Shownotes: How to treat inflammation in your body - do this now!
Inflammation in the body
What is inflammation
Your body was beautifully and wonderfully made with the ability to defend itself against most internal and external attacks. When your body senses something is wrong, i.e. that it is under attack, then inflammation is the body’s response to counter these attacks. Inflammation signals to your body that it needs to heal and repair itself. Experiencing inflammation every now and again is not only normal but perfectly healthy as well. We need inflammation to protect us from more serious threats to our health. The problem comes in when you experience the inflammation for extended periods, or very regularly, without being triggered by a specific attacker. When this happens, inflammation stops being a protector and starts being something that we need protecting from. Most of our modern diseases have links to chronic inflammation. Luckily we can decrease our body’s inflammatory response by feeding it the right things, and giving it the support it needs.
When discussing inflammation, we can differentiate between two types, namely acute and chronic:
Acute inflammation happens quickly and almost instantly, such as after scraping your knee, spraining your ankle or having a sore throat. It is a short-term, localised response, meaning that it occurs at the exact spot where the “damage” happened. The symptoms and signs are well-known, with the most notable ones being redness, swelling, pain, heat and even loss of function.
The swelling is a strong indicator that your body’s repair mechanism is working properly since it occurs when blood vessels dilate which increases the blood flow. This enables white blood cells to swarm the injured area to promote healing, but also causes the redness and swelling. Chemicals and hormone-like substances that are released during this process trigger pain and fever, both part of the healing process. As the body heals, the inflammation gradually subsides until it completely clears.
Unlike acute inflammation, chronic inflammation can have long-term and whole-body effects. Also called persistent or low-grade inflammation, it produces a steady, low-level of inflammation throughout the body which leads to a rise in immune system markers found in blood or tissue. This type of systemic inflammation can contribute to the development of disease because when the immune system is triggered without a definite existing threat the white blood cells move towards the area but have nothing to attack. So they start attacking internal organs or other healthy tissues and cells.
Chronic inflammation often presents no symptoms, but your doctor can test for C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker for inflammation in the blood. High levels of CRP has been linked with other chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke. Increased CRP levels can also indicate that there is infection, or a chronic inflammatory disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
To make it easier to understand, the following list describes the key differences between acute and chronic inflammation:
Acute - Caused by
Harmful bacteria or tissue injury
Chronic - Caused by
Pathogens that the body cannot break down, including some types of virus, foreign bodies that remain in the system, or overactive immune responses
Acute - Onset
Chronic - Onset
Acute - Duration
A few days
From months to years
Acute - Outcomes
Inflammation improves and disappears, turns into an abscess, or becomes chronic
Chronic - Outcomes
Tissue death and the thickening and scarring of connective tissue, swelling and enlargement of tissue
Luckily (or unluckily), your diet, lifestyle habits and environmental factors can contribute to your levels of inflammation.
What causes it
Inflammation can be caused by a number of reasons, including physical, pathogenic and internal. When it is internal, inflammation is triggered by an over-reactive immune response. Although inflammation does not necessarily mean there is an infection, but an infection can cause inflammation.
During acute inflammation, three things happen:
1. The small branches of arteries enlarge to increase blood supply to the damaged area.
2. This makes the capillaries penetrable, meaning that fluids and proteins can easily move between the blood and cells.
3. The body releases neutrophils, which is a type of white blood cell filled with tiny sacs containing enzymes and digestive microorganisms.
Once these three things occur, the “patient” will start to notice and identify the symptoms as those of inflammation.
What are the symptoms
The symptoms that the “patient” experiences will vary depending on whether the inflammation is acute or chronic. Symptoms of acute inflammation can be summed up by the acronym PRISH:
· Pain – the inflamed area will likely be painful to the touch due to the release of nerve ending-stimulating chemicals. This makes the area more sensitive.
· Redness – the capillaries in the area are filled with more blood than usual, causes the area to become red.
· Immobility – can indirectly be caused by the pain and swelling, or simply because of the infection present.
· Swelling – as a direct result of a buildup of fluid.
· Heat – the area will feel warmer to the touch as a result of the increased blood flow.
Of course these symptoms only apply to topical or skin inflammation – if the injury is internal, some of the signs (if not almost all) will go unnoticed.
Chronic inflammation presents in a different way. Symptoms for chronic inflammation can include:
· Sores in the mouth
· Pain, especially in the chest, abdominal and joints
· Stiffness and discomfort
What can you do about it
1. Change your diet
Change the way you eat to include anti-inflammatory foods and exclude inflammatory foods. For more on this, see my post 13 FOODS YOU SHOULD INCLUDE IN YOUR DIET NOW! FIGHT INFLAMMATION THE NATURAL WAY
2. Anti-inflammatory drugs
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) work by blocking the enzyme cyclooxygenase, which produces prostaglandins – a hormone-like substance that promotes inflammation. NSAIDs are divided into 2 categories – over-the-counter and prescription. Prescription NSAIDs such as celebrex and celecoxib are gentler on the body. Corticosteroids such as cortisone and prednisone are also prescribed for inflammatory conditions such as asthma and arthritis. Although these drugs suppresses inflammation they also come with the risk of side effects such as weight gain and fluid retention.
Several dietary supplements have been found to have anti-inflammatory properties. Some of these supplements include Omega 3 oil,
This is a long list, so for more information on the individual herbs, read the post here SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE - NATURAL PAIN RELIEF THAT ARE WORTH LOOKING INTO - I DON'T MIND BEING THE GUINEA PIG! [NOT A DOCTOR!]
5. Weight loss
Carrying extra bulk puts more pressure on your joints, especially your knees, hips and feet. This is something I definitely experienced, and can confirm with others in my life also affected by arthritis. If you struggle with joint issues and are overweight lose the weight!
6. Essential oils
Some essential oils can be used with great success to help relieve topical pain. Essential oils can also be used as part of your de-stressing routine, which also helps with the treatment of inflammation. To read more about the right oils to use, go to this post NATURAL TREATMENTS FOR MUSCLE PAIN, INFLAMMATION, JOINT STIFFNESS AND SWELLING
The more you move, the more you force your body to stay mobile and flexible. The experts do not agree on what type of exercise, so you need to either pick a side or try both and make up your own mind. I can run (yes with pain the next day, but it is worth it) and I do yoga and Pilates. I do not respond well to weight lifting, even if I use light weights. Riding a bike is a definite no.
8. Cut back on stress
Your nervous system helps manage inflammation in the body. “When you have long-term, ongoing chronic stress, your stress hormones (think cortisol and adrenals) can get out of balance, allowing inflammation to get out of control,” says Blum.
9. Gut health
Too much bad bacteria and not enough good bacteria in your gut is a huge driver of inflammation (more on that below).
CBD oil shows a lot of potential for pain relief, and I can confirm this. I take CBD pills that have a dosage of 25mg. I take 1 pill about once a week and the following morning I can almost jump out of bed. The only problem I have with the pills is I cannot take them if I am not able to clock a solid 8 hours. It knocks me out and makes me totally unfocused. If I sleep less than 8 hours I will wake up foggy, with a dry mouth. Luckily it passes quickly. My best natural pain reliever!
If you struggle with chronic inflammation and have found something that helps that is not on my list, please let me know!