Chronic Pain is Often Broken Inflammation

by Patrick Nemechek, D.O. on March 23, 2015

IMG_2918Are pain management efforts actually working against people? A number of people that I see suffer from chronic pain. They have been told their pain is from damaged cartilage, bone on bone, bad discs, or that something is pressing on a nerve.

The technical truth is that their pains are from uncontrolled inflammation, and surprisingly the best way to end the pain is to restore their natural inflammation process.

We often hear of inflammation being a bad thing in the body that people need to be rid of. But natural inflammation is a good thing because it keeps people’s bodies in working order by repairing their tissues and organs hour after hour, day after day, year after year.

For example, human heart valves open and close 30 million times per year. Without inflammation diligently repairing the valves, people would all go into heart failure in a short amount of time.

Daily inflammation is not their enemy, daily inflammation keeps them healthy. It is only when inflammation is not controlled properly that it causes people chronic symptoms.

There are 3 basic phases of inflammation: (1) initiation, (2) repair, and (3) resolution. The first instinct, in this modern age of drugs and quick fixes, is to quickly stop the pain.

Common medications known as NSAIDS (ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, celecoxib, etc.) help reduce pain in the second repair phase but surprisingly prevents the third resolution phase from working.

Medications might temporarily improve how someone feels but are more apt to cause them to have the inflammatory pain longer; people get stuck in the repair phase. And in a state of constant battle nothing gets resolved but everyone keeps fighting.

Beyond NSAIDS, steroids also reduce inflammation pain. Oddly, a doctor may give an injection of steroids that provides relief of back, knee, or hip pain for months but then advises that the patient will need surgery if the pain returns. Huh?

The pain relief that the patient received from the steroids proves that the real problem is actually an inflammatory control problem and not the problem of an anatomical abnormality needing surgery.

The steroid alters the inflammation not the anatomy, and that is the secret to chronic pain resolution.

We don’t just “catch” inflammation. The perpetual pain cycle begins with injuries to our Autonomic Nervous System (the brain’s master control mechanism for the body and immune system), a disruption of our intestinal bacteria (altered by prolonged antibiotics and/or vaccines), and a food supply that promotes inflammation.

There are two branches of the Autonomic Nervous System. One is the Sympathetic Branch that controls our “flight or flight” instincts. The other branch is the Parasympathetic Branch that controls our entire immune system as well as the “rest and digest” functions.

When the Parasympathetic Branch malfunctions it is unable to regulate the inflammation that causes fibromyalgia, tingling and numbness, restless legs, and pain surges. Parasympathetic dysfunction may be tested, treated, and restored in ways that do not include narcotics, steroids, and surgery.

How do people shut off chronic pain without using narcotics, steroids, and surgery? The first step is isolating the injury to the Autonomic Nervous System through non-invasive FDA approved testing that takes about 20 minutes in my office.

A computer software system, along with EKG leads and a blood pressure cuff, identifies and measures the Parasympathetic brain signals that have been disrupted. Depending on the pattern or severity of the disruption a person may need short-term medication to allow the Parasympathetics to heal and reverse the pain process.

The Parasympathetic Branch controls a person’s rest and digest functions and often with Parasympathetic dysfunction people develop a bacterial overgrowth in the small intestines called SIBO. Symptoms of SIBO include heartburn, food intolerance, eczema, and anxiety.

Short-term medication may be necessary to get their bacterial overgrowth under control, and long-term nutritional maintenance may be necessary to maintain their healthy blend.

Interestingly, many people have a direct correlation between inflammatory pain and supplements that change their intestinal bacteria blend. My wife, for example, feels like her fingers and wrists are broken if she takes probiotics. Within days of stopping the probiotics her inflammatory pain is gone.

Repairing the broken inflammation process is further accomplished through food choices. Not flashy, but effective. People need significant Omega-3 fatty acids in their daily meals from wild fish, grass-fed beef, and nuts because Omega-3 is actually converted into the chemicals that are responsible for “shutting off” inflammation.

Inadequate amounts of Omega-3 in the diet result in inadequate control of inflammation.

Most people do not get consistent amounts of Omega-3 from their food so taking daily fish oil supplements are mandatory. The Omega-3 in fish oil is simply unable do its job when the dose is too low, the balance of EPA/DHA is not correct or when taken sporadically.

The next nutritional step is to eliminate the chemicals in food that keep people inflamed. Omega-6 fatty acids from soy and soybean oils, vegetable oils, margarine, and shortenings are converted into chemicals that are responsible for “turning on” inflammation. The modern western diet contains 20 times more Omega-6 than someone needs.

This means people get 20 times more Omega-6 (bad guys) when compared to the Omega-3 (good guys), and it is this imbalance that leaves people with inflammatory systems too easily turned on or perpetually kept on.

People have to take on an active role to identify and eliminate the Omega-6 that promotes inflammation. That means reading food labels and making an effort to eliminate Omega-6 at every meal.

Does restoring that third phase in the inflammation process through better food, fish oil, and Autonomic recovery really work and shut off chronic pain? Yes.

The marvelous thing about inflammation is that it is our ally and we actually need it in order to remain healthy. Once people start working with their natural inflammation repair process and not against it, they begin to conquer chronic pain in the manner that nature intended.

For more information on Autonomic recovery, SIBO, and the nutritional fight again chronic pain you may call my office at 623-208-4226 or learn from my website

I am a classically trained internal medicine physician from UCLA and my private office is located in the greater Phoenix area. My research background has been focused on the Autonomic Nervous System, brain metabolism, and metabolic inflammation. I now use this training and experience to reverse disease.

© 2015. Dr. Patrick Nemechek and Jean R. Nemechek. All Rights Reserved


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