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chronic pain, chronic illness, and autoimmunity:  anything can cause anything


Chronic Pain Autoimmunity

When it comes to Chronic Pain and Chronic Sickness & Disease, anything can cause anything.  Dr. Russell Schierling
When it comes to figuring out CHRONIC PAIN SYNDROMES or the various diseases on THIS LIST of Autoimmune Diseases, there are always certain patterns or dysfunctions that I look for. Unfortunately, not everyone follows text book patterns.  Let me give you an example of what I am talking about in the musculoskeletal realm.  Last week, I had an 86 year old gentleman drive about five hours to see me for chronic hip / buttock pain and sciatica.  He had been told that his problem was PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME

I went through my series of examinations and checks and began to work on him.  The treatment was making some slight changes in his pain and ability to walk, but nothing to write home about.  His SCIATIC PAIN ended in his lateral calf (the L5 dermatome), leading me to believe his problem could very well be related to his lowest spinal vertebrae.  However, I could not elicit pain at his L5 (low back) no matter what I did, nor could I find any adhesions in his THORACO LUMBAR FASCIA.   What did I find?  This man had FASCIAL ADHESIONS in his lateral calf, which, when dealt with, relieved his pain almost immediately and almost 100% (HERE).  This allowed him to stand upright and walk without a limp for the first time in several years.  I would not have suspected this finding in a million years, but it just goes to show that anything can cause anything.

One of the reasons that the underlying cause of so many Chronic Pain Syndromes are missed is not simply because most doctors do not really grasp the importance of the FASCIAL SYSTEM (HERE and HERE as well), but because few are really willing to think outside the box.  I am not picking here — it’s simply the truth.  Unfortunately, it’s not true only of problems having to do with the musculoskeletal system.  While this will not in any way be a new concept to those who are in the field of Natural Healing or FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE, let me give you an example of a mainstream medical journal that is stepping outside of the box, and showing that anything can cause anything in the realm of health, sickness, and disease. 

When it comes to AUTOIMMUNITY, America takes the cake.  Official government stats tell us that over 20% of our entire population has some sort of Autoimmune Disease (see the first paragraph for a list that can in no ways be considered “comprehensive“).   And as crazy as it sounds, many experts feel that this number is actually closer to 50%.  No matter how you slice it, Autoimmunity is an American epidemic!  What are patients usually told about their Autoimmunity?  They come home from their doctor believing they have a problem with their THYROID, BLADDER, TENDONS, FASCIA, a wide variety of BRAIN OR CNS-BASED PROBLEMS, (insert your body part of choice here _____________), etc, etc, etc. 

This is a very misleading and incorrect way of looking at Autoimmunity.  The problem is not with the body part or organ system that is being attacked by your own Immune System, it’s with the Immune System itself.  Because this simple fact is either not grasped (or blatantly ignored) by the majority of the medical profession, you will frequently see people suffering with (as well as being treated for) numerous Autoimmune Diseases simultaneously.  If you follow along, you’ll see why I have always said that Autoimmune Diseases tend to travel like wolves —– in packs.

Although the peer-reviewed scientific medical literature is absolutely full of studies that show all of this to be true, the mainstream medical community has been slow to catch on to their own profession’s research.  Fortunately, this is starting to change.  Enter a recent article (Integrative Treatment Approaches for Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis) by Dr. Leslie Mendoza Temple of the University of Chicago, as published in the latest issue of Practical Pain Management — a journal for medical doctors who run “Pain Clinics”. 

For the most part, these Pain Doctors are doctors who have little interest in finding solutions to patient’s underlying problem.  This is not because they are heartless, it’s simply that they believe that this is an impossible task — that these patients are so messed up that nothing will help them short of drastic and harsh interventions; interventions that include SHOTS, PAIN MEDS, and procedures (RFA’s, CT GUIDED INJECTIONS, IMPLANTED ELECTRICAL OR CHEMICAL DEVICES, etc, etc) to control and cover pain.  I must, however, give PPM credit for at least discussing things like the ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET as well as other non-invasive conservative treatments.   But when the recent issue carried an article on the relationship between Autoimmunity and Leaky Gut Syndrome, I about fell out of my chair.  Listen to what Dr. Leslie Mendoza Temple wrote concerning LEAKY GUT SYNDROME and its relationship to Autoimmunity (by the way, JIA — Juvenile Idopathic Arthritis used to be called JRA — JUVENILE RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS).

Increased Intestinal Permeability [one of the many medical terms for Leaky Gut Syndrome] has been implicated in several autoimmune and inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, multiple sclerosis, celiac disease, type I diabetes, asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease.  Mielants et al studied ileum [small intestine] biopsies of JIA patients and found a majority with histologic gut inflammation [it can be seen at the cellular level].  Bacteria, antigenic fragments, and primed immune system cells may migrate to joints from distant sites that originated in the ‘leaky gut’, subsequently promoting synovitis [inflamed joints].  Based on ongoing research, intestinal permeability and its role in autoimmune disease, there is the potential in mitigating diseases like JIA with therapies that can reduce gut permeability. 
The cool thing is that she mentions some of these “potentially mitigating therapies” by name.  They include things like CHIROPRACTIC, homeopathy, naturopathy, acupuncture, ELIMINATION DIETS, TESTING for Leaky Gut Syndrome and Food Sensitivities such as GLUTEN (see the last two links at the bottom of the page), CONTROLLING BLOOD SUGAR (HERE also), as well as supplementing with things like FISH OIL and PROBIOTICS among others.  She talked about HEALING THE GUT, and made the case (almost inadvertently I might add) for a diet that could probably best be classified as PALEO.  Furthermore, she describes these interventions as EVIDENCE-BASED.  There are, however, a couple of things that I took exception to in her paper. 

In her treatment “algorithm” (flowchart), she only wants children treated this way if they do not respond to conventional therapy (“Pharmaceuticals, Sleep, Counseling, and Exercise“).  What possible reason could she logically give for not using the natural methods described above (i.e. the methods that actually deal with root causes of autoimmunity) first, instead of playing “Second Fiddle” to drugs?  Don’t be fooled.  These drugs are harsh!  A sister article in the same issue of PPM (Advances in Pharmacological Pain Management of Juvenile Idiopathic ArthritisJRA) and written by the same author, talked about the supposed benefits of a wide range of NSAIDS & ASPIRIN and CORTICOSTEROIDS, IMMUNE SYSTEM SUPPRESSORS, DMARD’s therapy, Anti-Tumor Necrosis Factor Drugs, chemotherapy drugs such as Methotrexate, as well as a host of others.  Trust me when I tell you that the side effects of these drugs are potentially serious to the point of being DEADLY

The truth is, if you want any hope of healing your Immune System —- not just covering your symptoms for awhile, but actually dealing with (and defeating) some of the underlying causes of Autoimmunity —- you will have to step outside the box your doctor has stuck you in.  Not only does Dr. Temple do a good job of telling you how to go about doing this, I have written several dozen articles on this topic as well.  In fact, I sometimes feel like a broken record. 

You could start by reading about and understanding INFLAMMATIONHERE is one such article that puts some of it together for you, giving you at least an idea of where to go from there.  And thank you Dr. Tennant for including articles like the one by Dr. Temple above in your journal (thank you also Dr. Temple for this wonderful article!).  If the medical profession would take notice of this information and provide a concerted effort get patients to follow the advice given in articles like this one or the one by the venerable Dr. David Seaman, we could make some real headway against this scourge of Autoimmunity here in America.


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