We all know that blood circulates in our bodies. But what you may not know is that aside from being a vital nutritive substance blood can also be a cause of pain. In fact, many forms of pain, illness and disease can be linked to, or are caused by, what I refer to as “bad blood.”
Bad blood is when blood is in a state that can harm the body. These states are found in the form of “excesses” (e.g., too many toxins), “stagnations” (e.g., trigger points), and “deficiencies” (e.g., low levels of oxygen). The following list of common ailments related to the quality of blood, paints a picture of how many different issues are related to the quality of our blood.
- 25.1 million Americans live with heart disease
- 32% of Americans suffer hypertension
- 12% of females over age 20 are deficient in iron
- 16% of adults have high-cholesterol
- 1 in 6 Americans contract arthritis
- 26 million Americans, between ages 20-64, suffer back pain
Back pain is also the number one reported reason why patients visit their primary care physicians. There are many causes of back pain, including: stress, injury, tight or pulled muscles, a sedentary lifestyle, acid/alkaline imbalance, and trigger points. All of these affect the blood or can be caused by bad blood.
Blood is an essential body fluid that serves the dual purpose of rejuvenating cells by bringing to them substances like oxygen and nutrients, and cleaning cells by carrying away their toxic waste products. When body processes are hindered by incorrect diet, lack of water, stress, high acidity levels, trauma or disease, then blood’s role in maintaining homeostasis (body balance) is hindered… and pain, including back pain, is the result.
Food is such an important piece of the good blood equation. Blood plasma is a liquid component of blood that contains sugars, proteins, minerals and other substances. A nutrient deficient diet can cause bad blood which then can cause back pain. But a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and high in whole grains will provide depth of nutrients to build blood, increase soluble fiber to clean it and remove toxins from the body through stools with the help of insoluble fiber.
Water is also an important component of good blood since plasma, which is 90% water by volume, actually comprises 55% of the blood fluid. Drinking plenty of fluids is a holistic way of relieving and preventing back pain. But not all fluids are created equal. Beverages like coffee, tea, energy drinks and sodas are loaded with caffeine, sugars and chemicals that not only act as diuretics (transporting too much fluid from the blood) but are also high in toxins. These toxins, if they remain in the blood, cause bad blood. Stagnations in blood movement via inflammation
increase and blood levels become too acidic.
Indeed, maintaining the proper acid/alkaline equation (or pH balance) in the blood is an essential component to the blood / back pain connection. When blood acid levels are too high, muscle contractions can result. When muscles contract they limit range of motion and place pressure on nerves, preventing fresh blood, oxygen, and nutrients to enter the tissue and inhibiting the efficient removal of carbon dioxide and other toxic substances from it. All of this causes pain. If blood alkaline is raised, and acid reduced, then muscle relaxation occurs. This allows for back pain relief through the proper absorption of nutrients and transportation of waste products from the blood and tissues. Maintaining a blood pH of about 7.4 is an essential component of pain-free living.
Stress is another leading cause of bad blood in back pain. It constricts muscles in the body, lowers the amount of oxygen and increases acidity levels in the blood and tissues in the body. Deep breathing relaxation techniques not only reduce stress levels but also control pH. Stress causes shallow breathing and limited respiration, thus causing pain. Breathing exercises reverse this process.
Many back pain sufferers and physicians are fast to grab over-the-counter NSAIDs (non-steroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs) for temporary relief. Yet these actually cause more long-term harm than short-term good. You see, NSAIDs leave toxins in the blood, causing bad blood. They can also cause intestinal bleeding and are harmful to those suffering high blood pressure and kidney disease. Other painkillers, like Acetaminophen, are harmful to the liver (which cleanses the blood) and the kidneys (which help move toxins out of the body) and do not reduce inflammation – three good reasons to avoid taking it.
So what are the solutions to correcting bad blood in those suffering back pain? The answer is found in a comprehensive overhaul of diet (food and water), breathing exercises for stress relief and oxygenation of blood, and the use of aids like far-infrared heating (to stimulate blood flow and muscle relaxation) and trigger point therapy (to reduce blood stagnation in the tissues). In the end, keeping your blood clean and moving in the tissues are positive steps toward back pain relief and prevention.