Throughout my career I’ve achieved expertise in understanding the biomechanics of pain – how your movement, posture, and pattern of muscle use allow for healthy, pain-free motion or lead to deterioration, joint problems, and pain.
I’ve also come to understand the neurology of pain – how the brain’s pain signaling systems can get thrown off balance and lead to chronic pain that takes on a life of its own.
To deepen my knowledge even further, I’ve also begun to study the chemistry of pain – how the different signaling molecules of the immune system, inflammatory system, hormonal and nervous systems conspire to create the pain experience.
It’s become clear that pain exists within a complex web of these biochemical interactions. And one interesting component of this multidimensional web is the relationship of pain and your body’s system of energy production.
The co-existence of pain and lack of energy is common. For many, especially those with chronic pain, an overall sense of fatigue becomes an even more significant symptom than the pain level itself.
It makes sense on a fundamental biological level. The body needs energy to resolve inflammation and heal. And it needs a sense of support and comfort to turn its inner attention to the healing process instead of using its energy to defend against perceived outside threats.
There are a number of laboratory tests that are relevant in understanding the pain experience better and in helping target treatment most effectively. One of these is a test of organic acid residues in urine.
These organic acid residues are the end-products of many of the metabolic processes in your body. They’re tested to help diagnose many different types of functional imbalance, not just pain. But for pain sufferers, measuring the levels of the by-products of your energy production system can be very helpful.
For instance, if succinic acid or fumaric acid levels in your urine are elevated, this would indicate inefficiency of the Krebs energy production cycle in your mitochondria and contribute to chronic pain.
Fortunately, when this type of metabolic imbalance is detected, there’s often a nutrition supplementation program that can help boost the weakest links of your metabolic chain.
Please contact me if you’d like more information about this lab test, or other functional medicine tests that help take a deeper look at pain.