Pain, Pain Go Away!
Everyone has experienced acute inflammation – a sprained ankle or a cut – and witnessed the effect of your body’s immune system rushing to your aid to neutralise any threat to your body and restore function with the affected area turning red, puffy and hot. A normal, healthy immune response should flare up and die down again a short time later, as the body’s healing process resolves and the injury heals.
Pain and inflammation should not be chronic, it should go away – but what if it doesn’t?
Pain makes people’s lives miserable
Chronic pain and inflammation has a devastating effect on people’s lives and we see this time and time again in clinic. Simple movements that people often take for granted: brushing your hair, getting out of bed, climbing into a car, walking, etc; all these simple things become big obstacles that people with chronic pain face daily. It’s not really hard to see why the effects of this pain can begin to affect not only a person’s physical wellbeing, but also their social and mental wellbeing as the pain can affect them emotionally, lowering their mood and causing them to withdraw from social interactions.
Chronic pain quite often is invisible; there is not always an obvious injury that is the cause of the inflammation. For example, if there is inflammation in the gut, the symptoms may only be noticeable to the person; others however cannot “see” the problem. Nevertheless, inflammation is still occurring and that person is still experiencing pain.
Unresolved inflammation, visible or not, becomes more problematic the longer it keeps interfering with the normal workings of your body, and has been linked to many types of chronic diseases such as arthritis and type 2 diabetes.
Factors that sustain inflammation
It’s really important to learn which diet and lifestyle choices that may be adding to the inflammation in your body:
Being an unhealthy weight
Eating refined/ processed carbohydrates (e.g. white bread, pasta, white rice)
Consuming ‘trans’ fats (e.g. fried or fast foods, packaged baked goods, vegetable fats used in some margarines)
Being sleep deprived
Regularly consuming alcohol, coffee, excess sugar/ or salt
Experiencing ongoing digestive issues that upset the balance of ‘good’ bacteria (e.g. stomach pain, bloating, diarrhoea)
Experiencing ongoing psychological stress (unhappy employment situation, social isolation)
Modifying any or all of these choices is an important step in a holistic approach to reducing inflammation by addressing the factors that may be contributing to your pain or illness.
Steps of inflammation
The inflammatory process consists of 2 phases – the onset and resolution. During the ‘onset phase’ your immune system senses damage and responds by initiating a pro-inflammatory response to ensure that an infection doesn’t take place. This is when you experience redness, swelling and pain. Once the immune system has determined that the insult has been contained, your immune system switches across from a pro-inflammatory response into an anti-inflammatory response known as the ‘resolution phase’, to repair any damage to the tissues due to the injury and inflammatory response and restore proper function.
Resolution is the solution
What we see happens when inflammation in ongoing and becomes chronic is the pro-inflammatory response fails to switch over to an anti-inflammatory response. There is a variety of reasons why this may be occurring; some of the contributing factors to inflammation written above, some pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories if used ongoing can lead to unwanted side effects and may actually create more inflammation within the body.
The treatment protocols that we use in clinic focus on providing pain relief with safe and natural solutions for inflammation whilst promoting the resolution phase to try and ensure actual healing takes place in order to achieve long-term pain relief and optimal health.
Putting a stop to inflammation
There are many natural solutions that are ‘gut-friendly’ and safe for long term use for reducing inflammation for example:
Tumeric: This is a traditional Ayurvedic herb which has a long history of use for injuries and there has been a lot of recent research to demonstrate that it also helps reduce swelling and pain, particularly in arthritic conditions.
Boswellia – Another Ayurvedic herb which has analgesic, anti-rheumatic and anti-inflammatory properties. It can be used for all types of pain, but especially arthritic or traumatic pain associated with inflammation.
Devils claw and Jamaican dogwood. When these herbs are used in combination, they not only help reduce pain, but also decrease spasms and improve blood flow therefore supporting the healing process.
By modifying your diet and lifestyle and using a individualised herbal and possibly nutritional supplement therapy needed, our practitioners can help address any pain and inflammation you may have to not only improve your life now, but reduce your risk of chronic disease in the future.
Call Naturally Dynamic Health on (02) 6021 0557 today to book in to see one of our naturopaths.