In the last two months I have been seeing many patients with poorly managed pain. Typically they have either come to see me after finding that standard approaches to pain management have stopped working, or never worked to start with. The actual conditions are often varied. It may be:
- muscular aches.
- digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.
- worsened period pain.
- and headaches.
Regardless of how the pain is manifesting, I always find it’s important to understand the “real” reason for pain. Short of acute injury, pain is a warning signal, and usually a sign of out of control inflammatory processes going on. In this article I hope to clarify facts about causes and contributors of inflammation and inflammation driven conditions.
“Chronic pain and inflammation ruins lives, but it doesn’t have to be this way – our bodies are designed to repair, recover and WIN “
Aside from injury and acute infection, inflammation can be triggered by poor diet, leaky gut, toxicity, poor lifestyle choices such as lack of exercise or smoking, chronic low grade infection and ongoing stress. All of these can keep the inflammation fire burning!
Friend or Foe
Inflammation may be short term in response to an injury or irritation, however in some cases this can become chronic pain and start doing more harm than good. Decreasing inflammation can help alleviate pain and increase your vitality and quality of life again. Pharmaceutical anti – inflammatories are commonly used to decrease pain and inflammation; however they also carry the risks of damaging your digestive tract and do not resolve the underlying cause of inflammation.
Putting out the Body’s Fire
For optimal health, it is important to dampen down and put out this fire! In my clinic I have found that one of the best ways of doing this is through what you eat. Eating is a highly inflammatory process, and something that we all do regularly throughout the day. So it makes sense to make what we’re eating as anti-inflammatory as possible.
The standard Australian diet promotes inflammation. It is high in sugar and refined carbohydrates that break down quickly into glucose and have been shown to induce inflammatory changes that are linked with many chronic diseases.
In susceptible people , foods like dairy products and gluten containing foods can trigger an inflammatory response within the digestive tract and throughout the whole body.
Foods that decrease inflammation:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Good fats from fish, nuts, seeds, avocado, coconut oil etc
- Herbs and spices such as ginger and turmeric
- Eat mostly wholefoods and organic where possible
Foods that increase inflammation:
- High intake of processed foods and sugar e.g bread, pasta, cereals, biscuits etc
- Trans fats
- Artificial flavours, colours and preservatives
- Excess coffee and alcohol
- Allergenic foods – dairy and gluten
Don’t let pain and inflammation reduce your quality of life. Make a time to talk to us about addressing the underlying cause of your inflammation and take steps to put this fire out.