But hold on. How can something we eat contribute to something like Achilles tendon pain or plantar fasciitis? Well, pain does not always equal an injury. It is an action signal though, to change something. Sure, if you sprain your ankle or receive a cut or puncture wound, then the pain is fairly indicative of the injury. The pain may cause you to hobble to help preserve the damaged ankle or to treat the wound you’ve received.
In the case of chronic pain however, the root of the problem is rarely the site of the pain. Pain in a particular region may be there for any number of widely varied reasons. Pain may be present as part of a movement problem, lack of sleep, job stress, or even poor eating habits–or often a combination of these types of stress. I’ll elaborate more in a moment.
Feeling pain is also a skill. It’s like learning to taste wine, hear and play music, or acquiring the visual senses of an artist. Our brain and nervous system become efficient and skilled at doing something if we do it enough. The longer we feel pain in an area, the better we get at feeling pain there. So going forward, if the nervous system needs to get your attention, it will choose to create pain along a smooth, well-known, efficient pathway.
We often feel pain as part of something called the threat neuromatrix. Vital to this concept is understanding any type of perceived threat may generate pain. The brain can produce a pain signal in response to any stimulus or event that threatens our survival. Whether that event is emotional, physical, or even spiritual, if our brain perceives a threat to our survival there is a possibility that we will experience pain or a noxious event of some kind. How does this relate to gluten?