All About Pain – Part 8: Environmental Causes

© Dane Roubos, D.C.

A stressful environment will be “another straw on the camel’s back” when it comes to pain. Whether it’s your work or home environment, or the friends you hang out with, if it’s stressful, it’s draining your energy and it’s bad for your health.

One way to evaluate environments is to notice how you feel before you walk in, and compare that to how you feel when you leave. When making the comparison, take note of your energy level, the quality of your thoughts, and any emotions you have. Are you feeling “up,” or “down?”

You will begin to notice that you feel good around certain people, and not so good around others. Perhaps most importantly, how do you feel when your “with” yourself?

Headache Pain from Toxic Environments
Our environment can be a major factor in headache pain. Headaches are commonly induced from breathing toxic fumes, which can easily overload our liver’s capacity to process the chemicals. These fumes also weaken your immune system and disrupt normal mental function.

Toxic fumes are found in almost every new home, automobile, or building. They come from the building materials, especially paints, stains, sealers, plastics, particle board, carpets and fabrics. Even the so-called “green buildings” can cause problems for sensitive people.

Common places to encounter “bad air” are manufacturing facilities, chemical or petroleum companies, shopping malls, department stores, print shops, tire or paint stores, and fabric stores. People who work in these places may be at risk for various types of illness as time goes on.

Formaldehyde is a popular toxin found in these places and materials. Reaction to chemicals like this is often due to an inadequate supply of a group of nutrients called antioxidants, which the liver uses to neutralize the toxins.

Milk Thistle seed extract is a liver-specific antioxidant, which is often effective in relieving this problem. Glutathione is an excellent antioxidant but is more expensive. Because both of these help your liver clear the toxins, they are a much better short-term approach for environmental headaches than pain-killers.

Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Tylenol, etc, only serve to block the pain or inflammation, and do nothing to protect your liver and brain from the chemical poisoning. In fact, they actually stress the liver and kidneys, because they themselves are toxins.

Frequent use of pain pills is like ripping the ringing fire alarm off the wall and assuming the fire is no longer a problem!

Dr. Dane

The best approach to environmental headaches is to remove yourself from the toxic environment, and start a supplement program to replenish your body’s supply of antioxidants and other essential nutrients.

Headaches are only one symptom of brain toxicity, and serve to remind you that something is wrong that needs to be dealt with. It is always best to seek out the true cause when pain is the issue. Most headaches are related to restricted neck or cranial joints, muscular trigger points, poor lymphatic circulation, blocked energy flow, meridian imbalance, stress, and food allergies.

However, some headaches are due to potentially life-threatening conditions such as hypertension, aneurysm, stroke or tumor. Most primary care doctors (MD’s, DO’s, DC’s and ND’s) are trained to evaluate these possibilities and make a referral if appropriate.

Natural medicine is a wonderful thing, but there are times when the most appropriate place to be is in the emergency room!

Dr. Dane

Our Human Environment
People can be “toxic,” too, just in a different way. Of course, it’s a good idea to look at ourselves first, since we’re “around” 24/7. Having an active Inner Critic can add significant stress to our life (see Part 3 – Mental Influences).

Regarding other folks, you can probably name one or two whom you don’t like to be around. When you are trying to grow personally or spiritually, it’s helpful to spend time with people on a similar wavelength.

It’s best to spend as little time as possible with people who are constantly spouting or emanating negativity. Sometimes we don’t have much of a choice here. Then we get to practice observing our own reactions and judgments of others whom we don’t like.

There is always a “reason” why certain people come into our lives, and often a lesson to be learned. You may need to develop better personal boundaries (saying “No,” setting limits, etc). Or perhaps they are here to show you something about yourself. Like mirrors, people often treat us like we treat ourselves! When we’ve learned our lessons, those kinds of people seem to disappear from our life.

If all else fails, you may simply need to care enough about yourself to remove yourself from toxic situations.

Connecting with Nature
Living mostly in cities has a price. Not only is there more noise, crowding, pollution and stress in general, but we are less connected to the nurturing value of nature.

Some research studies have found that “green space” in cities has a measurable effect on a population’s well-being. Spending regular time in a city park, or getting out of town to connect with a natural environment can be very soothing to your heart, mind and body.

“Only in the last moment of history has the delusion arisen that people can flourish apart from the rest of the living world.”

E. O. Wilson