An Introduction To Inflammation

An Introduction To Inflammation

migraine tips from a chiropractic clinic

What is inflammation and why is it so important?

Over the past few years, research has shown inflammation is an underlying cause of many disorders including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, obesity and many more. Even clogged arteries are caused by inflammation and not cholesterol like we previously thought.

Sometimes inflammation is good. When we twist our ankle or break a bone, inflammation or ‘swelling” works as a natural splint. It tells your body that an injury has taken place and to send your bodies natural healing ability to that area.

BUT sometimes inflammation is bad. Chronic (or constant) inflammation confuses your body and taxes the systems put in place to heal. There are many causes of chronic inflammation. One of the biggest sources is diet. Processed and packaged foods with high fructose corn syrup, preservatives and other chemical additives that your body cannot recognize as food are one of the main causes of inflammation. This can cause problems in the gut, both symptomatic and asymptomatic.

Diet can cause inflammation in the gut, but what starts in the gut, does not stay in the gut. It contributes to “Leaky gut” or intestinal permeability which is a condition where the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged to the point of leaking bacteria, and toxic waste into the bloodstream. That causes the immune system to go into attack mode against any particles considered foreign. Leaky gut causes the health problems listed above, along with many others. It is estimated that 80% of the people suffer from intestinal permeability, leading to a variety of symptoms affecting many areas of the body. (Don’t worry, we will talk more about this in a future article, or you can Google it!)

Two things that we see a lot in our practice, and that we are addressing today, are seasonal allergies and arthritis.

Seasonal allergies are triggered by a type of allergen, commonly pollen or pet dander. Your body has a sensitivity to these and will react by showing symptoms such as sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, runny or clogged sinuses and a dry cough. Your body’s level of inflammation determines how able you are to handle the allergens and how severe the symptoms are.

Your body responds to allergies through histamine which is produced in the liver, and this is where the inflammation problem takes hold. If your liver is inflamed by alcohol, greasy/fatty diet, high fructose corn syrup, or processed foods it cannot determine how much histamine to produce and overdoes it, causing the symptoms of allergies. When a person takes an antihistamine, they control symptoms of allergies by masking them. What a chiropractor does is to work on allergies through supporting the liver, so that it produces the correct histamine response. You can help yourself during allergy season by reducing alcohol, sugar, and other inflammatory foods!

Arthritis is another form of inflammation. This time the inflammation is attacking the joints. There are two different parts to arthritis. There is the inflammation part fueled by the things that we have already talked about. The other part is the actual degenerative changes that occur with arthritis. This includes bone spurs and decreased joint space between the bones. Increased inflammation speeds up the degenerative changes happening in your joints. Decreasing the inflammation in your body will help to slow the degenerative changes and helps reduce the pain associated with arthritis.

How do you decrease your inflammation?

Start with your diet. Take baby steps to eliminate the packaged and processed foods filled with preservatives and increase your healthy foods. Eat a more simple diet of whole foods that your body can recognize. There are also supplements that can help with inflammation. These include turmeric, ginger, and omega-3 (aka fish oil). A study out of Harvard University found that you need a high enough level of omega-3’s in the body in order to resolve inflammation. If you are below this level, you can’t resolve your inflammation and it will continue to linger in your body.

If you’re not sure whether you have inflammation in your body or not, you can take a test to find out. We have omega-3 testing kits at our clinic to test your levels of omega-3 to see if you can resolve your inflammation. It also tells you just how inflamed you actually are. The test is inexpensive and will help you know where your omega levels are. Remember, all Omega’s are not created equal. We have done the research for you, and only sell quality supplements that your body gets the greatest benefit from.

Inflammation is sneaky. Sometimes it makes itself known through disease, and sometimes it is there, waiting to attack. If we are not careful, inflammation can run rampant in our bodies. Everyone experiences inflammation differently, making it hard to determine if you have inflammation or not. Don’t wait for your body to demand attention. Take care of yourself today. Your body will thank you and you’ll reap the benefits of a healthier lifestyle.