Updated: Jan 23
Neuroinflammation and Pain
Welcome to ACMCRN's April 2022 monthly blog. This blog is about inflammation and the pain that arises from the inflammatory process. All pain regardless of its origin can be attributed to inflammation and the inflammatory response, whether it is sharp, dull, aching, burning, stabbing, numbing or tingling.
For Arachnoiditis, controlling neuro-inflammation is key to controlling pain and preventing (or slowing) the progression. If the inflammatory response is uncontrolled or persists for an extended period of time, it can contribute to disease such as endocrine system fatigue and Intractable Pain Syndrome (IPS)
The brain, spinal cord, and neurons make up the central nervous system and is protected by the blood brain barrier (BBB). The BBB protects the pristine environment of the spinal cord from potentially toxic substances in the blood. In order to control neuro-inflammation, medications and supplements must cross the blood brain barrier (BBB).
In order to effectively treat Arachnoiditis, a three component protocol is necessary. The first component, and what this blog is mainly about, is treating neuro-inflammation. The second component is tissue regeneration, and lastly treating the pain. Inflammation and pain are related so I need to talk about both of them. However, I plan on doing a blog with the focus being on pain control agents in depth next month, including alternative methods.
The main agent for controlling neuro-inflammation is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory or NSAID. There are four NSAID’s that cross the BBB most effectively; Toradol (ketorolac), indomethacin, diclofenac, and meloxicam. Unfortunately, most physicians are reluctant to prescribe certain anti-inflammatories. Since NSAID’s are so hard on the body, it’s understandable, but most of us can benefit from low doses administered one to three days a week. Dr. Tennant, a leading researcher on arachnoiditis and intractable pain, recently put out a Bulletin 83 – Administration of Four Consistent Agents for AA that you might find helpful.
In addition to NSAIDS, supplements are a great way to help control neuro-inflammation. I've found the challenge is finding the right supplement and the right dosage. This is a time consuming process. It can take months to see the full effect of a supplement, but generally a month or two will give you an idea of its efficacy. It's taken me three years to find my own personal protocol, and even so, I'm still adding and removing supplements as my condition evolves. Please check out our Starting Point page to learn more about getting started on own protocol.
The next subject is intractable pain syndrome (IPS). Fortunately for us, Dr. Tennant did extensive research on IPS and has some great chronicles on IPS at his website. The main point of his research is that when chronic intractable pain (24/7) pain is left uncontrolled it will eventually deplete your endocrine system and damage the neurotransmitter-receptors that normally work to control pain. This is where supporting your body's natural ability to control pain with supplements becomes important and to effectively control the neuro-inflammation and pain.
Here are some important bulletins to learn more about IPS and what supplements help repair the neurotransmitter-receptors.
Chronicle 69 – IPS Update 2021: Part 1 – transformation and definition
Chronicle 70 – IPS Update 2021: Part 2 – recognition of IPS
Chronicle 71 – IIPS Update 2021: Part 3 – necessity of diagnostic testing
Chronicle 72 – IPS Update 2021: Part 4 – coping with opioid restrictions
Chronicle 73 – IPS Update 2021: Part 5 – opioid surrogates and potentiators
Most of us with Arachnoiditis have experienced what we call a flare-up and I’ve been asked what that is many times over the years. A flare-up is when you experience an increase in neurological symptoms such as burning stabbing, shooting pain or other neurological symptoms. In addition, you might experience increased difficulty walking, weakness, bowel/bladder dysfunction, joint pain, or jerks and tremors plus a general feeling of fatigue and difficulty concentrating. This is what we commonly refer to as a "flare up" and getting this under control is paramount to healing. During these times it’s best to take a look at your endocrine system which is profoundly affected by IPS.
It’s recommended that you get a blood test to check levels for hormones, inflammatory markers, glucose, and cholesterol. Inflammatory Markers blood test should include: ESR, CRP, cytokines.
Hormone tests should include cortisol, DHEA, pregnenolone, testosterone. It should be noted that hormone levels peak in the morning and decrease during the day. The lowest levels are in the evening, which explains why so many of us have more pain at night. The hormone levels are restored at night while we sleep. So many of us have issues sleeping due to the pain and that’s why it’s essential that you do everything that you can do to get to sleep. I personally have an arsenal of things. I use both prescription (sparingly) and nonprescription sleeping pills, Benadryl, melatonin, ashwagandha powder, and teas such as chamomile and lavender. I personally don’t have any luck with marijuana, but many people do.
Here are some great resources:
Dr. Tennant's bulletin on the recommended blood tests: https://www.acmcrn.org/_files/ugd/5a5fb2_93b0252d4fd648669a39f24113d02ff9.pdf
To summarize this blog, you need to be proactive and patient with this whole process. Take the time to do your #research and to #educate yourself. I understand that all of this can be overwhelming and we're here to help you along the way. Please feel free to ask questions or make a comment. Be sure to visit our website and look at the information we have on treating neuro-inflammation and pain.
From your fellow #arachnoiditiswarrior,
Are you interested in learning more about the subjects I discussed? Here are some of the resources I used to write this blog and other website’s of interest.
Full collection of IPS Chronicles: https://arachnoiditishope.com/treatments/
To take a deep dive into arachnoiditis and how this all works I suggest you read this article. This is also a fantastic article to print and bring to your physicians.
Want to learn more about glial cells and how they work, here's the article for you
Neuroinflammation: The Devil is in the Details
Learn more about cortisol levels and inflammation: https://www.rxlist.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=198552
Excellent article on inflammation, including diets:
Mediterranean Diet (great for inflammation)
Article reference The biochemical origin of pain: the origin of all pain is inflammation and the inflammatory response: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17728071/#:~:text=Irrespective%20of%20the%20characteristic%20of,inflammation%20and%20the%20inflammatory%20response