Thank you for your answers, everybody. From what I've heard and read, paleo people seem most interested in the following issues: sports injuries, pain from autoimmune disease, nightshades, inflammation, and posture. I started off my website with articles on nightshades, homeopathy, and bad pain conditions. I don't want to "market" the site or else I'd have to ban myself (location should be apparent in my profile), but if interesting paleo+pain issues come to you (like grace's mention of endocrine disrupters and PPAR agonists below) please do answer!
Chronic pain is a persistent signal from your brain telling you that something is wrong with your body.
Sometimes nothing much is wrong, but the signal is amplified for mysterious reasons. Sometimes nothing much is wrong, but your tissues are acting weird for mysterious reasons.
Many of these mysterious reasons can be tied to diet. I'm starting up a website in the next couple months to centralize peer-reviewed evidence on non-surgical approaches for pain. Approximately half of the treatments will be related to diet, and the evidence tends to conveniently fall on the side of paleo.
Which paleo / pain issues are you most interested in? Rank them if possible. I'll start with issues that garner the most interest and work my way down. Here are some that will definitely be in the queue:
Alright, I'll jump in first. How about past injuries, particularly musculoskeletal injuries? I feel that the injured among us are sometimes overlooked in the paleosphere. I'm always reading about these seminars in the woods of West Virginia or the glories of Crossfit and I'm thinking: wow, it would be nice to do that -- if my g*ddamned Achilles would heal!
I feel like everyone I know is trying to get along with some kind of athletic injury from their past: hamstring, back, knee, you name it. And yet I find surprisingly little discussion of this on paleo sites. Sure, there is general discussion of the theory behind it all, e.g., that we wouldn't have the problems we do if we hadn't been wearing the shoes we wear and hadn't been sitting in the cubicles we sit in. I like all of this and I agree with it. But there is not as much out there on "paleo rehabilitation." What are the specifically paleo ways to make this pain go away and get back into shape?
I suppose the reason for this relative absence could be that most people see good results for their inflammation when they switch to paleo. But I also suspect that there could be a silent, inflamed majority out there, wondering what to do.
(Although Richard Nikoley's recent post about pain was both welcome and fascinating: http://freetheanimal.com/2011/02/tension-myositis-syndrome-tms-can-your-mind-really-heal-your-back-neck-shoulder-butt-and-leg-pain.html)
So anyhow that's my vote, pain from past injuries.
Another possibly interesting thing could be the influence of carbs/fiber on Ankylositis Spondylans via the bateria Klebsiella (look for Ebringer). Peter at hyperlipid has some posts on this. I have a patient with fibromyalgia that follows the Ebringer 'dietary guidelines' with partial succes (partial maybe also because of difficulty in being 100% strict).
Inflammation and pain. My back, neck and shoulders pop and crack all of the time. I feel stiffness across my shoulders as well. I cant seem to shake it even though Ive dropped, standard Paleo foods as well as dairy, eggs, nightshades, nut and seeds (it is much better though).
Edit: If you could also explore red meat and inflammation/pain. I posted a UC article on here stating that red meat causes inflammation and it wasnt really debunked. My guess is they studies conventionally grown meat (I.E high omega 6) but itd be great to see this topic tackled.
I've been working with my own chronic pain for about 25 years (I'm 40). The things that are most on my pain radar right now are:
Contemplative practice has always been a major part of my strategy, so I'd love to see some work around that.
First of all: good luck with your plans!! Let us know when your website is up and working.
Pain is soooo very interesting, if you don't have any.
My paleo goggles have learned me a lot. Actually, I got to know the paleo diet through my own research on physical actvity, musculoskeletal health and pain. My interest in biology and my profession led me to the diet.
As a physical therapist, I only deal with musculoskeletal problems, and mainly non-rheumatic problems. Most of the pain/problems I treat are a consequence of how people use their bodies, or how they have used their bodies. That means they are mainly mechanical in nature, and not as much inflammatory. That is, following conventional wisdom.
Because every cell and every fibre in our body needs nourishment, diet must be important. And in rheumatology you will find more and more evidence of this, although the concept of paleo diet is not integrated, I have heard and seen elimination diets being more or less succesful. Guess what, gluten grains and dairy are the first things they eliminate.
Unfortunately I have not been able to change a lot of my patients eating behaviour, although I have a few who have made changes and are feeling differences.
Besides diet I think a lot of lifestyle issues could be adressed on your site, like the psychological and social mismatch between HG era and now, like the physical activity (over/under/other) and posture, like biophilia, sunlight, fresh air, like being on the internet all the time and being connected. I think even things like psychomotor development from babies and kids. Lots of things to cover.
Interesting blog by my absolute favourite pain researcher: http://bodyinmind.org.
Evolutionary medicine also has some interesting points, besides mismatch of diet, exercise and lifestyle. Randolf Nesse has some interesting papers about the smoke detector principle and the evolutionary survival value of our protection systems (pain, anxiety, ...). Trade offs rule in natural selection. Homo sapiens is not perfect.
Some suggested topics:
osteoarthritis and diet
statins that cause a lot of side effects, a major one being musculoskeletal pain!
shamanism and placebo/psychosomatics
Again, good luck and thanks already.
How about the activation of cold receptors for the treatment of chronic pain. It is an interesting new area of research on pain relief that appears to be independent of opioids. The best known cold receptor activator is menthol.
Cold comfort pharm. This paper is a good one to start with.
Cooling of the skin has long been thought to be beneficial in pain states but intense cold is clearly noxious. Does cooling lead to pain or gain? Rapid progress in this controversy has been made since the discovery of specific ion channels of the transient receptor potential (TRP) family that are activated by cooling of sensory nerve cells to below body temperature. This review focuses on the role of one of these, TRPM8, which has been implicated in cool sensation and cold pain by recent knockout mouse studies, but remarkably also appears capable of eliciting a novel analgesic gating control over noxious inputs in chronic pain states. We discuss hypothetical mechanisms that could bring about this composite profile. It is clear that new and highly selective agents will need to be developed to further evaluate the potential therapeutic opportunities offered by low temperature sensitive TRP channels.
How much pain relief can be obtained by topical application of menthol to the skin is unknown and maybe drugs will have to be developed. Capsaicin in peppers and Isothiocyanates wasabi may also have similar effects.
This is epic Kamal. I look forward to you masterpiece and the learning journey!!
--PPAR agonists-- fatty acids incl sat fats and fish oil. mthis is why i am a big fan of the multitalented omega3 which remap our cellular xommunication via the membranes and action potentials as well as controlling NFkB via PPAR and other nuclear mechanisms
--thyroid-personally i have observed several cases of fibromyalgia pain (and the corresponding mood disorders) improve 50-80% by appropriate improvements in thyroid function (and related thyroid parameters eg adrenals, vitamind D status, omega3, mag/zn/se). pain is brain and nervous system perception and thyroid and ALL the hormones affect the nervous system i have discovered
--GLA and ALA the 'good' omega 6 and the overlooked shorter chained omega3, respectively
--progesterone, dhea, preg, T, estriol
--avoidance of endocrine disruptors, live in the most polluted times and this translates to disrupted hormones, thyroids, leptin/insulin resistance, visceral fat, sarcopenia, damaged mitochondria, and elevated silent inflammation.
I take a daily prescription medication for chronic pain. I have chiari malformation (thanks mom!) and have had bad headaches since I was about 12. In layman's terms, chiari is when the base of your brain is too big for your skull and so it will push your brain and brainstem downward. My mom had pretty intense surgery for it back in 2006, but so far mine has only manifested as headaches on the left side of the base of my skull. Since I was young (maybe 12-14?) I would basically eat ibuprofen like candy...but it never helped. Finally when I was about 21 or so I went to a new doctor, he did some scans and diagnosed it and put me on a nerve blocker. I've been taking it about 7 years now and it helps immensely.
Since going paleo my headaches do seem less frequent and less severe. I'm not sure if I equal it to any certain thing being eliminated. Celiac disease runs in my family (mom again!) and while I've been tested and told I don't have it, I'm sure I have an intolerance of some sort. I did notice that when I would eat some dairy after being strict paleo for a month or so, I would have really bad joint pain. Which going paleo had previously eliminated, so you may want to look into the dairy/pain relation on your website as well.
I love your website idea. I can't tell you how many times I've googled "paleo + chiari malformation" just to see if anyone else who has chiari has switched to paleo and noticed a difference. Having a pain website to visit, like you described, sounds awesome! :)
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