Pain can be debilitating.

Our brains determine the pain we feel. Pain can come from many sources. Sometimes it is as easy as touching a hot stove. I inadvertently touched a hot screw that I stripped yesterday and got a small blister and a small amount of temporary pain.

Other times acute pain (feels sharp and starts suddenly), chronic pain (longer-lasting pain at a low intensity most of the time), nerve pain, soft tissue pain, bone pain, phantom pain, and more create problems because you might not be able to identify the source of that pain.

A sprain, a cut, a burn is isolated to a small area, and you know the area and probably the cause. We may experience migraine headaches and know the location, but not the cause. Doctors ought to treat causes, not symptoms. Yet, we know little about the origins of many health and medical problems.

Inflammatory processes alert the brain to impending pain from all areas of the body. COX-2 (cyclooxygenase-2) and 5-LOX (5-lipoxygenase) are two inflammatory processes in the body. Each requires a different type of anti-inflammatory to be fully effective. Treat the inflammatory process that tells your brain you have pain, and it might reduce your pain and improve your life.

AKBA (3-O-acetyl-11-keto-b-boswellic acid) binds directly to and selectively inhibits the 5-LOX. AKBA, in double-blind placebo-controlled tests, decreased swelling and pain in arthritic knee patients. Glucosamine sulfate and boron with AKBA made it more effective.

My research has found two compounds that can effectively inhibit the enzyme COX-2, and not affect COX-1 (cyclooxygenase-1). This is a significant deal in pain control. COX-1 is an enzyme that produces prostaglandins. These prostaglandins protect your stomach and intestinal linings and activate your platelets when needed.

The COX-1 enzyme is always active in your body. The COX-2 enzyme is present but left inactivated until inflammatory factors cause it to activate. Once activated, COX-2 is responsible for the pain, redness, heat, and soreness associated with swelling and inflamed joints.

COX-2 responds to gamma mangostin and curcumin. Gamma mangostin is a xanthone contained in the mangosteen fruit. Curcumin is found in turmeric, a spice in the ginger family. Curcumin is more bioavailable when used with piperine (black pepper extract). All the other compounds that I’ve researched have some level of impact on COX-1.

Pharmaceutical companies developed NSAIDs (non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs) to fight pain and inflammation (swelling). They found that NSAIDs inhibited the COX-2 enzyme, which is excellent. Still, they also inhibit the COX-1 enzyme, which is detrimental to your health – think bleeding ulcers in your stomach and gastrointestinal lining, not to mention other side effects.

COX-2 selective drugs were developed, which were ‘selective’ in fighting the COX-2 enzyme and had minimal effect on the COX-1 enzyme. However, the side effects became life-threatening, and the minimal effects were still stronger than desired. Celebrex is the only COX-2 selective drug available in the United States. Vioxx and Bextra were removed due to death, heart attacks, and strokes associated with long-term use.

Nutritional supplements which minimize symptoms associated with arthritic pain are glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, (MSM) methylsulfonylmethane, (SAMe) s-adenosyl-methionine, omega-3 fatty acids, ginger, bromelain, vitamin D3, astaxanthin, vitamin C, (EGCG) epigallocatechin gallate in green tea, niacinamide, resveratrol, coenzyme Q-10, (PQQ) pyrroloquinoline quinone, (NAC) n-acetylcysteine and (GLA) gamma-linolenic acid.

Many of these nutritional supplements don’t have side effects. However, in the presence of prescription drugs and/or other health problems, there may be severe consequences. As such, talk to your physician before starting a nutritional supplement to support your current arthritis managed care regimen.

Pain is not something we want to deal with 24/7. It destroys our quality of life. Don’t arbitrarily treat pain if you are already under a doctor’s care.

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