Chronic Pain? Try Collagen.
Chronic pain is a complex and pervasive health issue, challenging both physical and emotional well-being for those who suffer. It is more common than many realise, affecting more than a third of the UK adult population. This alarming number means chronic pain rates are higher than the rates of other chronic conditions like type two diabetes and depression. What’s more, current treatments for chronic pain are often ineffective and can bring more deleterious side effects.
Understanding Chronic Pain
Acute pain is a sudden onset of pain that typically results from a specific injury, disease, or inflammation. It serves as a warning signal to the body that something is wrong. Acute pain is usually of short duration, resolving as the underlying cause heals. It can last from a few moments to a few weeks.
Chronic pain is defined as pain with no clear underlying cause, or pain (or its impact) that is out of proportion to any observable injury or disease (NICE Guidelines). In essence, this means living with a persistent discomfort that doesn't seem to improve despite the expected time for healing. It can manifest in various forms and may affect any part of the body. Some examples include musculoskeletal pain which is discomfort in your muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, or other parts of your body's framework, neuropathic pain which originates due to damage or dysfunction in the nerves causing pain signals as a miscommunication between your nerves and your brain or visceral pain which derives from the internal organs. It's a deep, often vague discomfort that can be challenging to pinpoint.
It can result from various conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, certain treatments like chemotherapy or from surgery or injuries. But it can also be ‘idiopathic’ meaning that its exact cause is unknown. Conditions like fibromyalgia and certain types of chronic headaches are examples of chronic pain conditions that are considered idiopathic because their exact cause is not well understood.
Chronic Pain and Mental Health
There is a deeply entwined bidirectional link between chronic pain and mental health, with each influencing the other in a variety of ways. Living with chronic pain can lead to emotional distress, including feelings of frustration and helplessness. Pain can limit physical activity and other aspects of our wellbeing such as sleep quality. The persistent nature of pain can wear down an individual's mental resilience over time and affect cognitive functions such as memory, attention, and concentration. Chronic pain and mental health disorders share common neurotransmitter systems, such as serotonin and norepinephrine. Imbalances in these neurotransmitters can contribute to both physical and emotional symptoms. Chronic pain and mental health often exist in a cyclical relationship: pain can lead to worsened mental health, and poor mental health can, in turn, exacerbate the perception of pain.
Managing and treating Chronic Pain
Managing and treating chronic pain requires a multidisciplinary approach often combining medication, physical therapy, psychological interventions, and lifestyle modifications to improve the overall well-being of individuals experiencing it. But despite some advancements in treatment, it remains challenging to treat, usually focussed primarily on addressing symptoms rather than directly targeting the cause. This means there is a significant unmet need for better treatments for chronic pain. Addressing this need is crucial for improving the quality of life for individuals affected.
Collagen supplementation and Chronic Pain
Current nutritional strategies for managing pain are limited, predominantly focusing on addressing unwanted inflammation. A key protein in all of the tissues of our body, collagen is a food that provides nutrition and health benefits, often referred to as a nutraceutical.
Although short-term supplementation with Type 1 collagen peptides such as those found in True Collagen and Wild Collagen has shown promising results in reducing symptoms of chronic pain, there weren't any long-term studies until recently. Kviatkovsky et al performed the first double-blind randomised, placebo-controlled long-term study on Type 1 collagen to treat chronic pain in healthy, middle-aged, active adults. They found that supplementing with 10g of hydrolysed collagen peptides for 6 months led to several beneficial outcomes. Unlike many drugs used for chronic pain, collagen peptides were found to be safe and well-tolerated.
How to incorporate Collagen supplements
It's important to note that chronic pain can stem from diverse causes, and the effectiveness of collagen supplementation may vary from person to person and depend on the underlying causes. Elements such as age, existing health conditions, overall diet and lifestyle choices will also play a role.
At Ancient + Brave, we know collagen supplements support more than just skin health but are important for our whole body health. This new research in the area of collagen and chronic pain adds to the growing body of diverse benefits of this hard-working supplement
For collagen supplementation to work effectively in the body, consistency pays off. We recommend taking a minimum of 5g or up to 10g daily of either our True Collagen or Wild Collagen. Our collagen is pure, potent and sustainably sourced with no artificial additives. Plus it is incredibly versatile and can be added to any hot or cold drink or food of your choice from your morning coffee.