The Surprising Pain Relief Properties of Vitamin C
It might be a little surprising to note that researchers have found a link to Vitamin C and Pain Relief. Instead of reaching for the usual nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Tylenol, Advil or Aleve you might consider a healthy dose of Vitamin C. Unlike NSAIDs and other pain relief medications, Vitamin C has one major advantage – it is entirely natural. Many people experience side effects with over the counter medications, especially when taken in larger doses whereas Vitamin C is safe to consume. A combination approach may also be useful for pain relief.
Whether stubbing a toe or experiencing a throbbing ache from lower back pain, everyone has experienced pain. But what exactly is pain?
Physical pain is a highly unpleasant physical sensation caused by illness or injury. This type of somatic or biological sensation is generated by the nervous system that alerts us of a negative condition we are suffering from. When stimulated, our neurons convey information in the form of electrical impulses that trigger mental awareness of this stimulation. When connected to pain, the purpose of the nervous system is designed to regulate homeostasis, also known as equilibrium.
Our Central Nervous System (CNS) is the interconnecting network of these neurons and is responsible for interpreting incoming sensory information and also plays a large role in triggering our thoughts, emotions and memories. Pain is a defensive mechanism that alerts us to negative conditions that can occur whether they are internal or external. Our perception of pain is the conscious interpretation of negative sensory stimulus transmitted through our CNS by way of interconnected and activated neurons.
So how is pain generated?
The feeling of pain is generated through the stimulation of sensory receptors called nociceptors that are present all over our bodies both internally and externally. They can be found in our skin, muscles, tendons and joints.
Stimulation of the nociceptors occurs if our tissue sustains damage. This causes the release of certain chemicals (prostaglandins, kinins and potassium ions) in these nociceptors which ultimately reach our brain to trigger the sensation of pain. When that occurs, an impulse is sent back from the brain down to the site of the injury. For example, when touching a hot iron you almost instantly recoil in pain and the burning sensation is felt in your hand.
There are different types of pain sensations depending on the injury that occurs. These types of pain are characterised as:
|Fast Pain||Slow Pain|
|Description||Acute, sharp, pricking||Chronic, burning, aching throbbing|
|Time||0.1 seconds after the stimulus was applied||<1 second after the stimulus was applied|
|Penetration||Superior, skin level||Skin and deeper tissues or internal organs|
|Example||Pinprick, touching a hot object, stubbing a toe||Neck, back and shoulder pain, sports injuries|
Fast pain can often develop into slow pain over time. For example, if you injure a muscle playing a sport, the initial stimulus will alert you that something is wrong. The acute pain will then develop into a slow, chronic pain that persists as the muscle tries to heal.
Pain Levels and Tolerance
It may surprise you to know, but every person has the same pain threshold. This means that we all have the same level of minimal stimulation when the sensation of pain is perceived. Pain tolerance is another story. Individuals are quite different in terms of the greatest level of stimulation at which they can tolerate. This is because biological, psychological and emotional factors contribute to this, as well as past experiences or memories.
Pain – A significant cost to western society
Professor Lorimer Moseley, a Professor of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of South Australia is world-renowned for his cutting-edge research as a Pain Scientist. Motivated by the desire to determine ways to alter people’s conceptual understanding of pain, he argues that pain is an illusion. He demonstrates that chronic pain sufferers are so used to experiencing pain that their neurons will produce the sensation of pain with the necessary stimulus. Basically, the stimulus required to generate pain becomes smaller and smaller over time. This, in turn, significantly reduces the quality of life of a person experiencing this type of pain and increases their dependence on pain-relieving drugs. In 2011, chronic pain cost an estimated $40 billion a year in Australia. The cost of treating pain is more expensive than cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes combined.
Pain and the Role of Vitamin C
Recently several studies have found that Vitamin C can reduce the sensation of pain we feel. It is well known that a deficiency in Vitamin C causes a condition known as scurvy which is characterised by experiencing musculoskeletal pain. Recent studies have also found an association between spinal pain and a lack in Vitamin C. There is also accumulating evidence which indicates Vitamin C can provide analgesic properties in some clinical conditions.
The wonders of this seemingly magical and naturally occurring vitamin continue to be found through clinical research. Most importantly, Vitamin C is one method we can use to help with the long term treatment of pain without the fear of negative side effects which can occur using over the counter or with prescribed medications.
While Vitamin C may not be the answer to use for the treatment of all pain, it does seem that there is mounting evidence to suggest that we have been overlooking the importance it can play. Vitamin C is also safe for general consumption in addition to other medications.
Intravenous Nutrient Therapy and Vitamin C
One can administer Vitamin C in a wide variety of ways, although the fastest results, intake of large doses is possible with intravenous nutrient therapy. Taken orally is the most common approach and Vitamin C occurs naturally in a wide variety of foods. Given a regular diet of foods containing Vitamin C our bodies can retain optimal levels, but there may be times when fast and large doses are needed. By directly administering Vitamin C into our bloodstream by a trained professional, the full dosage can immediately take effect instead of having to be processed through our digestive system. Minerals and nutrients taken orally take some time to process and depending on the digestive health of the person, much of the nutrient content contained in the food we eat maynot absorbed.
People with ongoing pain and digestive problems may benefit from regular treatment of Vitamin C administered via IV Therapy.
For more information about the connection between pain and Vitamin C, please review our reference below. We also invite you to contact our staff for personal consultation and details on IV Nutrient treatments at The Dripclub.
Tortora, G. J. & Derrickson, B. (2014) Principles or anatomy and physiology. United States of America: John Wiley & Son, Inc.
Moseley, L. (2011, November). Lorimer Moseley: Why things hurt.