Pain, especially musculoskeletal pain, as a manifestation of chronic disease is extremely common. It probably accounts for 10-20% of visits to veterinary clinics.
Historically, the approach to pain has been to suppress it. This usually led to relapses and re-treatment. Recent advances in fields such as psychoneuroimmunology, molecular biology, nutrigenomics, environmental medicine, and toxicology have contributed to a functional view of pain and its causes. This has led to treatments which are less toxic (fewer side effects), less expensive, and more effective.
Chronic diseases are manifestations of chronic dysfunction and result from a wide range of interconnected genotropic, metabolic, nutritional, microbial, inflammatory, toxic, environmental and psychological influences. Many of the functional causes of pain involve nutrient deficiencies, which develop slowly over time.
- Vitamin D3, magnesium, essential fatty acid deficiency are all common contributors to pain.
- Chronic inflammation in the GI tract associated with leaky gut and dysbiosis (microbial imbalance) is especially common in dogs and is a major contributor to pain.
- Hypothyroidism in the dog is very common and plays a significant role in musculoskeletal pain.
- Mitochondrial dysfunction, which responds to nutrient supplementation, plays a role in chronic pain and fatigue.
- Hypersensitivity to food proteins often manifests as musculoskeletal pain and arthritis.
- Alterations in intestinal microbial balance can lead to systemic inflammation, arthritis and musculoskeletal pain. Eradication of the this imbalance or infection often produces marked reduction in inflammation and associated pain.
- Stress is an important contributor to chronic pain. It produces a neurohormonal cascade which results in increased utilization and urinary excretion of nutrients such as tryptophan, zinc, and magnesium.
- Depletion of tryptophan leads to reduced serotonin and increased perception of pain.
All of these contributing factors are correctable with appropriate supplementation.