If you have mysterious pain in your joints, muscles, and ligaments that seems to come out of nowhere, you are not alone: many people throughout the world face such issues, which are often disabling. Thousands of people per year visit their doctor in hopes of isolating the cause of such pain; most of them have tried traditional and over-the-counter remedies for joint pain to no avail.
Joint pain can be caused by a variety of accidents or existing conditions: it can be the consequence of a fall, structural issues, twisted ligaments, pulled muscles, or an underlying inflammatory condition, among other possibilities. These obvious causes are easily diagnosed by conventional methods. However, pain can also appear spontaneously, with no apparent cause and clean medical workup, making the etiology uncertain. Such pain can be associated with Adrenal Fatigue.
For those who suffer from Adrenal Fatigue, some of this pain might be migratory. Migratory pain is a type of pain that moves throughout the body with no discernible pattern. One day you may feel pain in the right side of your body, but the next day you may feel it in the left side. All too often, this type of mobile pain of unknown origin comes with underlying symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue and does not usually respond to typical remedies for joint pain, baffling doctors and many other medical practitioners.
After telling your doctor about the pain you are experiencing, he or she will likely perform a variety of tests, perhaps including an x-ray scan. More often than not, the results may seem perfectly normal, and yet the pain persists. Your doctor may decide that you have fibromyalgia, however, your pain may actually be due to Adrenal Fatigue. In those with Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS), the body is in a state of tiredness caused by advanced and chronic stress. This stress strains the adrenal glands and disrupts the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) stress response, which is the body’s main mechanism of dealing with stress.
The NEM stress response is a complex system in which organs and bodily systems work together to protect the body from excessive stress. The system includes six types of stress responses: inflammatory, neuro-active, cardiac, hormonal, metabolic, and detoxifying. Together, these responses work to restore the body’s normal function during times of heavy stress. It is important that remedies for joint pain do not disrupt this complex system.
The adrenal glands are the main control center for stress responses outside the nervous system. Your body has two adrenal glands, which are about the size of a walnut, located directly above the kidneys. They control your body’s responses by secreting cortisol, a hormone that helps your body cope with stress. Properly functioning adrenal glands are a keystone to overall health and wellbeing. Due to today’s high-stress society, however, this natural defense can easily become disrupted, allowing toxins to accumulate and do great damage to the body. Excessive and chronic stress can overburden the adrenal glands, inhibiting hormone output and causing the body’s natural coping mechanisms to fail.
As stress and fatigue advance, new symptoms and ailments associated with Adrenal Fatigue will emerge. Early stage symptoms include low blood pressure, insomnia, and lethargy; advanced stage symptoms include anxiety, panic disorders, heart palpitations, low libido, hypersensitivities to medication, and food sensitivities. All of these symptoms can negatively affect your daily life. Eventually, as the NEM stress response fails, even the smallest bodily stresses can seem unbearable because your body’s natural coping mechanisms have been slowed and overloaded.
The liver is the body’s primary detoxification organ, aided by the extracellular matrix. A buildup of toxins and metabolites will therefore occur when the liver slows down to conserve energy. This is the body’s way of conserving the nutritional reserves it has left. As your body slows down, your liver becomes more sluggish and levels of toxins and metabolites increase, often leading to inflammation. These toxins accumulate and are not eliminated efficiently. This accumulation causes many other problems because the blood circulates these metabolites throughout the body constantly and rapidly, with a one-minute cycle.
Some of these metabolites can be quite toxic to the body. These metabolites may trigger inflammation, which in turn can trigger pain. Upon reaching the joints, these metabolites may become “stuck,” meaning they are slow to move through the joints and muscles. If your joints or muscles are already inflamed, the toxins and metabolites will further irritate the muscles, causing additional inflammation.
The Inflammation Circuit consists of the gut, microbiome, and immune system. The gastrointestinal tract and microbiome play an important role in breaking down and absorbing metabolites. If you are constantly eating unhealthy foods that your body can’t handle, you may trigger inflammatory responses. If you are constipated, and food is rotting in your intestines for long periods of time, then you are at higher risk of inflammation. This inflammation causes pain in random places because of the buildup of metabolites in the bloodstream. This also slows the immune system, because it has to deal with the extra toxins, compounding the inflammation.
If you experience migrating pain, this is an important clue that the cause of the pain may be metabolic, rather than structural (such as the strain of a ligament or muscle, which is usually more confined to a certain area). If you experience a dull to slightly severe pain of unknown origin that seems to migrate throughout the body and no one can seem to give you a direct answer as to the cause, you may be suffering from Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. Consider metabolites, examine your stress levels, and investigate your diet, including supplements. In rare cases, some medications and supplements—even those often used as a remedies for joint pain—can trigger inflammation that is fundamentally caused by Adrenal Fatigue. Pain medications may help temporarily, but they tend to hide the underlying condition, and can cause collateral damage. Remember, pain is a sign of an underlying problem. Suppressing or ignoring pain can cause long-term damage if the cause is not addressed.
Joint pain of unknown origin can cause a myriad of debilitating problems, including the additional stress of trying to find effective remedies for joint pain. It can be a scary and confusing time, especially when test results show no abnormalities and your doctor can’t figure out what’s wrong. It’s important to find and address the cause of the inflammation. If you experience other concurring symptoms similar to those of Adrenal Fatigue, find a practitioner who can support your NEM stress response. Proper restorative strategies will help your body cope with both the stress and the pain.
© Copyright 2016 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.