Osteoarthritis | Rheumatoid arthritis | Fibromyalgia | Repetitive strain injury | Low back pain
The chronic pain category includes a variety of conditions “wear and tear” arthritis (osteoarthritis), autoimmune types of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis & lupus, repetitive strain injuries such as carpal tunnel, chronic back pain, and fibromyalgia. These conditions are all characterized by high levels of inflammation and immune activation which causes pain and degeneration of the joints involved. In fibromyalgia, nervous system dysfunction is also though to play a role. Individuals with these conditions have been shown to have evidence of “leaky gut,” a term that describes poor intestinal barrier function and the inappropriate crossing of food proteins from the gut into the bloodstream (1-4). This is thought to trigger or amplify an inappropriate immune activation and inflammatory reaction.
Naturopathic strategies for chronic pain focus on identifying the source of inflammation, whether this is related to dietary patterns, food intolerances, hormonal imbalance, or covert chronic infections. For some, food sensitivity testing may be indicated, which shows the degree of immune reactivity to various foods. In addition to dietary modifications, we may utilize specific natural health products to address inflammation, immune dysregulation, and infection. Many find that acupuncture therapy is a useful adjunct as well.
- Goebel A, Buhner S, Schedel R, Lochs H, Sprotte G. Altered intestinal permeability in patients with primary fibromyalgia and in patients with complex regional pain syndrome. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2008 Aug;47(8):1223-7. URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18540025
- Maes M, Leunis JC. Normalization of leaky gut in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is accompanied by a clinical improvement: effects of age, duration of illness and the translocation of LPS from gram-negative bacteria. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2008 Dec;29(6):902-10. URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19112401
- Hvatum M, Kanerud L, Hällgren R, Brandtzaeg P. The gut-joint axis: cross reactive food antibodies in rheumatoid arthritis. Gut. 2006 Sep;55(9):1240-7. URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16484508
- O’Farrelly C, Price R, McGillivray AJ, Fernandes L. IgA rheumatoid factor andIgG dietary protein antibodies are associated in rheumatoid arthritis. Immunol Invest. 1989 Jul;18(6):753-64. URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2767736