Pain and Inflammation Tips and Tricks

Inflammation is a hot topic, said to be the possible root cause of many chronic conditions, so what exactly is inflammation and how can we keep it to a healthy level?

May 7, 2013

Inflammation is a hot topic, said to be the possible root cause of many chronic conditions, so what exactly is inflammation and how can we keep it at bay?

Inflammation is a natural part of the body's immune response; it is not entirely a bad thing. It signals to the body that there is an injury or an area that needs care and protection. However, sometimes inflammation can become self-perpetuating if we don’t have the correct balance of nutrients, and more inflammation is created in response to the existing inflammation. When inflammation is chronic (long-term), it can lead to several disease states, including some cancers, atherosclerosis, autoimmune conditions such as psoriasis or lupus, and arthritis. Dietary improvements including more anti-inflammatory foods can be a natural way to manage some symptoms of chronic inflammation.

Chronic pain is linked to inflammation and is so common that it affects almost all of us at one time or another. A poor diet, lack of exercise, and chronic repetitive motion (like sitting at a computer screen all day) often trigger pain. The most common cause of pain, according to Dr. Mark Hyman is our inflammatory diet - foods filled with sugar, trans fat, and refined oil. Hidden or subtle food sensitivities can also cause chronic inflammation. The most common triggers are gluten (found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt, and kamut), and dairy. 

Eliminating these foods for two weeks can often dramatically reduce pain and inflammation. An elimination diet is really the only way to see if and how a food is affecting your health.

Certain super nutrients, including omega-3s found in fish oil and turmeric found in curry, can also help reduce inflammation. In fact, many refer to turmeric as nature's ibuprofen.

Here are some simple things you can do to reduce pain and inflammation from Mark Hyman:

Eliminate processed and junk food.
Dramatically reduce or eliminate sugar.
Do a two-week trial of an elimination diet, getting rid of all gluten and dairy.
Try turmeric, taken as one 500 mg capsule twice a day.
Take 2-3 grams a day of EPA/DHA (fish oil).
Exercise: walking 30 minutes a day is a good start.
Sleep eight hours a night, as a lack of sleep can increase muscle pain and inflammation.
Lack of exercise and stretching and hunching over a computer all day are a big source of back, shoulder, and neck pain.

Head to your supermarket to ease pain and inflammation!

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