It’s estimated that 20.9% of adults in the US have chronic pain.

Chronic pain is considered any pain that lasts longer than 3 months in duration. 

In 2020 it was estimated that 619 million people globally were dealing with low back pain.

The prevalence of low back pain increased between 50-55 years of age with back pain being more common in women!

Why would pain increase right around 50 years old in men and women?

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My theory is:  this is the time when hormones tend to decline!

Lowered testosterone and estradiol are related to joint pain.

Women who are in peri-menopause will notice that back or joint pain increases when estradiol is lower in their cycles.

This is being overlooked big time!

On Saturday my podcast on low back pain with my good friend Dr. Becky Rucker from Physio Movement and Performance in Tacoma, WA came out. 

(Click HERE to listen in to our podcast)

She highlighted how the core isn’t the only thing impacting your back pain and she had me thinking deeper after the podcast about how hormones impact tendons, ligaments and muscles.

In the podcast she talks about low back stabilizer muscles, hip flexors, glute strength, upper back strength and more as factors contributing to back pain.

I find it fascinating all the of the different angles to address when it comes to the physical aspect of pain.

So what do I look at to evaluate hormones as a contributing factor to pain?

  • total estrogens
  • estradiol
  • progesterone
  • testosterone
  • DHEA-sulfate

I also look into vitamin, mineral and nutrient status as these are key components of hormone balance as well as crucial elements for the health of muscles, tendons and ligaments. 

  • vitamin D 
  • magnesium
  • sodium, potassium, chloride, phosphorus (the electrolytes)
  • protein intake
  • vitamin C
  • iodine
  • selenium
  • silica
  • manganese
  • calcium

One of the reasons bone broth is so healing is because it contains all the components for healing tendons, ligaments and muscle in bone marrow.

Bone broth is so much more than “collagen” as it’s touted for!

It’s like a liquid multivitamin.

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As fall sets in I love to remind folks about the benefits of bone broth and using it as a base for soups, stews and other recipes. 

Regular bone broth can help support your hormones and your musculoskeletal system to keep pain at bay or in check.

Of course I’d pair it with some labs to see how your hormones are looking…

…blood and saliva hormones are recommended in this case to get an idea of what’s happening in real time (blood) and stored in the body (saliva).  

Knowing where your hormones stand allow you to make herbal or bio-identical adjustments to support your body.

In terms of vitamins and minerals, a Micronutrient test by SpectraCell or a NutrEval by Genova are two ways that you can assess your vitamin and mineral status to know where to make adjustments in that department.

A basic chemistry panel in the blood can alert you as to what electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chloride) you might be missing as well as if the thyroid may be impacted and a need for a little selenium and iodine are needed.

The take-a-way here – pain can be more than just a muscle issue, it’s key to get some labs to identify all areas you can tweak things to feel better in your body!

Taking a whole body approach to your pain will get you results much faster then looking at it as an isolated issue!

If you’re in Tacoma and looking for someone to assess your pain – Dr. Becky Rucker is a great resource – check her out HERE.

And if you’re looking for someone in your area – look for someone who’s trained in pilates or functional movement – they will be able to assess your body movement patterns and identify how to help you correct those as you work on your pain from the inside out!

Here’s to supporting your WHOLE body when it comes to pain!

Here’s to your health,

Dr. J

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