Blog – Helios Academy

Blog @ Helios Academy

Release Pain Naturally

NATURAL PAIN RELIEF: a novel approach

A simple way to release pain from trigger points

Most of us will suffer from stiff, achy muscles and tendons and can trace the pain back to painful “knots” in various parts of our bodies. This aching may last for a long time, even after applying various forms of treatment and using anti-inflammatories. While most of these aches will heal over time without treatment, the process is often slow and debilitating. In some cases, a lack of early intervention can lead to more serious symptoms, and temporary or permanent disability. Sadly, people often take little or no remedial action, most often because the costs of manual therapy can be prohibitive.

The good news is that the vast majority of this type of chronic pain can be treated simply and effectively by addressing the root cause, the irritated nervous system. Indeed, this kind of pain has been attributed to the activation of Trigger Points, hyperirritable spots in the fascia surrounding skeletal muscle. They are associated with palpable nodules in taut bands of muscle fibers often tender to touch.[1] The term itself was coined in 1942 by Drs. Travell and Simons, who hold that most of the common everyday pain is caused by myofascial trigger points and that ignorance of that basic concept could inevitably lead to false diagnoses and the ultimate failure to deal effectively with pain.[11]

How does the hyperirritability happen?

It involves the peripheral nervous system and the neurotransmitters that acts as its agents. The theory is that trigger points form from excessive release of acetylcholine, which overstimulates muscle fibers and causes them to contract for excessive periods of time. This in turn will compress local blood supply and restrict the energy needs of the local region, and thus cause pain. Indeed, the trigger point has been found to have an abnormal biochemical composition with elevated concentrations of acetylcholine, noradrenaline and serotonin.[12] (Travell and Simons 1999)

Trigger points form in muscles as a local contraction in a small number of muscle fibers inside of a larger muscle. These in turn can pull on tendons and ligaments associated with the muscle and can cause pain even deep within a joint where there are no muscles.
Once one of these trigger points is activated, it can elicit pain not only in its own surrounding but further out in other parts of the body. This would be experienced as “referred pain”. The activation of TP’s gives rise to a distinct pattern of pain that can be predictably mapped out. Indeed, Drs. Travell and Simons have created a very precise map of the pattern of distribution, activation and radiation of pain.

Trigger point pain is usually experienced as a deep aching, sometimes sharp especially with deep palpation. Movement and pressure may make the pain worse. The intensity of pain will vary according factors such as:

• The degree of trigger point irritability
• The site of trigger point (some areas are more sensitive)
• Any associated tissue damage
• How long the trigger point has already been activated

Activation of trigger points may be caused by a number of factors, including acute or chronic muscle overload, activation by other trigger points that cause a chain reaction, psychological distress (via systemic inflammation), direct trauma to the region, radiculopathy (irritability of a nerve root) , infections and various other health issues.

What can be done about it?

Trigger point therapy uses a variety of techniques to “deactivate” these painful knots and make them disappear.

What is one trying to accomplish?

The primary goals are as follows:
– reduce the pain and spasticity
– lessen the pain feedback pathways . Yes, whenever we are working with the nervous system, we are always dealing with feedback loops that keep certain processes activated. In this particular case, we want to INTERRUPT the feedback loop so that the activation can be TURNED OFF.
– stimulate the blood supply helping to remove debris and toxins from the area.
– encourage the release of powerful pain-killing endorphins and prevent their breakdown for more long-lasting effectiveness.
To this date, the primary approach of “trigger point therapy” uses physical techniques, which definitely have their validity. The main idea is to
– stretch out tight muscles, which will indirectly affect other tissues
– open out the plastic-wrap-like myofascial bag that surrounds your muscles
These methods are excellent but often need to be repeated over longer stretches of time and require the help of a well-trained practitioner.

At the Helios Academy for Wellness, we are offering a novel approach to the treatment of pain caused by the activation of trigger points.

We base our approach on the concept that aspects of the peripheral nervous system are overstimulated and use the topical application of amino acids and neurotransmitters as a way to downregulate the activation and accomplish all goals mentioned above with the use of 2 topical creams.

The method

– is highly effective in reducing even chronic pain
– reduces pain in a remarkably short period of time.
– leads to long-lasting results
– has no toxic side effects
– engenders a greater overall sense of well-being.

How does it accomplish that? Please stay tuned for our next post.

by Angela Ingendaay, M.D.



PAIN and the BRAIN

Natural pain relief through Endorphins

Chronic pain is intensively difficult to bear and treat. Luckily, there are multiple factors that can modulate and ease the experience. Looking at what happens in our brain when we have pain can help us to find solutions to this gnawing problem.

Of course, pain is a self protective mechanism. It allows us to sense that there is something wrong or harmful going on in our bodies that we need to attend to. It prevents us form overstepping our boundaries and thereby make the problem worse. But many people with chronic pain are plagued by an ongoing perception of pain that may or may not have a physiological basis.

Research has shown that the perception of pain can indeed be modulated in the brain. In fact, the brain can suppress the sensation of pain through a “gate” in the spinal cord. And the mind may decide the degree to which the “gate” is open, which therefore influences the amount of pain we actually experience. Thus the mind and the brain have some level of control…

The brain exerts this control via certain neurotransmitters, primarily serotonin, GABA and the endorphins. These are the molecules of natural pain relief. Unfortunately, chronic pain itself and multiple other stressors, especially if combined with a low protein diet, can deplete their production and thus make the problem worse.

Let’s have a look for a moment at the endorphins. We all know that exercise, laughter and joy, and a variety of “peak experiences” can release endorphins, and that this is associated with a wonderful “high”. They are the body’s own form of morphine and actually thousands of times stronger. Chronic pain sufferers, however, typically become significantly deficient in their endorphin-producing capacity. This makes it more difficult for them to find natural pain relief. And what’s more, even if these patients are already on opioid medications, they still need to produce their own endorphins activity to support their effectiveness. Thus supporting the body’s production of endorphins can be critically beneficial.

There are several ways to raise one’s capacity to produce endorphins. First of all, it is essential to have a high protein diet that provides the necessary amino acids. To raise and sustain endorphin levels, daily protein consumption should be at least 30 grams, three times per day. A supplement of all 22 amino acids at 700 mg 3x/d can also be very helpful for natural pain relief.

In addition, there is an amino acid, d-phenylalanine (DPA), that slows the action of the enzymes that degrade the endorphins.4-7 Unfortunatley, our endorphins are constantly being broken down. If we can manage to slow this process down, pain can diminish within twenty-four hours. In certain pain clinics that use more natural methods, pain relief has been witnessed within ten minutes after the ingestion of as little as 500mg of DPA.

The usual dose in chronic pain patients is 500-2000mg of d-phenylalanine, two to four times a day. This will optimize natural pain relief. I recommend starting with 500-1000 mg and increase the dose as desired.

There is a further refinement to this method: instead of taking DPA, one may wish to consider taking DLPA, a form of the amino acid that is bound to l-phenylalanine (LPA). LPA is an essential amino acid used by the body to create a number of vital compounds, including l-dopa, dopamine, norepinephrine, adrenalin, and thyroid hormone. DPA is quite a lot better at preventing the breakdown of endorphins, but DLPA is more energizing as it is involved with a larger variety of neurotransmitters. It is also more readily available in health food stores.

For anxious or agitated patients, DLPA can sometimes be experienced as overly stimulating, while more mood-stable patients find it to be both pain-relieving and energy-enhancing. The usual recommended DLPA dose is: 1000-2000mg, three times a day. I recommend to start at a dose of 750-1000 mg and go up from there to accomplish the desired result without getting overstimulated. It is best to not consume after 4 pm to not interfere with restful sleep.

Although this will not completely end the pain, it will help the brain to modulate it to the best of its ability. We will look at the other two neurotransmitters, Serotonin and GABA in a future post. We will also look at a variety of more psychological techniques that can help to ease pain. Many of these are based on Eastern traditions, as these inherently have a deep understanding of our innate ability to release pain.