Pain and Inflammation is when things get swollen red and painful. Pain and inflammation is your body’s response to anything that irritates it. Essentially pain and inflammation is like a small biological fire designed to “burn away” the irritation, short term inflammation can be a good thing, but chronic inflammation leads to chronic health problems.
We often think of inflammation as a result of injury due to sprains, strains, cuts and grazes, insect bites and stings, which produce the localized pain, swelling and heat. Although this is true, inflammation can also be a result of poor diet, lifestyle and stress.
Inflammation can also be “hidden” and not just a sore knee or back, one of the most common sources of inflammation is gut infections, if you have I.B.S symptoms such as bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhea, then there is a good chance you have inflammation caused by a gut infection.
Many of those aches and pains that you feel regularly may be a sign of inflammation within your body. Almost all pain is the result of inflammation – arthritis, and other joint, back and muscle problems, digestive disorders like irritable bowel disease and ulcerative colitis, and many types of headaches. If there is pain there is inflammation.
Inflammation can be there for a while before you get any symptoms, it is this silent inflammation that can be the cause of strokes, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
A good way to test for hidden inflammation is with a blood test, at Planet Naturopath we test High sensitive C Reactive protein and Homocysteine to detect hidden inflammation in your body, these are tests that you can ask your doctor for as well ….. make sure they do the High sensitive C Reactive protein test and not just C reactive protein which is not as reliable.
Gut infections like Klebsiella, Citrobacter and Proteus can all be triggers for autoimmune conditions that cause pain and inflammation like Rheumatoid arthritis and Lupus.
You may not even be aware that you are inflamed. You may think those aches and pains that you can feel when you wake up in the morning is just a sign of old age. The good news is that it may not be a sign of old age; the bad news is that this may be a sign that your body is inflamed, and this inflammation can lead to many chronic illnesses. Pain and inflammation is your body’s way of telling you that there is something wrong.
Addressing the cause is the first step, and a good place to start is with a comprehensive pathology test along with a stool test to check for hidden gut infections. Understanding the underlying cause helps you with a targeted treatment plan so that you don’t have to rely on pain killers to get through the day.
There are many pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories that are immensely effective in alleviating pain and inflammation. However some may cause adverse side effects, these side effects include immune function problems, digestion problems and ironically muscle aches and pains.
Pain medications are great in emergency situations or in the short term as a pain management strategy, but long term they can cause complications so finding some natural options that are effective is important.
Fortunately, natural medicine can provide some excellent anti-inflammatory options, this includes herbal options like curcumin from tumeric, boswellia and hops, along with nutrients such as magnesium, zinc and fish oils. Not all supplements are created equally, so it is important to get good quality brands like Metagenics and Thorne Research rather than supermarket brands.
Thorne Research Phytoprofen contains a combination of curcumin, boswellia and ginger that is very effective at controlling pain, it is a similar formula to the Metagenics Inflavanoid Intensive care. This can be purchased from Amazon or www.iherb.com
Fish oils also have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, but not all fish oils are created equal with many containing high levels of toxins, you also need to find one that has high levels of EPA which is the anti-inflammatory component of fish oil. I recommend Nordic Naturals EPA Xtra or the Metagenics Liquid, you can get the Nordic Naturals from Amazon or www.iherb.com
One of the most inflammatory things that people are exposed to is food in their diet. Fruits and vegetables, and good fats from fish and nuts all help to reduce inflammation, whilst other foods can increase inflammation. These foods include high sugar foods, heavily processed foods that are high in colours, flavours and artificial ingredients, and foods that are high in certain fats, such as many processed and fast foods.
Gluten can cause inflammation in many people and I encourage everyone to go on a gluten free Paleo style diet for a month and see what difference it does to their health …. it’s amazing how many symptoms can be alleviated by removing gluten.
To help achieve wellness and reduce inflammation there are seven simple dietary targets that you need to aim for.
If you need help with specialized testing and a treatment plan to help you with pain and inflammation I recommend scheduling a 30 minute consultation, this will help me find out more about your individual needs and develop a specific treatment plan for you.
Michael is head consultant at Planet Naturopath - Functional Medicine and Nutrition Solutions. As Seen