IBS pain relief discovery


This study demonstrates yet more evidence of the elegant complexity that underlies our mind-gut-immune system links.

If you suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and pain, then you and your healthcare providers may need to “think outside the box” of usual oral medications to treat your pain.

Our practitioners at VIBE can help with those other useful pain-relieving modalities like acupuncture, massage, osteopathy (i.e. clinical pilates and other exercise-related therapies).


Rebecca Paprrill:

IN A WORLD first, Australian researchers have discovered why people with irritable bowel syndrome have ongoing issues with pain, and the finding could explain why some painkillers do not provide relief.

Scientists from the University of Adelaide’s Nerve-Gut Research Laboratory took blood and biopsies from the colon of 62 patients diagnosed with IBS and from 54 healthy people to examine the differences in immune pain response.

Lead author Dr Patrick Hughes, NHMRC Peter Doherty fellow at the university’s School of Medicine, said the gut contains specialised monocytes and macrophages, and the research showed that in healthy people these immune cells normally secrete B-endorphins that block pain, but in people with IBS, immune-derived ?- endorphin levels are lower.

“This study is the first to give us a real understanding of the interaction between the immune system and pain symptoms in IBS patients,” he said.

“It’s no wonder that people with IBS are experiencing ongoing periods of unexplained pain. And if the immune system is defective, it may also mean that painkilling medications taken by the patient to relieve their symptoms are not being adequately converted to pain relief.”

He said caution is required when prescribing painkillers to IBS patients because the physiology underlying the symptoms of pain are yet to be determined.

IBS affects up to 10% of the population. Dr Hughes said in addition a small number of these patients were diagnosed with post-infection IBS.

Brain Behav Immun 2014; online 22 July

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