Causes of chronic pain
Chronic pain can be due to a variety of causes. If we treat the pain, but not the underlying cause, the pain will return. The cause is then referred to as a perpetuating factor.
In the process of treating people for chronic myofascial pain syndrome, I often have to address their perpetuating factors. In other words, if I don't eliminate the primary cause of their pain, even though I may have completely stopped the pain they came into the clinic with, the results wont be permanent and the pain will return.
There are many perpetuating factors. They can be postural, for example a leg length difference can cause no end of low back pain. They can be viral, or parasitic. These can usually be determined by medical testing. But one of the most common and persistent is:
Food allergies: Yes food allergies are very common in migraine cases, but a food allergy can cause muscle pain anywhere in the body.
Let me tell you my story. For years I suffered with a low level of arthritis, at least that's what I thought it was. Then one day by way of an experiment I eliminated all cereal grains from my diet, and within a week all my joint pain had gone.
I could hardly believe it, after all here I was almost sixty and no arthritis. But isn't arthritis a disease we get as we age. Well apparently not! So I started to reintroduce the grains one at a time, and when I got to wheat back came my pain with a vengeance.
Because I loved bread, and pasta, and sweet buns, I didn't want wheat to be the cause of my problem, so I tried the elimination diet again and again over the following six months and each time I reintroduced wheat to my diet, back came the pain.
Being a diehard experimenter I reasoned that, if it was an allergy and not a food sensitivity, that the immune system must be involved, and so probably excess histamine was being produced. I know from medical literature that histamine is a nerve irritant so it could be part of the problem. I tried taking an anti-histamine and then eating a bun, and what do you know, it worked: no pain!
Of course I couldn't spend the rest of my life dosed up to the eyebrows on anti-histamine who knows what damage to my health that could do, still it gave me a quick fix should I accidentally consume a tiny amount of wheat.
For instance when eating out at a restaurant I would ask the waiter to find out what the gravy was thickened with, and nine times out of ten they would say "cornflour" and I would "ask what brand, did you know some cornflour is actually wheaten flour?" Next thing the chef would be at my table wanting to know what I was on about.
I would carefully explain that I was allergic to all wheat products and that some brands of cornflour (for example Nurses brand) is in reality wheaten flour. Whereas White Wings cornflower is really made from corn. You could see from the look on the chef's face that he didn't really know that. So should I accidentally get some wheat into my system , I could tell because I could feel the target muscles in my neck starting to tighten, I would pop an anti-histamine tablet and stop any further reaction.
I did not eat wheat products for several years now, and no arthritis. I did mistakenly try about 20ml of wheat grass juice once, and wow within half an hour my muscles were so stiff I could hardly move! Oh well, we live and learn.
More recently, I have been able to control my wheat allergy using EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) - I can now eat wheat products, like bread and pasta, in moderation, without the return of arthritis symptoms!
I've been going on about wheat, but it is only one of the most common food allergens, some others are sugar, dairy and eggs, and frequently with eggs goes chicken.
Of course a person can be allergic to almost any food as well as the multiplicity of additives so frequently added to processed foods, so testing is essential.
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About Gary Clark
Gary Clark is a massage therapist and EFT practitioner in Perth, Western Australia. Gary founded Pain Busters Clinic in 2002, where he helps people with a variety of pain problems, including fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome.