Is poorly managed pain and inflammation slowing you down and impairing your quality of life? The feeling of pain is your body’s way of telling you that there is inflammation present. Inflammation is associated with the classic symptoms of pain, redness, heat and swelling. It frequently accompanies injury and tissue trauma, such as sprains, strains, cuts, bites and stings. However, what you may not realise, is that inflammation can be a contributing factor to many health conditions and is a key component in the joint pain of arthritis, back pain and muscular aches, digestive disorders such inflammatory bowel disease, period pain, and many types of headaches.
The Firefighters Within The term inflammation comes from the Latin word, ‘Inflammatio’ which means to set on fire. Inflammation is like a small biological fire designed to ‘burn away’ harmful stimuli such as pathogens, allergens, injury or other irritants. It is a protective mechanism designed to remove these causative factors and initiate the healing response. Inflammation can also be the result of diet, lifestyle factors and stress which can ignite, and keep this fire burning.
Here Dr Marti and Dr Darren talk about Pain and Inflammation and some natural ways you get deal with it
Inflammation Inside and Out Inflammation can be easily identified when there are external signs of pain from arthritis, or joint and muscle injuries. However, inflammation can be occurring inside the body even when the warning signs are less obvious. For example, did you realise that obesity is an inflammatory state? Many digestive disorders such as food intolerances, irritable bowel disease, and coeliac disease are inflammatory conditions.
Putting Out the Body’s Fire For optimal health, it is important to dampen down the inflammatory response and put out this fire. Pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories are commonly used to help relieve pain and inflammation, however many of these carry risks such as causing damage to your digestive tract. Fortunately there are some safe and effective natural anti-inflammatory and pain relief solutions available: • Turmeric – This Ayurvedic herb has been used traditionally for the treatment of traumatic injury, and to reduce swelling and pain in arthritic conditions. • Boswellia – Has analgesic, anti-rheumatic and antiinflammatory actions, as well as being effective for arthritis and traumatic pain, it may also assist with inflammatory conditions of the lungs, gastrointestinal tract and skin. • Omega 3 essential fatty acidsfrom fish oil containing EPA and DHA, may reduce acute and chronic pain and inflammation.
Food Can Produce or Reduce Inflammation The typical Western diet may actually promote inflammation; high amounts of sugar and refined carbohydrates break down quickly into glucose and have been shown to induce inflammatory changes that are linked with many chronic diseases. In some susceptible people, foods such as dairy products and gluten-containing grains can trigger an inflammatory response within the digestive tract and throughout the body.
Foods that decrease inflammation; fresh fruit and vegetables, good fats from fish, nuts and seeds, herbs and spices such as ginger and tumeric, organic foods where possible, eat mostly wholefoods
Foods that increase inflammation: High intake of sugar and processed foods, trans and saturated fats, Artificial flavours, colours and preservatives, Excess coffee and alcohol, Allergenic foods – dairy, wheat and gluten
Simple Tips to Reduce Inflammation As well as taking the right herbs and nutrients, there are simple diet and lifestyle changes that you can make that can help to reduce your inflammatory load:
1. Eat a diet plentiful in fresh fruit, a variety of vegetables and good fats from fish and nuts.
2. Minimise your intake of refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, white rice, cereals.
3. Minimise your intake of red meat and opt instead for fish, chicken or vegetarian protein sources such as chickpeas or tofu.
4. Reduce your intake of alcohol, coffee, sugar and salt.
5. Avoid foods you may be reactive to, such as wheat and dairy foods.
6. Quit smoking.
The End to Inflammation Don’t let pain and inflammation reduce your quality of life! Talk to your Quay Health practitioner today about safe and effective natural medicines and simple dietary and lifestyle measures to reduce pain, and address the underlying causes of inflammation.
Dr Marti Harris, Chiropractor and Dr Darren Geer, Acupuncturist
Sydney, Circular Quay