Table of Contents
Ask for a Neck Massage When You Get a Headache
Many headaches are cervicogenic, caused by muscular problems with the neck. That means that, before you reach for painkillers, try massage or ask a trusted friend to massage your neck for you. Pain Science recommends you massage under the back of the skull, in the centre. You can reach this yourself. It's very soothing.
When a pain in your back comes from your front
Back pain could be a sign of pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is where your pancreas is inflamed, and is most common in heavy drinkers (although there are other causes, such as infection or medication). In pancreatitis, the pain radiates into the back.
Back pain is frequently caused by kidney pain. It may be hard to tell the difference between pain caused by a kidney problem and pain caused by a back problem (such as muscular strain). A key way to tell the difference is that:
- Back pain caused by a muscle injury is typically lower
- Back pain caused by kidney problem is located nearer to the ribs, and deeper
- Pain caused by kidney pain will frequently come with other signs such as: nausea, fever, abdominal pain, and/or painful or scanty urination.
Pepperoni Pizza and Pelvic Pain
If you love curries and other spicy food, I have some bad news for you. David Klumpp, researcher at Northwestern University, found that eating spicy food worsens pelvic pain.
In what has been dubbed the "Pepperoni Pizza Hypothesis", the researchers found that spicy food (and citrus fruits, caffeine, alcohol, and even tomatoes) contain a chemical that irritates the colon, and gets into the urine (aggravating the bladder). The chemical aggravates pain signals: the signals that send messages from the bladder, which (in patients with interstitial cystitis) send messages of constant pain back to the brain; pain messages are also sent from the bowel to the spinal cord.
Northwestern researchers believe that part of the problem lies in the bunching of the nerves in the pelvic region. Klumpp says:
"The convergence of these two information streams could make these...symptoms worse,"
These pain signals make pelvic pain worse, exacerbating a painful bladder condition called interstitial cystitis (a condition where 90% of its patients are women, and which causes sufferers to urinate up to 50 times a day). Avoiding spicy food could also improve the lives of women with Endometriosis, as approximately 71 - 87% of women with pelvic pain have endometriosis, with endometriosis being the cause of pelvic pain in many adolescents.
This is just a quick look the most common mixed messages, ways in which our brain and spinal cords mix-up signals. Researchers are still discovering new mixed messages and referred pain that we don't know about.
Who knows what we'll discover about referred pain in the future.