Bruce is a high powered executive that prides himself on his physical prowess. Up at four A.M., he works out for an hour at the health club five days a week. But for the last three months, Bruce has been having problems.
First, his left shoulder hurt after workouts. Then, he couldn’t raise his left arm above his head. “Just overdoing it a bit” he thought. Shortly thereafter, the back of his neck started to ache. Hating doctors and not being one to skip workouts, Bruce asked a friend for advice.
The friend told Bruce that it was fine to take Ibuprofen but not Tylenol because that would mess with his liver.
And that’s exactly what Bruce did. During his long 12 hour days behind his desk, he would usually pop 3 Ibu’s every 4 hours or so. His neck and shoulder would feel much better so he thought he was out of the woods. Until his stomach acted up.
So, what to do now? Bruce went to the drug store and bought some heartburn pills like Nexium. After all, he thought “they’re available over the counter, so it must be fine to take them.” And for a couple of weeks, the combo of Ibu and Nexium worked fine.
Bruce thought he was getting better and decided to quit the Nexium and dial down the Ibuprofen. Shockingly, he found out that not only did his neck hurt worse than ever, but it felt like a blow torch burning in his stomach. He knew he was in trouble.
Does this sound like something you went through or do you know someone who did?
The point that Bruce missed all along is that what goes on in your gut affects many aspects of your health… including pain.
THE CONNECTION OF THE GUT TO THE REST OF THE BODY
Let’s take a look at what your gut really does:
- 80 % of your immune system is in your gut.
- Proper food digestion depends on the proper amount of stomach acid and the right kind of bacteria in your gut. When this goes out of whack, you get Leaky Gut Syndrome, which we examine below.
- When gut bacteria get out out of balance (more bad than good), it is called Dysbiosis. This leads to Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). SIBO allows toxins into the bloodstream, leading to autoimmune diseases like arthritis. This leads to inflammation (pain), allergies and disturbances in the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis which is responsible for your overall health.
- Serotonin is produced in the gut. This is the “feel good” hormone that helps you sleep and be happy. Gut problems reduce serotonin.
Let’s look at these issues individually:
LOW STOMACH ACID
Hypochlorhydria, or low stomach acid, is a commonly overlooked problem that is linked to other diseases like stomach cancer, asthma and arthritis. It’s a serious problem that needs to be investigated.
Proper levels of stomach acid are needed to adequately absorb many nutrients, including minerals (iron, copper, zinc and calcium), vitamin B12, folic acid and proteins.
Stomach acid is also a crucial part of the immune system. The acid barrier of the stomach during normal states of health easily and quickly kills bacteria and other bugs that enter the body. It also prevents bacteria in the intestines from migrating up and colonizing the stomach.
Appropriate stomach acid levels are crucial for our immune system and for adequate nutrient status, both of which support total health.
Bruce made several mistakes that caused his nightmare. First, The Ibuprofen kills the good bacteria in his stomach. Secondly, the Nexium reduced his level of stomach acid. Without adequate acid, the mucus lining that protects the stomach disappears. When he tried to stop Nexium and his stomach acid increased, his heartburn became worse. This is called the rebound effect. Additionally, the Nexium drained magnesium from his body causing his muscles to be tense and painful.
This leads to imbalances in the body which cause inflammation and pain.
The solution? The level of acid can be tested and treated with Betaine hydrochloride and Pepsin. You need to RAISE the acid level not lower it.
LEAKY GUT SYNDROME AND IMBALANCED STOMACH BACTERIA (DYSBIOSIS)
Imagine your small intestine as a tube where food passed through and is digested. Around the edge of the tube are little fingers, known as Villi. The Villi resemble shag carpeting and selectively absorb nutrients your body requires while filtering out chemicals and toxins that should stay out of your bloodstream. With Leaky Gut, the shag carpet turns to Berber and all kinds of toxins pass through the wall of the small intestine into the bloodstream. The body is overwhelmed with irritants, which cause autoimmune problems, inflammation and pain.
Leaky Gut is caused by diets high in sugar, wheat protein (gluten), food dyes and preservatives. Basically, any highly processed food, which makes up a majority of the Standard American Diet (SAD) leads to leaky gut. Another huge cause is the overwhelming overprescription of antibiotics, which kill both good and bad gut bacteria.
The solution: eat a more natural diet and avoid processed foods. Probiotics, as well as apple cider vinegar, yogurt, kefir and sauerkraut (fermented foods) help heal the condition. Supplements that may help include Curcumin, Vitamin D-3 and fish oil.
WRAPPING IT ALL UP
There are three biological reasons that pain occurs:
- Inflammation (Stress, strains or Injury)
- Immune system dysfunction that leads to autoimmune problems like arthritis.
- Toxic buildup that causes enzyme systems to fail and bodily functions to go haywire.
When you eat the right foods, avoid unnecessary medications and add to the reserve of good bacteria in your gut with probiotics, yogurt, kefir and apple cider vinegar, your overall health improves. This means you heal better and faster and have much less overall neck pain.
If you would like more information on treating chronic neck pain, including tips, tricks and advice from fellow sufferers, please click on stopneckpain.wpengine.com
PS: A FREE Quick Start Guide to help with your chronic neck pain is available. I call it “The Chronic Neck Pain Survival Guide”. Get it by clicking here
P.P.S.: If you know of anyone struggling with chronic neck pain that may benefit from this information, PLEASE forward this article to them. Thanks 🙂