In this newsletter the discussion is mostly around inflammation, its cause and resolution plus dietary blueberries.Then I talk about massage and how it can treat pain short term and the latest mantra around exercise and pain management. All very important topics in managing pain.
Blueberries to soothe arthritic joints
Osteoarthritis of the joints particularly the knees, hips and back is a very debilitating condition. In this recent American study on the trialling of blueberry powder on knee joint pain the following results were obtained:
Patients were given 40g/day of blueberry powder equivalent to 2 punnets a day, or no blueberry powder. After 4 months results showed that the blueberry group experienced increased walking pace, less pain and stiffness, and increased function compared to no blueberry powder.
If the blueberry powder is not available in Australia, two punnets of blueberries per day for 4 months is rather a big ask! Frozen blueberries would be the most economical option.
It is worth a test run as blueberries contain flavonoids, very powerful anti inflammatory anti oxidants.
Inflammation - the root cause and its resolution
Back onto the subject of inflammation and its effects on qualityof life:
So what are the common triggers, from most common to least common?
Micronutrient deficiencies such as Vit D3, fish oils and magnesium
Macronutrient excess such as too much saturated fat and/or sugars in the diet.
Weight loss is a powerful anti inflammatory!
Underactive thyroid, gut dysfunction
Illness from water damage,or Mast cell activation
Stealth infections e.g. from ticks, mosquitoes or overseas travel.
Electronic hypersensitivity syndrome - from mobile phone use, Wi-Fi, LCD screens
Environmental toxicity - occupational exposure, heavy metals, pesticides etc
Levels 1 and 2 are lifestyle changes which can be implemented. All data suggests implementing a low saturated fat or sugar diet , ensuring adequate EPA/DHA intake, vit D3 and magnesium ,plus a vegetable rich diet. It is known that gut dysfunction can drive diseases such as chronic inflammation.
In level 3 it has been tested that 24% of the population are genetically susceptible to environmental toxins. Couple this with the fact that almost half of Australian homes and offices are susceptible to water damage, then you can see that water pollution may cause inflammation in our bodies to a certain degree.
In level 4 not using a mobile phone, LCD screens etc for 1-2 months is the way to go! Mind you it would be quite a task to avoid using electronic equipment! But if it cures the inflammation it is worth the effort. There are devices to protect you from electro magnetic radiation (EMR).
Resolution is various tests plus use of supplements/herbal medicine as well as the lifestyle measures mentioned above.
Massage and movement for musculoskeletal pain
Although there is good evidence that massage provides short term pain relief but not a long term cure we still do not really know how it works.
Evidence suggests it could be the relaxation response from massage that loosens up the whole body. As was shown in a study on osteoarthitis of the knee where a whole body masssage of 60 minutes gave short term pain relief of the knee! It was not just a knee rub.
Through research again, greater pain relief was obtained in post operative patients, when they were massaged by a professional therapist with a treatment based on what the patient wanted versus a massage given by a nurse to a strict protocol.
An unproven theory is that massage works primarily on the nervous system, rather than directly on muscles. A message gets sent to the brain from the skin and then the muscles are relaxed. Orthobionomy that I use and some stretch methods claim to work in this way. In my view I think massage works in this manner with a sympathetic massage therapist.
This is well documented but I will say it again' Physical activity and exercise decrease the severity of pain, improve physical function, helps psychological function and quality of life with the only adverse effects being temporary muscle soreness'. Many people fear that exercise will increase their pain, but in the long term it will help you to get better and stronger.
Quote of the Quarter
God give us rain when we expect sun
Give us music when we expect trouble
Give us tears when we expect breakfast
Give us dreams when we expoect a storm
Give us a stray dog when we expect congratulations
God play with us, turn us sideways
'A common prayer' - Leunig
Wishing you a pleasant Autumn devoid of bush fires and storms and a very happy Easter whatever you do.
Massage Therapist and herbalist
02 9436 0306