When you come into the clinic to see your practitioner for your “tune up”, as many of you like to call it, do you feel like we are just chasing your pain? Do you feel like you just can’t get on top of it? Are you confused when you do minimal exercise but the next day feel like you’ve gone ten rounds in the ring with Anthony Mundine? Perhaps there’s more to your symptoms than just the physical muscular responses you’re experiencing. Learning about how your gut can affect your chronic pain is something we need to place WAY more importance on and here is why…
Ongoing inflammation cannot be solved solely by physical therapy - apologies if anyone has led you to believe otherwise. Inflammation is systemic and more often than not stems from the digestive system. So naturally, one could assume that to begin the healing process, we should start there; address the cause, not the symptoms.
Most people know the difference between acute pain, the general muscle soreness following physical exertion, and chronic pain, the ongoing, unrelenting, unexplainable muscle aches and discomfort that has continued for some time - it doesn’t go away with rest and moves from area to area in the body. So why are you struggling with this constant pain in the butt? (Literally). Systemic inflammation from poor digestion may be the cause.
Breaking it down simply; there is only a thin barrier between your digestive tract wall and the rest of your body. This tract usually allows for nutrients to pass through to your tissues to nourish you, but if for some reason this layer of cells becomes porous and breaks down, it allows “leakage” of toxins, undigested food practicals and bacteria into your internal environment. Naturally, these things are not meant to be there, so your body does was it’s meant to, and begins to attack; hello inflammatory process! This inflammation can then travel to other sections of the body, and yes, you guessed it, this includes skeletal muscle (that New Zealand Pinot Noir at last night’s dinner party though delicious, may have just contributed to your stiffness and swelling this morning). And then it pretty much becomes a vicious cycle - more leakage, more inflammation, more musculoskeletal discomfort; cue the cry for your physiotherapist or osteopath to fix you.
Truth is, we can’t do it alone. This is where nutrition and naturopathy come in. By looking at your body as a whole, particularly assessing your dietary habits and investigating contributing stressors to your systemic functions, only then can we hope to bring your pain free dream to fruition. Simple changes in diet and behaviour can make a monumental difference to your everyday life.
If any of the above rings true with you, and you wish to know more, have a chat with your GP or your allied health practitioner - they’ll be sure to point you in the right direction.