Why talk about inflammation? Simple—too much inflammation is a huge factor in chronic pain. Plus, finding ways to control and limit inflammation is a key strategy in holistic pain relief. This is a multiple part series of articles covering these topics—it’s too much for one article!
First, what do I mean by systemic inflammation? Systemic inflammation is throughout our entire bodies – throughout all the systems. It’s not that localized inflammation you see when you fall and your knee swells. Systemic inflammation generally develops over time, can become chronic, and is the result of a variety of different sources.
Fundamentally, inflammation is our body’s natural protective response. But left unchecked, inflammation can actually cause more inflammation. So getting our inflammatory process under control is essential to holistic pain relief.
Some pain-related diseases and conditions with chronic inflammation include: chronic peptic ulcer, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic periodontitis, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, acid reflux, and chronic sinusitis (there are many more).
Here are some of the main factors in chronic, systemic inflammation. We’ll address steps to improve these factors later in this multiple-part blog series.
1. Poor sleep quality: One of the best ways for your body to heal is getting a good night’s sleep. But for a lot of us, this kind of sleep is elusive especially when we’re experiencing pain. However, scientists at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia found that “Poor sleep quality, and short sleep durations are associated with higher levels of inflammation.”
2. Environmental factors: Toxins in our world are creating chronic inflammation in our bodies. And you’ve probably heard about the huge variety of toxic ingredients in everything from our cleaning products to cookware to our furniture and carpeting. Being aware of toxins as a factor in our inflammation and pain is the first step to making changes.
3. Poor diet: Certain foods, especially sugar, refined flours, processed foods, and inflammatory fats such as trans and saturated fats are a big factor in chronic pain, because of their relationship to inflammation. Making all these changes at once can be overwhelming. You’ll want to address these changes part by part. And since stress is a part of inflammation too, it’s best to get coaching and guidance when overhauling your diet.
Next time we’ll address four other factors in chronic inflammation. I’d love to have your comments and questions on these three issues, and anything you’d like me to be sure to cover in this series. See you back here soon!
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