Taking Great Pains to Cope with Pain

    TORONTO, May 27 /CNW/ - It's an invisible, non-contagious, demon that
creeps and creaks in a high percentage of the population at any moment. In
small amounts, it can impinge on your abilities to carry out daily activities,
but in chronic states, it can spiral into an all consuming battle escalating
with the tiniest breath or movement. It's called - musculoskeletal pain.
    Musculoskeletal pain has become a costly, swelling plague in current
times. Ten years ago, it was rated in Canada as the third, most expensive
condition in expended health-care costs, shadowed only by heart disease and
cancer. (The economic cost of musculoskeletal disorders in Canada, Arthritis
Care & Research 1998, 11:315-25.) And, as a large segment of our population
increases in age, another in exercise-related and other injuries, and an
additional segment grows in girth and size, the incidence of arthritis and
other musculoskeletal disorders will continue to escalate as well.
    Often, but not always, inflammation and musculoskeletal pain go hand in
hand. The pain itself is not a disorder, but rather a main symptom of an
inflammatory disease due to the presence of pain-sensitive nerves. Joint and
muscle pain may be caused by degenerative diseases such as arthritis.
Arthritis is a general term that describes inflammation in a joint. Many types
of arthritis including rheumatoid, gout, tendonitis and bursitis are the
result of a misdirected inflammatory response. These autoimmune diseases
inappropriately trigger the body's immune system causing damage to its own
tissue. Musculoskeletal disorders, involving the nerves, tendons and muscles,
and supporting structures, can differ in severity from mild periodic symptoms
to severe, debilitating conditions.
    Analgesics and anti-inflammatories tend to be the most commonly used
conventional pain management drugs. They offer a fast-acting mode of treatment
when pain is intense and are useful in times of immediate relief.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reduce pain and inflammation by
inhibiting both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes which are involved in the inflammation
process. Long-term and constant use of these NSAIDs and other COX inhibitors
can lead to serious adverse effects, including gastrointestinal problems,
internal bleeding, liver and kidney disorders, and cardiovascular imbalances.
    There are a number of interrelated factors that cause musculoskeletal
pain and inflammation; consequently, there is no one simple, targeted
solution. Traditional medicine understands that pain and disease are
influenced by various factors, including dietary choices, lifestyle habits,
emotional status, physical trauma, and environmental agents. To effectively
manage pain, each of these factors should be explored and addressed for
greatest efficacy. And, as more pain sufferers try to cope with pain in a
knowledgeable manner, complementary therapies offer additional pathways to
increase the chances of effective pain and inflammation management.
    For instance, a number of natural compounds exhibit potent
anti-inflammatory actions without the harmful side effects of their synthetic
counterparts, and can be effective adjuncts to pain management. Included in
this list is curcumin, an extract found in turmeric. Scientific studies have
confirmed that curcumin has the widest range of anti-inflammatory activity of
any known natural substance, including the inhibition of both Cox-1 and Cox-2
enzymes. Also, ginger root extract has many active constituents that exhibit
inhibitory effects on inflammatory compounds in the body, showing a clinical
benefit in the management of many musculoskeletal disorders including
arthritis and myalgias.
    In terms of nutritional modifications, increasing dietary intake of
beneficial omega-3 essential fatty acids, while decreasing omega-6 fatty
acids, appears to have some of the same positive effects as COX suppression.
Many double-blind trials involving fish oil with high potency EPA and DHA have
shown that omega-3 plays an important role in the modulation of the
inflammatory process, and appears to be extremely effective in reducing
inflammation in both chronic and acute states.
    It is estimated that three out of four people will experience chronic
pain and inflammation at some point in their life. The first step in
conquering any painful imbalance is becoming informed. Researching the vast
number of therapies available both traditionally and complimentarily can help
reduce excess inflammation, thereby managing pain. Working together with a
diverse health-care team can create a comprehensive pain management plan to
get you back on track with pain-free living.

    Michele Sevier Biography

    Michele Sevier, DNM,DAc, is an educator and advocate of natural health
and healing. As an independent advisor to Nutrition House, she is actively
involved in many facets of integrative medicine including research, the
formulation of specialized supplements, and providing natural health solutions
to the general public through Nutrition House's 'Ask Our Expert' service at

For further information:

For further information: For Media Inquiries and Interviews with Michele
Sevier, Telephone/Fax: (905) 662-1932, or E-mail: micheles@nutritionhouse.com

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