This is part 10 in my "Fatigue & Fibromyalgia Are Optional" series. This week I'll describe the 10 key types of pain. Then, in my Brain Fog Friendly (BFF) Summary, I'll walk you through a number of options for natural pain relief.
The 10 Key Types of Pain
These are the ten most common kinds of pain. I would note that all of these can also be seen in fibromyalgia.
1. Myofascial (Muscle) Pain
A muscle is like a spring, in that it takes more energy for a muscle to relax than to contract. When muscles don’t have enough energy, as results when you have fibromyalgia, they can become locked in shortened position, forming tender knots.
Almost any kind of pain will throw the surrounding muscles into shortening as well. So muscle pain is critical to treat in all of the other kinds of pain conditions below. Myofascial pain is the primary initial source of pain in most people with fibromyalgia. Adding insult to injury, the presence of this chronic pain often leads to developing two other pains: central sensitization and small fiber neuropathic pain.
2. Pain From Inflammation
This is the second most common cause of pain, and most often reflects as arthritis and tendinitis. Along with muscle pain, it is the main cause of pain in autoimmune illness as well. Often, tendinitis simply occurs because of the chronic muscle shortening pulling on the tendons. For this, the solution is to also treat muscle shortening.
3. Neuropathic (Nerve) Pain
This feels like a burning, electric like pain. Most often in the extremities like your hands or feet. In fibromyalgia, a condition called small fiber neuropathy is common.
4. Migraines and Other Headaches
Headaches lasting over 24 hours, with nausea and light and sound sensitivity.
5. Abdominal Pain
This pain can result from indigestion, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), and irritable bowel syndrome. Improving digestion and treating the underlying infections are usually very effective for these.
6. Nerve Compression
Pain such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
7. Central Sensitization
Sometimes called brain pain, central sensitization is a form of pain that results in fibromyalgia, or any chronic pain condition, when sensitivity to pain increases in the brain itself. Think of it this way: The body starts with a simple pain signal to say what it needs. When it doesn’t get it, it amplifies the pain to get your attention. This amplification occurs in the brain itself.
A type of skin pain where it hurts to be lightly touched, this tends to be a later stage of fibromyalgia and small fiber neuropathy. The medications memantine (Namenda), gabapentin (Neurontin), and/or pregabalin (Lyrica) can be very helpful for this kind of pain. Topical ketamine can be helpful in severe cases.
9. Pelvic Pain Syndromes
Pelvic pain syndromes usually come from muscle pain in the pelvic floor (the muscles, ligaments, and tissue that support your pelvic organs and pelvic joints) and include pain during intercourse. But the condition can also be neuropathic or come from localized tissue inflammation or dryness. Pelvic floor physical therapy combined with a prescription of the medications gabapentin (Neurontin) and amitriptyline (Elavil) usually help this.
10. Sympathetically Mediated Pain
Fortunately, this is much less common, but it is quite horrific. The most common form is called complex regional pain syndrome or reflex sympathetic dystrophy (CRPS/RSD). Fortunately, even this awful pain is becoming treatable.
Natural Pain Relief
- Almost all pain can be effectively eliminated using the best of natural and prescription therapies.
- Natural alternatives are often far more effective and generally much safer than prescriptions.
- My favorite four natural options for pain relief in general (and these can all be combined with each other and with pain medications) are:
- Curamin: Take one to two capsules three times a day to rebalance both key inflammation pathways and increase endorphins while melting inflammatory proteins. This is often a pain relief miracle for people.
- End Pain: Take one to two capsules three times a day to balance inflammation.
- Topical comfrey cream: I use only the Traumaplant form, rubbed over the painful areas three times a day to speed tissue healing and decrease pain.
- Hemp oil: I use 50 milligrams of only the Hemp Select brand by Terry Naturally, or hemp oil from licensed dispensaries, as otherwise quality control is a major problem. Any good hemp oil is a bit pricey, but the optimal dosing is three capsules twice a day and five at bedtime. CBD is only one of over a dozen active components of hemp oil, so I prefer using the whole hemp oil.
- Even though benefits can begin in under an hour, it takes six weeks to see the full benefit of most natural and/or prescription pain treatments. Some prefer to begin each treatment individually for the six weeks, adding the next treatments one at a time. This way, they can tell what is helping. If pain is severe, my preference is to start all of these at once, and then when the pain is controlled, to start weaning things down to see what is still needed.
- Once you are pain-free for three months, many people find they can dramatically lower the dose of pain treatments. Pain is like putting out a fire. Once turned off for a while, it often stays off.
- Although we are focusing on four natural pain options in this section, we will be discussing numerous others as we discuss each kind of pain.
- There are many forms of bodywork that can eliminate pain by stretching your tightened muscles and fascia, while restoring full range of motion to your joints. Some excellent ones include Trager, Rolfing, myofascial release, chiropractic treatments, and acupuncture.
- Biophysics offers many helpful options. Especially important? Frequency-specific microcurrent therapy.
- Listening to calming music that distracts the mind from the pain has been shown to lower discomfort by 40 percent. I recommend piano music by Grammy Award–winner Peter Kater.
Whether you have day-to-day pain from arthritis, muscle pains, headaches, or other causes, or the widespread and often very severe pain of fibromyalgia, relief is available. Naturally.
From My New Edition of From Fatigued to Fantastic
To remind you, BFFs are just the short summaries I include at the beginning of each chapter in my newest edition of From Fatigued to Fantastic I added these to my new edition to help readers who don't have the time to go through all the detail in every chapter, allowing them to quickly get the main points of a topic while devoting more time to reading the details in chapters they're more interested in.
Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.