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Can Reducing Chronic Pain Help Prevent Dementia?

Two weeks ago, something happened to me that is VERY unusual- I started having pain. It started as just a nagging ache in my back, and quickly became pretty intense and mildly debilitating. By the end of the day, it was so bad that I couldn’t even walk right.  

Now, I’m certainly no stranger to pain.  In fact, over the past 20 years I’ve had some VERY serious injuries that could have crippled me. Thankfully though, whether it was my back, neck, knee, foot, leg, hip or wrist…between fervent prayer, militant self-therapy, and lifestyle adjustments- I’ve always been able to overcome.  Thank you Lord!

Thankfully this incident was no different. After two days of spending hours each day activating muscles, I was basically back to normal. Hallelujah!

I’m always thankful for incidents like this (after they pass) because they remind me of what so many of my clients go through. Pain is such a limiter in life, and I count myself fortunate to help people address root issues of pain so they can live a fuller and more enjoyable life. 

Recently, evidence has come to light that also indicates that eliminating (or reducing) chronic musculoskeletal pain and inflammation (especially knee pain) can even help reduce the risk of dementia. 

How is that even possible? You might be wondering..

To quote pain management specialist Medhat Mikhael, MD, “Chronic inflammation like knee Osteoarthritis or Chronic Musculoskeletal pain are associated with changes in the central nervous system causing what is known as neuroplasticity, which changes in the structural and functional state of the brain. Chronic pain (CP) has been found to cause significant alternations of the brain’s structure and function due to changes in pain processing and disrupted cognitive functions, including with respect to the prefrontal cortex.” 

You can read the article by clicking here-Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain Linked to Higher Rates of Dementia

So, does this mean you should just take pain killers, get shots or have surgery?  Not necessarily. 

The study made clear that the inflammation in the body was driving much of this effect, so the key is to reduce systemic and local inflammation.  

How do you do that?  

By doing most of the things that most people are mostly unwilling to do- drinking lots of water, eating a diet low in inflammatory foods (sugar, wheat, dairy, fried food, alcohol and anything processed), losing weight, doing the right types of exercise and therapy VERY consistently, getting good sleep, managing stress and modifying activity.  

Pretty cool to know that by doing this you will not only feel better and be able to physically do more (which has tremendous benefits for health and quality of life), but that you will also be reducing the likelihood that you will lose brain function as you age.  

Talk about a win-win-win!

God bless!


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