Chronic pain, neuropathic pain, acute pain. Pain from chronic illnesses like Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy, fibromyalgia and even autoimmune diseases like Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. All these and more, can create intense and long lasting pain states. Such states reduce wellbeing, brain capacity, mood, and clarity & focus. Is there a way you can help relieve pain and inflammation, without negatively affecting your mental ability or overall health? What if there was a natural pain relief? IS PEA natural pain relief that ticks all the boxes?
How to heal pain and reduce inflammation… naturally
Pain, as you likely know, can be debilitating! Even “regular” things, like back pain, can leave you exhausted, irritable, depressed… As the body compensates for misalignments, minor injuries, repetitive movements, and pain. Our muscles become stretched, strained and tense. This then leads to reduced mobility, discomfort and pain.
When you suffer pain, your movement patterns change. Consiquently, more energy is used to keep you upright and moving, so fatigue is common. Periods of pain and fatigue “fray” your nerves. This stress reduces your ability to cope, leaving you irritable and on edge.
The emotional effect of pain can become disheartening – even fear inducing. Fears such as, ‘this is the way I’ll be forever’, or ‘if I’m like this now, what does that mean for the future? The more intense the pain, or the longer it goes on, the more likely it is that you suffer not only exhaustion and irritability, but also depression.
But, Chronic Pain, pain from chronic illnesses, nerve pain, and a hyper-sensitised nervous system, is on a whole other level. These pains can be intense and excruciating. They are often constant, with moments or periods of even more severe, sharp and agonising pain. They can acutely affect sleep, mood, ability, motivation and more.
Chronic and neuropathic pain
Sharp, shooting and stinging nerve pain is notoriously difficult to treat. Often, doctors can only watch on, helpless. And sufferers feel unheard, diminished and not even believed. Leaveing sufferers feeling alone, with more fears, anxiety and hopelessness, which in fact, has been proven to worsen or intensify the sensation of pain.
Traditional forms of treatment
Traditionally, doctors aim to identify the cause. But if they can’t find a clear cause, or if surgery is not an option, or worse, it won’t help, they have limited options.
Strong pain medications
Codeine, opioids, NSAIDs and the like are regularly used. But in many situations, medications are a poor answer. Even when adverse effects, addictions, abuse, and the constant need to increase dosage are ignored, pain can still be felt.
In fact, drugs like morphine can even stop having any benefit at all.
Doctors, unfortunately in their helplessness, can allow the sufferer to feel the issue is “all in their head” or “made up”. As a seemingly last resort, they will refer to chronic pain clinics. The focus here is often on supporting people “to live with the pain”. A sufferer of such pain has no option but to do exactly that. Being told to “just breathe” or “meditate” or “not worry that the pain is there”, can feel… frankly, not good enough.
Chronic pain clinics
These clinics offer various approaches that can and DO help people with chronic pain deal better, even though the pain is always present. This does not lessen their predicament.
Is there a “NEW” way?
Only recently has a natural substance called “Palmitoylethanolamide” (PEA) become more commonly available. Its potential benefits are being discussed with enthusiasm. So, maybe we can learn a little more about PEA natural pain relief.
But what is PEA and why should you take note?
PEA natural pain relief
Naturally found in
PEA is a fatty substance (a fatty acid amide molecule), present in protein sources like
- egg yolk
Naturally produced in your body
Within your body, PEA is produced on demand, in response to injury and inflammation. This is an incredible part of your self-healing mechanism. Research shows this substance is used up in patients with chronic pain. In essence, creating a deficiency. In such situations, adding supplemental PEA appears to be of great benefit.
It was first described in the literature in the 1950s for its immune balancing properties, and was initially used to treat cold and flu symptoms. Dr. Levi-Montalcini, a Nobel laureate, demonstrated in the early 1990s that PEA could alter the link between mast cell activation and nerve growth factors, resulting in anti-inflammatory effects.
The inflammation process
We now know that when brain immune cells (mast and glial cells) are activated. They cause an inflammatory cascade in both the peripheral and central nervous systems. This cascade begins or maintains the transition to chronic pain and nervous system sensitisation.
This sensitisation sets the body up to being hyper pain sensitive, even just to touch. As well as creating the feeling of pain both at the original site of injury, and distant from it (referred).
In chronic pain conditions, the original site of injury is no longer injured or the cause of the pain! The nervous system has created a state in which “normal” stimuli like…
…can activate the pain pathway, resulting in pain. And often the sufferer alters their movement and “ability” levels accordingly.
How does PEA work?
Reduce Immune Cell Response
PEA reduces inflammation by inhibiting the infiltration of the immune cells (mast and glial). Pain will be reduced if inflammation is reduced (the reason anti-inflammatory drugs are available as pain relief)
Aside from its direct anti-inflammatory effects. It also regulates gene activity, allowing it to reduce both pain and inflammation.
Further, it acts on the endo-cannabinoid receptors in the brain, to de-sensitise neurons. Giving pain relief (via CB1 receptors), as well as anti-inflammatory effects (on the CB2 receptors).
Endo… what now?
Wait…. Cannabinoid, you mean cannabis/weed… that CBD oil stuff??
In fact, the brain contains cannabinoid receptors, which were named this, because cannabis, or marijuana, activates them. These receptors are involved in the brain’s healing, anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving pathways. And it is likely the way that medicinal cannabis helps sufferers with pain and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder…
Cannabis contains many chemicals, called cannabinoids. One of these is Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Medical cannabis may or may not have THC present. It is the THC that creates the psychedelic effect. Cannabidiol is one of hundreds of other cannabinoids found in cannabis, and is the main component of CBD oil. Read more on hemp seeds.
Notably, activating your body’s endo-cannabinoid pathway does not have any psychedelic or hallucinogenic effects.
Certainly food for thought… How exciting would it be if PEA natural pain relief could work for you too?
What are the benefits of taking PEA?
The key takeaway is that PEA is a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive (pain-relieving) agent.
- Other pain relief drugs only have 1 pathway by which they act to reduce pain, while PEA has 3!
- None of the 3 ways PEA works is the same as the pathways that other pain-relieving medications work
- Unlike some pain medications, it is non-addictive
- Most people tolerate it well
- There are zero:
- Side effects
- Contra-indications (reasons it cannot be used)
- Drug interactions that are harmful (so it can work with other medications, includingother forms of pain relief, including Morphine)
- Can be used in conjunction with other, traditional pain medications
- Can be used even when opioid drugs have stopped working
- People who react to or do not benefit from anti-convulsive or anti-neuropathic drugs for NERVE pain may still benefit from this treatment.
- Large-scale studies on sciatica and carpal tunnel syndrome have had success with PEA supplementation.
3 Things stand out for me here
Found naturally in food
Created naturally in your body and
Works to reduce inflammation and pain signals and has been found to be useful in many, notoriously difficult, pain states… So, PEA could be a step in your natural pain relief program.
Other potential benefits of PEA
Protects Nerve health and function
It may also benefit nerve health and function by acting on the myelin sheath (the fatty insulation around the nerves). This could be a very exciting discovery for diseases that directly affect nerve function.
Is neuroprotective and an anticonvulsant
Besides anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. PEA has been shown to have neuroprotective (good for brain health) and anticonvulsant properties.
Conditions PEA has shown promise for
Due to its immune and anti-inflammatory effects on the brain, it has proven to be beneficial in mental health. It can be useful in all types of chronic pain situations (including nerve pain states, chronic diseases, joint or muscle related pain). Including:
- Neuropathic pain and symptoms
- Peripheral neuropathies such as diabetic neuropathy
- Chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Prostate pain
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Sciatic pain
- Dental pain
- Lower back pain
- Failed back surgery syndrome
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Post herpetic neuralgia (most commonly post Shingles complications)
- Menstrual Pain
- Vaginal pain
A perfect accompaniment with PEA
B Vitamin deficiency can result in symptoms such as wobbly gait (walking) and sensation changes such as
- numbness (usually in the hands and/or feet).
Vitamin B1 in particular can disturb nerve function, causing or exacerbating neuropathy and nerve pain. Deficiencies in B1 and B vitamins in general are common, especially in the elderly. Using PEA in conjunction with B vitamins can optimise results.
Generally, it can take 3-6 weeks to start taking effect. At around 3 months, it seems to reach its greatest effect, meaning it is important to be consistent.
Taking a higher dose for the first month may speed up results. If you often react to foods or medications, begin with caution, so start at a lower dose for a few days.
Talk to your health practitioner for personal advice. Use only as directed. While it may be okay to take longer, the recommendation is to take it for 3 months only. So it’s important to follow up with your health practitioner.
As it is already naturally produced in your body, it seems to avoid side effects that are common in other pain medication. And given it works in multiple ways to reduce inflammation and pain signals. PEA is an exciting “new” way to support people with many different pain conditions.
If you suffer from:
- chronic pain
- neuropathic pain
- stubborn pain
- peripheral or central neuropathy
- or take strong pain medications regularly
Talk to your health practitioner to see if PEA may be useful for you. If this information stands out, as important for you, it might be worth trying, to see if you find PEA natural pain relief too!
Blossoming Me offers a fully integrated approach to your wellbeing. Located on Sydney’s Upper North Shore. Alexis, our qualified Osteopath, offers a drug free, minimally invasive, “hands on” treatment focusing on the musculoskeletal system with its associated muscles, tendons, ligaments, membranes, bones and joints. Alexis takes a functional approach. This means that she focuses on the way a component (body part, tissue or group of tissues) performs its role, as well as the way the body works, performs and integrates as a whole.
Our remedial masseuse and health and lifestyle coach Sarah, offers complimentary support to help relieve those problematic knots, tightness and other specific ailments to promote a healthy recovery. These alternate massage therapies can be combined to suit your needs, including: shiatsu, acupressure, reiki, body mind massage or Swedish. Our team can support you to improve your posture and therefore your overall health.
**Disclaimer** The information provided by BlossomingMe, on our website, in our courses, and in our blogs and posts, is for educational and informational purposes only. The information provided on this site and social outlets is not, nor intended to be, a substitute for profess
ional advice or care. Please seek the advice of a qualified health professional before you make any changes to your health regime, before dealing with new symptoms, and, if something you have read here has raised any questions or concerns regarding your situation.