Chronic Inflammation: The Silent Enemy Buring Within
Anyone who has cut, sprained or burned themselves has experienced pain, heat, redness and swelling—the sure signs of acute inflammation, or what the ancient Greeks described as "the internal fire." In the aftermath of an injury, the body ignites with an inflammatory response to ward off infection and jump-start tissue repair. This reaction is a lifesaver, as white blood cells rush to the scene of the trauma to fight the deadly bacteria that can quickly spread.
However, in some people, the inflammatory response is triggered inappropriately or never fully shuts off, potentially resulting in a state of chronic inflammation. Blood tests have detected low levels of inflammation in people diagnosed with a wide variety of illnesses. For example, the "silent" inflammation of cardiovascular blood vessels is now widely believed to be a key part of atherosclerosis.
We now know that chronic inflammation continually drains energy from the body as it persistently tries to put out the internal fire, weakening our immune system, making it vulnerable to attack, and even triggering other conditions.
It's a Pain
Written by Carol Petersen, RPH, CNP - Women's International Pharmacy
Pain relief is one of the top reasons that people seek medical attention, and the abuse of prescription pain relievers is at an all-time high. This begs the question: what is causing all this pain? And, furthermore, is resorting to addictive and potentially dangerous narcotics the only answer?
We believe that the link between hormone imbalances and the prevalence of chronic pain deserves further exploration. Consider these findings:
- Thyroid: Dr. Mark Starr, who has specialized in pain treatment, had issues with chronic pain himself, along with numerous symptoms of hypothyroidism, and he suspected the two might be related. Working with his mentors, they confirmed that his thyroid levels were indeed low, despite "normal" lab test results. Dr. Starr started thyroid hormone therapy and soon also became pain free.
Low-dose Naltrexone and Pain
Written by Kathy Lynch, PharmD - Women's International Pharmacy
Low-dose naltrexone (LDN) has been used to treat a variety of medical illnesses including cancer, certain gastrointestinal conditions, AIDS, autism and autoimmune disorders such as MS.
Can LDN also be helpful in treating chronic pain? A small study that investigated the effect LDN has on fibromyalgia, a chronic pain disorder, yielded promising results: LDN reduced symptoms in the entire group of 10 women by more than 30%, as compared to the placebo.
How does LDN work? LDN blocks endorphin receptors for a short period of time. When the effects wear off, the body responds by producing more endorphins, the body's natural pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory substances.
LDN may also enhance the pain-relieving effect of acupuncture. Information about these and other LDN studies can be accessed at lowdosenaltrexone.org. LDN is available from Women's International Pharmacy.
- The Promise of Low Dose Naltrexone Therapy: Potential Benefits in Cancer, Autoimmune, Neurological and Infectious Disorders by E.A. Moore and S. Wilkinson; McFarland and Company, Inc.; Jefferson, NC; 2009.
- Fibromyalgia symptoms are reduced by low-dose naltrexone: a pilot study" by J. Younger and S. Mackey; Pain Medicine, 2009 May-Jun;10(4):663-72; Epub 2009 Apr 22.
- "Enhancing acupuncture by low dose naltrexone" by J.M. Hesselink and D.J. Kopsky; Acupuncture in Medicine, 2011;29(2):127-30; Epub 2011 Mar 17.