Pain is your enemy. Pain is your friend.

Pain is your enemy? Pain is your friend?

Confused yet?

Having pain all over can be even more confusing and there are no shortage of choices available for how to handle pain.

The problem that persists is the mystery of what is causing pain.

There are essentially two types of pain: Acute and Chronic. Acute pain is from a sudden insult to tissue which triggers an immediate response. Special nerve endings alert us to things that could hurt us. This is a good thing necessary to keep us alive. Getting poked, bitten, scratched, hit, burned, crunched or squeezed sets of an emergency response system designed to allow us to stop potential damage before it gets worse.

But what about pain that doesn’t go away that some people call chronic pain? Since the body adapts and heals all the time, how can it be that there is pain even though we aren’t being bumped, bashed or bit?

The answer to that chronic pain question is actually in the cause of pain itself.

Chronic pain is the result of a busy and over-active immune system. The immune system is the “fight and fix” system and it is your friend. Unfortunately, if something in the body persists that looks like a problem requiring “fighting or fixing”, the immune system will stay activated. This is chronic pain.

Your body will give a sensation of pain if it is not satisfied that body tissues are in good working order. The brain and immune system will work non-stop to fix problems and fight foreign invaders. Alas, pain accompanies this process so that the help the immune system is providing does not get undone. It can be bothersome just like construction during heavy traffic or it can become severe like a blaring, intolerable fire alarm.

So… what to do? Cover up the annoying fire alarm? Drive around the construction barrels onto peoples’ lawns? This is the common approach pain relievers offer though they come with a price. Masking acute pain is a great thing but masking chronic pain leads to further tissue damage and other problems such as drug side-effects or addiction.

Gratefully, the field of Functional Medicine was born. Functional medicine is designed to locate the CAUSE of things that CAUSE chronic inflammation. Some of these causes are:

Food Sensitivities

Heavy metals



Leaky Gut Syndrome

Vitamin Deficiencies

The immune system needs all the weapons and building materials required to finish a job otherwise it will be perpetually busy and can create a state of chronic pain due to chronic immune system activity.

Naturopathic, Holistic and Functional Medicine doctors are most likely to look for the causes to chronic pain. Interestingly, a leading Functional Medicine area in the United States is in Troy, Michigan just outside of Detroit, Michigan

Holistic, Naturopathic and Functional medicine doctors will commonly take an approach different than just prescribing or suggesting something to cover up the symptoms of chronic pain. Oftentimes, they will use specialty tests to look for things that can perpetually disturb the immune system and then order specialty tests to uncover the cause of the pain.

Some specialty tests that can reveal sources of chronic pain are:

Heavy Metal tests which capture and measure the amount and type of inflammation-producing metals in urine.

Food Sensitivity tests which determine what foods are causing chronic, low-level inflammation leading to chronic pain.

Gut wall testing which analyzes stool samples in order to assess the integrity of the walls of the intestines which control the intensity of the immune system just like a thermostat controls the temperature in a house.

Vitamin and Mineral tests obtained from blood or urine that can tell what a person needs to function normally.

Environmental toxin tests using urine samples in order to determine what poisons have built up in the body.

Again, these are holistic, naturopathic and alternative-type tests you may not find in an ordinary doctor’s office. Locating a Functional Medicine, Holistic or Natural Doctor is not easy sometimes but look around as the field is growing.

Finding and eliminating the source of chronic pain is not always easy but by utilizing Holistic, Naturopathic and Functional Medicine-type doctors, you can have a refreshing break from masking important symptoms with toxic drugs.

Keep an eye out for Holistic, Functional Medicine and Naturopathic doctors. If you need help, please contact us at Back to Health Natural Solutions in Troy, Michigan and we will find someone near you or help you ourselves virtually.

About the author: Dr. Daniel J. Farkas, DC, CFMP is a Certified Functional Medicine practitioner, a member of the Gluten-Free Society and a drug-free pain physician. He current lives and practices in Troy, Michigan. 

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