PAIN AND THE PAIN CHECKLIST
by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© July 2011, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
Pain is one of the most important of symptoms. It can cause great disability, depression and even cause a person to want to die. It also can lead to addiction to pain medication. This is a major problem around the world, and especially in the United States and Western Europe, where getting pain medication is particularly easy. Pain has many causes, although the underlying feature of all pain is that it is caused by tissue damage of some kind.
Fortunately, a hair mineral analysis can be superb to detect about a dozen causes for pain. Furthermore, a nutritional balancing program is helpful to alleviate the cause of most types of pain. Correction may occur in a few days to a few weeks. In some long-standing and difficult cases, pain relief can take longer.
The basic program of an alkaline-forming diet of mainly cooked vegetables with some animal protein daily, proper drinking water, lifestyle modifications and targeted supplements are helpful for some pain syndromes. The addition of the near infrared sauna and daily coffee enemas are often amazing in their ability to relieve some types of pain, such as that caused by toxicity of the bowel, infections, impaired circulation and a few others.
This article is mainly about pain caused by physiological imbalances. Pain can also be caused by mechanical irritation, such as spinal stenosis, or spinal subluxations that require chiropractic care. Occasionally, pain is mainly a psychological issue, although muscle tension as a result of emotional pain is usually the immediate cause of such symptoms as back or neck pain when a person is upset or angry. Let us examine some common biochemical and nutritional aspects of pain.
THE CAUSES OF PAIN
As stated above, pain in the body is often caused by tissue damage of some kind. It can be a peripheral tissue, organ or gland, or it can be the nerves themselves that conduct the pain message to the brain. It can even be a problem in the brain in which pain signals are generated when there really is no pain. However, this is very rare.
The next question is, what causes tissue damage. The answers are really quite simple:
1. Physical or mechanical problems. Examples are pressure, heat, or cold. A pinched nerve, for example, is a physical cause of pain that is very common and often intense. It may require the services of a good chiropractor or osteopath. At times, surgery is necessary to free the nerve.
2. Chemical irritation. This is really a physical cause as well but at a microscopic level. Toxins that irritate the body tissues include toxic metals, some toxic chemicals, some bacterial, viral, parasitic, fungal or other micro-organisms, and even waste products produced by the cells themselves.
3. Certain illnesses. These produce pain by various methods. Among these are cancer, for example, infections, as mentioned above, and perhaps others.
4. Problems with hydration, oxygenation and circulation. These are deficiencies in vital cellular processes that may cause mechanical or chemical irritation of the cells and other body structures.
5. Inflammation gone awry. Inflammation is a natural process of the body that normally is controlled and used to promote healing of wounds and other conditions. What is called inflammation is really a series of steps the body takes to respond to injury and tissue damage, involving histamine release and other steps. If it goes out of control, however, it is an important cause of pain.
6. Imbalances related to hormones, prostglandins or other types of chemicals that are natural pain modulators and regulators in the body. For example, low cortisol and cortisone secretion for any reason can cause pain, because cortisol is an anti-inflammatory hormone.
7. An acidic body chemistry. At times, an excessively acidic body chemistry is responsible for pain. This is most common in people who live on bread or grains, and meat. These are both acid-forming foods. Changing the diet to about 70% cooked vegetables is extremely helpful. However, do not eat fruit to alkalinize the body and do not use alkaline water, as it has other toxic effects. For more on drinking water, read Water For Drinking on this site. For more on eating fruit, read Fruit-Eating on this site.
8. Electrical or other more subtle imbalances. These are also related to the above, but electrical imbalances may trigger nerve endings that cause pain messages to be sent to the brain.
THE PAIN CHECKLIST WHEN REVIEWING A HAIR MINERAL ANALYSIS
Among the most important causes for pain that can be identified from a hair mineral analysis are the following:
Toxic metals. These may be revealed directly on a hair mineral analysis. However, they are often hidden on the first and even on other tests. Often, there are telltale signs of elevated metals on the test such as an elevated zinc, low phosphorus, low sodium/potassium ratio, and/or very low levels of toxic metals. This pattern is called poor eliminator pattern and is described in a separate article on this website.
Toxic chemicals. Many toxic chemicals cause irritation, inflammation and even tissue destruction. This is not directly revealed on a hair mineral analysis. However, I generally assume everyone has some of them. A properly designed nutritional balancing program, especially with the use of a sauna, will slowly cause the release of thousands of toxic chemicals.
Low adrenal corticosteroid
secretion. Adequate cortisone and
cortisol are important anti-pain or anti-inflammatory chemicals. These hormones are secreted by the
adrenal glands. Many people have
low levels of these hormones.
On a hair mineral analysis performed by a lab that does not wash the hair at the laboratory, low levels of adrenal hormones may be indicated by low levels of sodium and potassium, in most cases, and, at times, by a slow oxidation rate. A pattern of three highs or four highs also indicates a slow oxidizer, albeit under a lot of stress. A low sodium/potassium ratio is another indicator. This can be corrected in most cases with a nutritional balancing program, and does not require hormone replacement therapy.
Low body temperature and resulting underactivity of many enzyme systems. This is associated with a sluggish oxidation rate, and low thyroid and adrenal glandular activity.
Thyroid imbalance. Thyroid imbalance is commonly associated with pain, although doctors often do not look for this cause for people’s pain syndromes. Indicators on a hair mineral analysis include a high calcium/potassium ratio, a low potassium level, and perhaps others.
Deficiencies of anti-inflammatory nutrients. These include omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium and perhaps others.
Deficiencies of the “sedative” minerals. These are calcium, magnesium and zinc. They help relax the muscles and they may affect nerve sensitivity and conduction of pain messages. Most people are low in these three minerals, regardless of hair analysis patterns. However, more obvious indicators are a low calcium, magnesium or zinc levels, or very high levels of calcium and/or magnesium. The latter is called biounavailable calcium and magnesium.
Magnesium imbalance alone. Magnesium helps keep calcium in solution and magnesium imbalance is associated with certain types of pain such as that of fibromyalgia. Magnesium imbalance is indicated on a hair analysis usually by a very low or very high magnesium level, or an imbalanced calcium/magnesium ratio.
Inflammation in the body, indicated, at times, by an elevated sodium/potassium ratio. Another indicator is a fast oxidation rate. Another is a three highs or a four highs pattern. The presence of toxic metals, and especially “the amigos” is another indicator of inflammation. These minerals, such as iron, manganese and aluminum, often form oxides in the body that are very inflammatory and irritating to the tissues. They often cause oxidant damage, a common type of tissue damage, among other mechanisms. Other minerals that can function as oxides and irritants include copper, chromium, selenium, boron and molybdenum. These are often seen on hair mineral analyses. As they are removed, pain often subsides.
Infections of many kinds. Many infections cause pain. The mechanisms include the secretion of
toxic substances called endotoxins and exotoxins, or more direct damaging
effects of the infecting organism on the body tissues. This is a common cause of chronic and
acute pain. Many of these
infections do not respond to antibiotics or other drugs. The only way to remove them is to
increase the vitality of the body using targeted nutrition on a nutritional
Also, the use of a a sauna is extremely helpful for some infections because it heats the body, which tends to enhance the immune response of the body.
Hair analysis indicators for infections include a sodium/potassium ratio less than 2.5, a very slow oxidation rate, a low zinc level, a high copper level, and perhaps the presence of toxic metals.
Excessive tissue breakdown or catabolism. This type of pain caused by protein breakdown. It can affect almost any organ and cause symptoms such as joint pain, ulcer pain, skin problems and many others. It is often indicated by a low sodium/potassium ratio or a phosphorus level of 12 mg% or less.
Muscle tension or tightness. This is a common cause of certain types of pain such as back pain. Very tight muscles can pull joints and vertebra out of position, and can squeeze off the blood supply and the nerve supply to various parts of the body. Hair analysis indicators include low calcium and/or magnesium levels, or high calcium and/or magnesium levels. An overly sympathetic nervous system activation state of the body also causes tension, such as sympathetic dominance pattern and fast oxidation. Other patterns are possible as well, such as the presence of toxic amounts of lead, cadmium or mercury that interfere with the activity of calcium and magnesium in the body.
Organ-related pain. This may include many areas of the body. The underlying cause can be a nutrient deficiency, an infection, or other type of stress on the organ or gland. It is quite common. Hair analysis indicators may include high levels of toxic metals, a low sodium/potassium ratio, a high sodium/potassium ratio, low zinc and others, as well.
A diet high in fruit, and
perhaps too high in any carbohydrate foods. I am not sure of the reason for this. However, we find that taking people off fruit, in
particular, can cause pain relief within a week or two. Often the pain is related to the joints
or muscles. The acids in the fruit
may be the problem, or perhaps it is the sugars in the fruit. Fruit is also very yin in Chinese
medical terminology, and a yin condition can definitely cause many types of
Eating too many carbohydrates is associated with pain due to yeast infections in the intestines and possibly in other organs, including the brain. Excessive carbohydrates may also cause heartburn or GERD. I am not sure of the mechanism, but reducing wheat, in particular, and at times reducing all carbohydrates in the diet causes relief from heartburn pain. Eating starches and grains can also cause an acidic condition in the body that can contribute to pain.
MENTAL/EMOTIONAL AND SPIRITUAL PAIN
Pain can be of a mental or emotional nature. Examples of emotional causes are the pain of disappointment, fatigue, frustration or grief. Mental pain is usually caused by mental conflicts in which a person feels literally torn apart and does not know what to do or which way to turn.
Spiritual pain is the pain of learning the truth about someone or something. It can also be the pain of coming to know God or divinity in oneself or another. One might think this would be pleasurable, but many people must experience a “dark night of the soul” episode, at some point, before the light of God dawns and they are relieved of their burdens of guilt, fear, longing and more.
I don’t know if these types of pain are caused by actual tissue damage, but likely not. However, they can cause one to tense up the body, interfere with digestion and sleep, and thus secondarily cause physical pain in the body itself.
There is also pain called somatic expression or psychosomatic pain. For example, if one feels suffocated, it can cause asthma. If one feels crushed, it can cause feelings of tension in the chest, perhaps. If one feels hurt, it can actually cause bodily pain, at times, as well. This cause of pain is more complex and not well understood. It is as though a person expresses feelings of pain in a bodily sense. However, it is definitely real.
Mental and emotional pain on a hair mineral analysis. Indicators for pain on a hair mineral biopsy or analysis include:
1. Low Na/K ratio is associated with feelings of frustration, along with resentment and hostility, all of which can enhance physical pain.
2. A high Na/K ratio is associated with anger, and acute stress.
3. High copper is associated with many types of emotional pain and suffering.
4 High levels of toxic metals can be associated with specific aspects of mental or emotional pain. For example, high nickel is associated with depression and sometimes a desire to take one’s one life. High mercury is associated with timidness and often confusion, and so on.
5. A calcium shell is associated not only with calcium deposits in the tissues that can cause pain, but also with psychological withdrawal and often depression.
6. Sympathetic dominance is often, if not always associated with feelings of anxiety, and often depression, though the latter may be hidden at first.
7. Certain hair analysis pattern may be more associated with mental conflicts, though this is not always the case. For example, four highs and four lows are often conflict patterns. Fast oxidation with a low Na/K ratio is another common conflict pattern, as is a calcium shell and sympathetic dominance.
8. To some degree, all imbalances seen on hair mineral analyses tell us something about a person’s emotions, mental state and possible pain the person may experience on these levels. This may or may not translate into physical body pain.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT PAIN
Now that we have discussed some of the major causes of pain in the body, let us discuss solutions. I will make a very controversial and perhaps arrogant-sounding statement that most pain can be handled with a nutritional balancing program, accompanied by foot refleoxolgy and quality body work. This includes good quality chiropractic care and, at times, some deep body work such as Rolfing or Structural Integration. Many other bodywork techniques may also help such as craniosacral therapy, therapeutic massage, Bowen technique, trigger point therapy and others. However, these are less necessary in most cases, if one follows a nutritional balancing program.
The key is to address the deep cause of the pain, as outlined above. Only a nutritional balancing program that is properly designed can do this. The addition of daily coffee enemas and near infrared light saunas, or even a single near infrared heat lamp treatment, are also excellent. Some readers know, for example, that coffee enemas were originally used by Dr. Max Gerson, MD, to relieve the pain of cancer. This can be one of the most serious types of pain.
Commitment. With nutritional balancing, one must be willing to stay with the program for at least a year, or even longer, at times, since the nutritional balancing approach depends upon actually rebuilding the body and balancing body chemistry, which cannot be done overnight. Having said this, many people experience pain relief quickly, within a few days to a few weeks.
I have experience with many types of pain syndromes ranging from the very simple to very complex types such as intractable headaches for which no cause could be established, horrendous back pain, organ pain and more. These all have responded beautifully to nutritional balancing science, often within six months or so. I believe the reason is a tremendous reduction in stress on the body, along with eliminating toxic substances, subtle infections and other subtle causes of pain throughout the body. Renourishing and balancing the body are also critical, and not so easy to do as one might think. The diet is often critical, and the correct type and amount of drinking water can also be a critical factor, along with plenty of rest and sleep. While I cannot be more precise as to why pain subsides, it is our universal experience with nutritional balancing science. That is the best explanation I can give.
Other methods. All other approaches to pain relief tend to be symptomatic, in varying degrees, although they certainly may reduce symptoms. These methods include medical drugs, surgery, vitamins, minerals, fish oil, vitamin D, anti-oxidants, sedative herbs, homeopathic remedies, electrical machines, nerve blocks, and others. They can work, of course, but the drugs, in particular, have dangerous side effects. See the section below on this important hazard of medical pain relievers.
However, even most natural products, when taken for more than a few months, can easily unbalance body chemistry. I have seen this over and over hundreds of times, so I warn people about using pain remedies, even when they are 100% natural ones.
THE DANGER OF PAIN MEDICATION, ESPECIALLY ACETAMINOPHEN (TYLENOL), OXYCONTIN, MORPHINE, ASPIRIN AND OTHERS
Acetominophen, (Tylenol, Excedrin, Dristan, etc.) the leading cause of liver and kidney failure in America. This is the sad truth. Stay away from this drug in all forms. Be careful, as it is added to many cold remedies, PMS remedies, and so on.
In addition to liver and kidney failure, a recent study found that chronic acetaminophen users had nearly twice the risk of developing blood cancer, and separate research has linked it to higher rates of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as well as reduced lung function. Long-term Tylenol use has also been linked to brain damage and increased blood pressure -- so it is not the "harmless" pill that many people consider it to be.
Oxycontin and abuse. A problem with many pain medications is that one can easily become addicted to them. Why some are more addictive than others I am not sure. However, Ocycontin is one of the worst. Stay away from this drug, please.
Morphine kills. A popular drug used in hospitals is morphine, along with codeine and other derivatives. These are very powerful drugs that have a place, but should not be used in most cases. They can cause the kidneys to shut down just from a single dose. Avoid this drug if at all possible.
Marijuana, heroine and other downer recreational drugs. Some will object to my lumping marijuana with heroine, but both are very harmful to the body. They can both numb your mental and physical pain, but they also contain toxic substances that severely damage delicate brain centers. I am tired of hearing from people who insist that ‘medical marijuana’ is safe. Please read Medical Marijuana on this website.
Aspirin or acetylsalicylic acid. Doctors think that Aspirin is harmless and tell people to take some to thin their blood and as an anti-inflammatory. It is better than Tylenol, which is deadly, but it is not healthful at all. I would avoid it. Aspirin is also hard on your stomach, liver and kidneys, and is common cause of ulcers, for example.
If you want to thin your blood, use a little vitamin E or nattokinase, but not Aspirin. Also, note that Aspirin is found added to many other drugs and over-the-counter remedies.