The word inflammation comes from the Latin word ‘set afire’ and most of us recognize that feeling of heat which often accompanies what we think of as inflammation. But there is much more to this common and complex problem than meets the eye.
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is caused by white blood cells and their by-products, which the body produces to help fight off foreign bodies like viruses and bacteria or to address the damage of a trauma or injury. The body’s cells release chemicals such as histamines, bradykinin and prostaglandins, which cause blood vessels to leak. The resulting increased blood flow to the area may stimulate nerves and cause pain. Inflammation can also be caused by Autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, myocarditis and Crohn’s Disease, as well as Alzheimer’s.
Symptoms of inflammation vary depending on their cause. However, they are likely to include redness, swelling, heat, joint stiffness and pain. You might also experience fever, chills, fatigue, headaches, loss of appetite and muscle stiffness. When inflammation is related to Autoimmune disease symptoms may be very subtle, or not apparent at all, and so may go unnoticed.
Treatment for Inflammation
There is a range of treatments for inflammation. Healthy eating of a diet including plenty of fruits, vegetables and Omega-3 rich foods is important, as is avoiding saturated fats. Probiotic foods such as yoghurt can help, particularly in cases of diseases like Crohn’s. There are a number of spices that will assist in reducing inflammation, including ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, and turmeric.
There is a range of medications that can also help called NSAIDs – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Some of these can be bought over the counter, whilst others require a prescription. Remember, it is always important to talk to your healthcare professional before taking any medications, including the supplements that are available for inflammation.
Other lifestyle factors such as smoking and drinking alcohol can have a negative effect on inflammatory response, and so should be avoided, as should food additives like Aspartame and MSG.
Staying active, and getting plenty of rest is important. It may be appropriate to consider bracing or support if a joint is affected. In more extreme cases it may be necessary to have surgery if a joint is damaged by the inflammation.
It is important to keep the affected joints mobile, through physical therapy, exercise and massage. The practitioners at Precision Health Spine & Sports Clinic can assist you with a range of treatment for inflammation including Chiropractic, Massage and Podiatry, and provide advice on supplements that may help relieve pain and symptoms.
If you are suffering from an inflammatory response, contact our Baulkham Hills clinic to make an appointment today with one of our expert health practitioners.