Americans are suffering poor chronic pain and poor health despite spending more on healthcare than any other nation. Almost every American has multiple health problems that decrease their quality of life and drain their bank accounts. And they’re mistakenly looking to specialists to treat them each individually. Health issues like asthma, hay fever, rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, periodontitis, Alzheimer’s and some cancers are now known to be caused — and made worse — by chronic systemic inflammation.
Chinese medicine has a saying that sums up the issue: “One cause, many diseases.” In other words, it is a single condition within the body that creates an internal environment ripe for pain, illness and disease to take hold, fester and become chronic. For many of the most pressing health concerns, that underlying condition is chronic low-grade inflammation, and it’s brought on by a diet extremely high in processed foods, foods soaked in herbicides and pesticides, drinks made from chemicals and the inability to manage daily stresses that dog the rich and poor, alike.
Reports from The European Molecular Biology Organization acknowledges the role of inflammation on poor health. “An increasing body of evidence shows that chronic inflammation causes and advances many common diseases.” And they recognize the solution: “This opens new possibilities for treatment and therapy by blocking the inflammatory processes.”
When You Need To Worry
Inflammation is a natural response your body has to some form of stress. Specifically, it’s part of the body’s natural immune response to protect itself from harmful stimuli from stressors such as infections, wounds, injuries and ingestion of too many chemicals and harboring of too much mental/psychological stress.
For example, if you eat something too spicy, you may experience intestinal inflammation, which actually helps protect the digestive tract. As another example, when you sprain your ankle, it swells to create a cushion and protect the joint from further damage. Such acute inflammation arises quickly and generally dissipates after a normal period of time. However, inflammation that is chronic and low-grade or not externally apparent (via swelling) is cause for concern. That kind of inflammation may show as a skin redness or rash, but it may also present as chronic pain or fever.
Inflammation that remains in the body can wreak havoc, causing serious health concerns and disease. It is caused and remains active because of genetics, diet, lifestyle choices and one’s environment. Chronic inflammation breaks your body’s internal balance point, disrupts its ability to regulate the immune system and affects the functions of the central nervous system. As such, under the influence of chronic low-grade inflammation, you run a greater risk for pain, illness, disease and accelerated signs and symptoms of aging.
Signs and Symptoms of Inflammation
You should always be mindful of the state of your health and wellness. If you find you experience chronic conditions that could be described as “annoyances” and don’t require an immediate trip to your doctor, then keep an eye on them. If these irritating signs and symptoms remain for more than a month (some linger for years, even decades, if not treated), you may be experiencing chronic low-grade inflammation.
Signs, symptoms, conditions and diseases associated with inflammation include:
Acid Reflux — Acne — Arthritis — Asthma — Autoimmune Disorders — Bronchitis — Cancer — Candidiasis -Diabetes — Fatigue — Fever — Gout — Headache — Heart Disease — High Blood Pressure — Infections — Join Pain — Neuropathy — Osteoporosis — Psoriasis — Sciatica — Stiffness — Swelling — Urinary tract infections
That’s a lot to consider, especially if you currently experience more than one of these; and many do. My book, Natural Solutions for Pain and Inflammation, details over a dozen inflammation-and-pain related issues and offers natural methods of reducing and clearing them.
Natural Methods to Reduce Inflammation
It is very important to reduce and eliminate chronic low-grade inflammation to allow the body to restore its internal balance. When the body is left to its restorative ways and not interrupted or prevented by inflammation, there is a good chance of attaining a healthy state of wellness. When the body is out of balance, the risk for developing inflammatory-related signs, symptoms, conditions and diseases increases. The good news: There are plenty of simple, natural ways to reduce inflammation and take control of your health.
Reduce your stress: Stress-reduction techniques are plentiful and easy to perform. Establish a time each day for at least 20 minutes of relaxation to calm the body and mind. You may find aromatherapy and hot baths effective. Some people engage in tai chi and yoga. Others find meditation a powerful tool. Find what works for you but be consistent. Try different methods and stick to them. The best results are found with consistent engagement.
Improve your diet: Diet is a crucial contributor to health and especially the inflammation response. Foods high in refined sugar, fats, cholesterol, processed wheat and preservatives wreak havoc on the digestive tract. When you over-consume dehydrating foods, don’t drink enough water and eat an insufficient amount of whole grains and green leafy vegetables, you can suffer constipation. Consuming too many nightshades also contributes to inflammation. Find a balance, avoid foods that are acidic to the body (processed foods) and eat more foods that are alkalizing like fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Exercise in balance: Exercise is important for health and well-being. It strengthens muscles, boosts feel-good hormones, reduces inflammatory fats and chemicals, and reduces stress. Too little or too much exercise, though, is not healthy. Find the exercise level that is adequate for you to feel good, promote health and reduce inflammation.
Balance your lifestyle: Nothing can influence your levels of avoidable inflammation as much as your daily lifestyle choices. If you are suffering the negative effects of chronic inflammation, establish a consistent sleep and wake pattern, hold your level of recreational stimulants to a minimum or exclude them altogether, eat healthy meals, reduce stress, and get just the right amount of exercise and rest. Also, don’t sweat (or stress out over) the small stuff.
Supplementation: There are quite a few supplements that help reduce and/or prevent inflammation. These include turmeric and curcumin concentrates, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D3. A quick Internet search will list others. Supplements are necessary when your diet is lacking or the body is in need of more concentrated anti-inflammatory help. Balance these with your food choices for best results.
For more detailed information and self-help programs to help alleviate pain and inflammation associated with: Arthritis and Joint Pain, Headaches and Migraines, Fibromyalgia, Muscle Spasms, Low Back Pain, Neck & Shoulder Pain, and Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, please refer to my book: Natural Solutions for Pain and Inflammation.