electroacupuncture therapy.
Free Radical: A free radical is an atom or molecule that has an unpaired electron in the outer ring. An unpaired electron will also always mean that there is an odd number, since pairing of electrons goes by 2s. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules and cause damage to nearby cells, causing a cascade of chain reactions of free radical damage to other cells and tissues.
TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation).: TENS produces neuromodulation through the following pathways: (1) presynaptic inhibition in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord; (2) endogenous pain control (via endorphins, enkaphalins, and dynorphins); (3) direct inhibition of an abnormally excited nerves; and (4) restoration of afferent input. The results of laboratory studies suggest that electrical stimulation delivered by a TENS unit reduces pain through nociceptive inhibition at the presynaptic level in the dorsal horn, thus limiting its central transmission. The electrical stimuli on the skin preferentially activate low- threshold myelinated nerve fibers. The afferent input from these fibers inhibits propagation of nociception carried in the small unmyelinated C fibers by blocking transmission along these fibers to the target or T cells located in the Substantia Gelatinosa (laminae 2 and 3) of the dorsal horn.
Autoimmune Disease: Normally, the immune system protects us from disease and infection, but if our immune system turns around and mistakenly attacks ourselves, an autoimmune disease ensues. Autoimmune diseases can affect many parts of the body such as connective tissues, nerves, muscles, endocrine system, and digestive system.
Pygnogenol: Pygnogenol is the patented trade name for a water extract of the bark of the French maritime pine (Pinus pinaster ssp. atlantica). Pygnogenol contains oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) as well as several other Bioflavanoids: catechin, epicatechin, Phenolic fruit acids, and taxifolin. Procyanidins are oligomeric catechins found in red wine, grapes, cocoa, cranberries, and apples. Pygnogenol helps the integrity of the blood vessels, skin, and mental function, as well as being a potent antioxidant.
Nightshade Plants: Solanaceae (nightshade family) has been highly cultivated over the years and includes potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, sweet peppers, chili peppers (but not black pepper), tobacco, and petunias. Some plants have great medicinal value, and some are quite poisonous. The calyx and corolla are 5-lobed, and usually there are 5 stamens. The fruit is partitioned into 2 or 4 seed-producing divisions, and may be dry or a fleshy berry.
Inflammation: Inflammation is a basic way in which the body reacts to infection, irritation, or other injury, the key feature being redness, warmth, swelling, and pain.
Antioxidants: Antioxidants are chemical substances that donate an electron to the free radical and convert it to a harmless molecule.
LLLT or Low Level Laser Therapy (also known as Low Power Laser Therapy): LLLT is the application of red and near infrared light over injuries or lesions to improve wound/soft tissue healing and give relief for both acute and chronic pain, nonhealing wounds, post-op pain, and acupoint stimulation. First developed in 1967, it is now commonly referred to as LLLT. The red and near infrared light (600nm-1000nm) commonly used in LLLT can be produced by laser or high-intensity LED. The intensity of LLLT lasers and LEDs is not high like a surgical laser. There is no heating effect.
Xanthones: Xanthones are close cousins to the polyphenols family and have strong antioxidant effects on the nervous system. They are found in several botanical tonics, including St. John’s wort, gentian root nectar, and mangosteen. Current research on Xanthones suggests that they are beneficial in helping with many conditions, including allergies, infections (microbial, fungus, viral), cholesterol levels, inflammation, skin disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, and fatigue. Xanthones have also been found to support and enhance the body’s immune system and exhibit strong antioxidant activity, which is beneficial for neutralizing free radicals in the body.
Qi (pronounced “chee”): Qi is proposed to regulate a person’s spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical balance and to be influenced by the opposing forces of Yin (negative energy) and Yang (positive energy). Disease is proposed to result from the flow of Qi being disrupted and Yin and Yang becoming imbalanced.
Eicosanoid: Eicosanoid is a lipid mediator of inflammation derived from the 20-carbon atom arachidonic acid (20 in Greek is “eicosa”) or a similar fatty acid. The eicosanoids include the prostaglandins, prostacyclin, thromboxane, and leukotrienes.