Ohhh! My Aching Back …
Or neck or joints or whatever. We all have aches and pains now and then, but for some of us, back pain, headaches, stiffness and aches are a way of life. In fact, the most commonly purchased over-the-counter drugs are pain killers. These drugs are considered by many to be one of the greatest “miracles” of modern medicine. Perhaps they are. After all, no normal human being likes to be in pain.
However, pain is not altogether evil. If you touch a hot stove, the pain informs you that you are injuring your body and causes you to jerk your finger away. It also serves as a reminder not to make the same mistake again. Pain is a message that something is wrong in our body and needs to be corrected. Unfortunately, the drug medications for pain only deaden the nerves so we no longer receive the signal that something is wrong. They do not actually remove the cause of the pain. Hence, people keep taking them over and over again, but their headaches, backaches and general body aches keep coming back.
While occasional use of medications for pain may be a wonderful blessing, constant use of these medications may be downright harmful. Just think of the terms used to describe these medicines: pain killers which deaden the nervous system. Keep that in mind, because pain medications are actually small doses of poisons. Isn’t it possible that continuous use of these substances could eventually kill our nerve cells and leave parts of our nervous system dead?
Instead of just trying to block out the pain, we need to pay attention to it. We need to remember that the pain is telling us that something is wrong. Perhaps we need to examine our diet, life-style and feelings and see if we can’t figure out what “hot stoves” we are touching. Perhaps we will find that we are eating poorly or too much. Perhaps we will need to let go of some of our worries and stresses. Perhaps we need to drink more water. Whatever the case, the long term solution to pain is to discover the cause of the pain
and remove it.
That’s where herbs, nutrition and other natural therapies may be able to help. Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on how you look at it), there are no herbal pain killers, unless one includes toxic plants like opium. So, don’t expect herbs and supplements to kill pain and deaden your nerves the way your favorite pain killer does. The herbs or supplements you take are going to feed and nourish the tissues and help to correct what is wrong. When the problem is corrected, then the tissues won’t complain anymore. Wholesome herbs are feeders and nourishers, not killers. Herbs and nutritional therapies may not block the messages which say that something is wrong, but they can help fix what is wrong so the tissues will no longer send messages of pain to the brain. In other words, they can help remove the cause of pain.
What causes pain?
It may be helpful to understand the mechanism that creates pain. When cells are damaged in any way, they release irritating substances into the surrounding tissues. These substances can directly stimulate nerve endings which send the message to the brain that damage has occurred in that part of the body. These substances will also create inflammation. By irritating the blood vessels they will cause the pores in the blood vessels to dilate (enlarge) and excess fluid will escape into the tissues. This creates swelling at the sight of injury. This diminishes blood flow to the area and the supply of oxygen to the tissues. This diminished blood flow and decrease in the amount of needed oxygen also causes pain.
Put simply, anytime you feel pain in a part of your body, it is a signal that:
1. There are irritating substances present (toxins as we commonly call them) and/or;
2. There is a diminished flow of blood and oxygen to that area of the body.
So, to relieve pain we have to help rid the body of these irritating substances (herbalists commonly call this “cleansing”) and increase the flow of blood and oxygen to the tissues. And that’s just what this website will teach us how to do.