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Chronic pain is an affliction that haunts about one-third of the American adult population – which is well over 100 million people. (1) Chronic pain is a major consequence of a sedentary lifestyle and a lack of exercise. Many people find that they cannot find the right amount of exercise, as sometimes overdoing it even a little can trigger another episode of chronic pain.
There are many theories regarding relief of chronic pain and, in the end, it requires bringing the whole body into balance. Digestive concerns can cause poor circulation and lymph congestion, which can exacerbate muscular or joint pain. (2,3) Stress and one’s emotional health is also linked to spikes in joint and muscle pain. (4)
In this article, I want to discuss the mechanism underlying physical pain and provide strategies for those of you who deal with this on a daily basis. Whether the pain is caused by stress, emotions, overuse or lack of use, the culprit that distresses muscles and joints more often than not is decreased blood flow. Blood vessels constrict in all of these situations, rendering the muscle fibers and the joint capsules with less-than-adequate blood flow. This circulation constriction causes the lymph vessels in the muscles and around the joints to congest, resulting in a back-up of waste and toxins that can build up in the joints or muscles. (3)
The outcome of a compromised blood supply and congested lymphatic vessels around the joints and within the muscles is the production of a tougher tissue that does not require much blood to survive. It is called fibrous tissue or scar tissue, which is tough and non-elastic. This renders the muscles and joints stiff and ridged. If fibrous tissue builds up, movement like exercise can cause this tissue to tear, injure and cause pain.
To help prevent or reverse this process, slow, gentle yoga or Tai Chi exercises can gradually break up the scar tissue and help restore the blood and lymph flow to and from both the muscles and joints.
Address the Cause of the Pain
Many people take pain medication, such as ibuprofen, to reduce the sensation of pain, but it doesn’t actually address the cause of the pain. Boswellia is an herb that may address the fibrous tissue accumulation associated with pain while blocking the 5-lipo-oxygenase pathway that is linked to muscle and joint pain. (5) It is also used to support the health of the intestinal skin. (6,7)
Boswellia seems to work by increasing blood supply to the muscles and joints that are in pain. Instead of just blocking the pain, it may break up the protective scar tissue, enhance blood supply and increase the elasticity of the muscles and joints. (3,4)
Turmeric is also a powerful inhibitor of the 5-Lipo-oxygenase pathway, and supports the health of the cartilage that lines the joints. It has been shown to help lubricate the joints as well as support the natural production of collagen and elastin in the muscles and joints, which are sometimes overtaken by pain-inducing fibrous tissue. (5)
Both turmeric and boswellia are difficult to assimilate and, thus, are often offered in the form of an extract. While extracts have their place, the body can build a tolerance to them and they lack the natural microbes that may support much of the herbal intelligence of the herbs. (10)
Traditionally, boswellia was combined with turmeric, ginger and ashwagandha to boost assimilation and clinical effectiveness. Turmeric was combined with black pepper in a ratio of 16:1, and that combination increased its absorption by a whopping 2000%. (11)
Check out my free podcast, “Say Goodbye To Your Aches & Pains,” to learn more on this topic.