Why is Annapolis Pain Management treating Allergies and what does it have to do with Pain Management? Great question!
In short, chronic pain and allergic reactions share similar processes and pathways of the bodies central nervous system and its inflammatory response process.
Many patients who experience chronic pain in muscles and joints are also suffering from an underlying allergic or hypersensitivity reaction, and may not even know it.
The solution to treating the chronic pain symptoms in their muscles and joints is actually treating the allergy or sensitivity and re-balancing the immune system, resulting in less allergy AND pain symptoms!
Our Allergy Immunotherapy treatment may be your answer to your allergies and chronic pain!
What is Allergy Immunotherapy?
Allergy Immunotherapy (AIT) is an effective, long term, and useful treatment option in the treatment and management of allergic conditions.
Annapolis Pain Management provides Allergy Immunotherapy for patients who are looking for a proven treatment option that may lead to relief of allergy symptoms without continual dependence on allergy medications.
How Does Allergy Immunotherapy Work?
Allergy research shows that over time, allergy immunotherapy can help a patient's immune system develop natural resistance to allergens and reduce or eliminate allergic reactions and symptoms.
To build up immune resistance, patients are gradually administered increasing doses of allergens to condition and train the immune system. This conditioning of the immune response is performed to reduce or eliminate the allergic response that would normally occur when exposed to the trigger allergen(s).
It's believed that the incremental increase of the allergen(s) given to the patient causes the patient's immune system to become more tolerant to the allergens and results in a reduction in allergy symptoms when the patient is exposed to the allergens in the future.
The precise mechanism of AIT is still being studied, but research suggests the potential for long term allergy symptom relief.
Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials (The Gold Standard In Research) demonstrate efficacy of AIT for up to 3 years!
What AIT Treatment Options Are Available?
The most common form of AIT is Subcutaneous AIT, also known as an Allergy Shot. These are custom allergen mixtures given in increasing doses to densensitive the immune response and inflammatory response.
Environmental allergens can be treated in this form.
Sublingual drops are another form of AIT that has proven effective but is still considered investigational by most insurance companies. This is a great option for younger patients and for those who don't tolerate injections and needles.
Is AIT A Good Treatment Option For You?
Patients who may benefit from AIT include those who:
- Require high doses of medication, multiple medications (or both) to maintain and control allergy symptoms
- Are unhappy or unsatisfied with their symptomatic treatment using medication alone
- Want treatment that may result in long-term resolution of allergy symptoms and eliminate the need for medication to manage those allergy symptoms
- Are unable to avoid allergens due to work and home environment
- Suffer from chronic pain and known allergies or sensitivities
The Connection Between Allergies and Chronic Pain is Inflammation!
The inflammatory process, while typically seen as a bad thing, is actually a good thing because it allows our bodies to heal and repair when injured or damaged.
The problem occurs when our bodies stay stuck in the inflammatory state and healing never completes.
Those who suffer from allergies and sensitivities to specific antigens (pollens, grasses, dust, food) have immune systems that are more hypersensitive (or upregulated) to those specific antigens compared to everyone else. This can be due to multiple underyling factors.
Allergies and chronic pain have overlapping inflammatory processes that result in a hypersensitivity of the central nervous system and pain control centers in the brain. Signaling between the immuno-sensitive cells in the central nervous system (CNS) has a strong connection to the bodies pathological and chronic pain mechanisms.
Both allergic reactions and chronic pain mechanisms involve cytokines, or chemical cellular signals, being released.
The bodies central nervous system (CNS) treats antigens as threats and responds with an overproduction and release of cytokines and histamine and starts the inflammatory process.
This immune response process is what causes the symptoms people experience when they have an allergic reaction. (Redness, itchy, burning, swelling, vasodilation, airway constriction, etc).
With chronic pain patients, the release of these cytokines can present as chronic muscle and joint pain, sinus congestion, headaches, and more.
These symptoms can be exacerbated or intensified by other factors like arthritis, previous injury, temperature and atmospheric pressure changes that accompany seasonal changes.
The healthcare providers at Annapolis Pain Management recognize the relationship between allergy symptoms, the bodies inflammatory response, and the association with chronic pain symptoms.
Treating patients who suffer from allergies and sensitivities, chronic pain, muscle pain, and joint inflammation may benefit from allergy immunotherapy if appropriate.
In addition to Allergy Immunotherapy, other services we use that can decrease pain and improve immune function include treatment sessions with our Annapolis Chiropractic and Annapolis Physical Therapy practitioners.
Movement of the body, spine, and joints has been proven to help improve overall health and immune function through balancing of the bodies inflammatory, immune, and stress response systems.
Chiropractic adjustments, IASTM, Cupping, Dry Needling, Massage, and Exercise decrease inflammation and improve healing and function through the release of the bodies own hormones and chemicals, like dopamine, and the stimulation of specific neuronal processes in the brain and spinal cord (stimulation of the hypothalmic pituitary adrenal axis).
Neurons in the brain associated with movement are stronger and faster than pain signals coming from muscles and joints.
This is why we shake our hand when we smash our thumb or we rub our elbow when we bump it on the doorway. Movement over-rides pain.
Our use of safe, effective chiropractic adjustments and mobilization treatments at Annapolis Pain Management can help break chronic pain cycles with the stimulation of those specific pathways that over-ride pain signals.