Chronic inflammation is more common than most people know. Inflammation occurs naturally in the body; however, we are trained to treat inflammation using methods that only take away the symptoms and don’t address the cause. Research has linked inflammation to a multitude of health problems, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoarthritis, cancer and Alzheimer’s. This is why it is important to recognize inflammation, and treat it before it becomes chronic.
What is Inflammation
Inflammation is a natural process in the body that helps remove harmful pathogens like bacteria and viruses. This is the immune system’s way of fighting off foreign invaders. Without inflammation, these substances could enter our bodies and potentially kill us.
We are all familiar with acute inflammation like when we are bitten by a bug or stub our toe; however, chronic inflammation is long term and can be created by a multitude of reasons such as an imbalance in the immune system or, in cases like arthritis, when an inflammatory response is triggered without any foreign substance to fight.
When inflammation occurs, the immune system releases white blood cells to fight any unwanted, foreign substance. The problem begins when regular inflammation turns to chronic inflammation. This indicates an imbalance in the immune system.
What Causes Inflammation
Inflammation can be caused by a variety of factors ranging from the foods we eat to our lifestyle choices. Not getting enough sleep or putting yourself under a lot of stress can put your immune system at risk, leading to inflammation. Chronic inflammation can also be caused by the inability to eliminate the initial cause of inflammation or by an autoimmune response where the immune system turns healthy tissue into unhealthy pathogens.
Signs and Symptoms
Most people don’t know they are suffering from chronic inflammation until they are diagnosed with a disease associated with it such as, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease or multiple sclerosis. Other signs may include redness, swollen joints that are warm to the touch, high blood pressure, fatigue, irritable bowels, pain in the joints, weight gain or stiffness.
With the immune system constantly under pressure, it becomes overused, and the body responds with more inflammation to help with the fight. This viscous cycle can result in achy joints, foggy brain, fatigue, organ damage, and any number of other serious conditions. –Symmetry Health Center
There are countless different bacteria that reside in our gut and are make up a major facet of the immune system; however, some of these bacteria contain endotoxins that can leak from the gut to the bloodstream which can trigger an inflammatory response. Studies have shown a connection between an unhealthy diet and high endotoxin levels in the blood while others have shown a more direct connection where endotoxin levels increased directly after eating an unhealthy meal.
Many of us also eat highly inflammatory foods including processed foods, commercial meats, and farmed fish. When we eat these foods, we allow the toxins and bacteria to leak into our bodies and bloodstream. When this happens, our immune system recognizes that there is a foreign substance and now has to work to fight it off, resulting in inflammation.
The best solution is to change your eating habits and eat a real food based diet with plenty of fiber and fewer carbs.
Unfortunately, most people turn to anti-inflammatory drugs to treat this inflammation and pain. These will provide short term relief of acute pain, but can cause serious long term health problems if abused. Instead of taking anti-inflammatory drugs, start by using natural alternatives like balancing your diet with healthy Omega 3 fatty acids and tumeric, a spice that serves as an anti-inflammatory and strong antioxidant. Additionally, chiropractic care can significantly help relieve pain from areas of the body with choric inflammation.
To deal with inflammation and pain, more than 14 million patients turn to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which suppress the symptoms of headaches, musculoskeletal pains, arthritis, sports injuries, menstrual cramps and allergies—and are responsible for more than 100,000 hospitalizations and 16,500 deaths a year in the United States alone. -ACA
How Chiropractic Care Can Help
Some studies show that adjustments can reduce the production of Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), a major ingredient in acute and chronic inflammation. Consistent adjustments may help reduce inflammation throughout the body. Additionally, researchers are continuing to study how TNF-α blockage can effect those with chronic diseases associated with inflammation.