Pain, fatigue, anxiety, infection…
Learn more about the common signs of inflammation and how you can treat this condition.
Pain might be a natural part of life, but it shouldn’t be considered “normal.”
A body in pain is one that is not working properly. Any symptoms of pain or discomfort are an indication that something needs to be cared for.
And one of the growing causes behind pain is chronic inflammation.
A recent study listed chronic inflammation as “the most significant cause of death in the world,” so it’s something that deserves a closer look. In this article, we’ll look at some common signs of inflammation and what you can do about it.
What is Inflammation?
Most of us are probably familiar with the pain, redness, and swelling that we call “inflammation.” But what exactly is it?
When the body is injured (for instance, when you sprain your ankle on your morning jog), your body increases the amount of blood flow to the injured area. This extra blood causes redness and swelling, but what about the pain? Can’t we do without that part?
Pain is a helpful signal from your body that something is wrong. When you sprain your ankle, the pain tells you, “Don’t put weight on this joint! It’s still healing!” If you didn’t feel any pain, you might go on another jog the next day and cause further damage.
Acute inflammation that is caused by an injury will generally dissipate within a few days with the right amount of care. But chronic inflammation is another story.
The Dangers of Chronic Inflammation
When inflammation doesn’t get better (or worse, spreads throughout the entire body), this is known as chronic inflammation.
If inflammation is a battle between your body and a threat, chronic inflammation is more like a declaration of war. And as with any war, there can be casualties.
When your body is injured, it sends inflammatory cells (a type of white blood cell) to protect you. But when inflammatory cells spend too much time in one area, they can cause plaque buildup in your arteries.
As this plaque accumulates, it can cause a blockage in the artery, putting you at higher risk for a heart attack or stroke.
Signs of Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is linked to nearly every major disease—cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, depression, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and more. But you shouldn’t let a serious diagnosis be your first indication that something is wrong.
Here are some common signs of inflammation.
- Pain in the joints or muscles
- Depression and anxiety
- Gastrointestinal issues (constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux, etc.)
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Frequent infections
If you suspect that you have chronic inflammation, your doctor can order a simple blood test to confirm it.
Being aware of the signs of inflammation is only the first step. The next step is bringing your body back to normal.
If your inflammation stems from a known source—diabetes, for example—treatment for the underlying condition will help. But if you aren’t sure of the cause, here are a few steps you can take to treat chronic inflammation.
Most experts recommend exercise and dietary changes as the first step in the fight against inflammation.
Reduce your consumption of sugar, refined carbs, and red meat. Swap out these items with foods that reduce inflammation, such as tomatoes, leafy greens, nuts, fatty fish (such as salmon), and plenty of fruit. Other ingredients that are known to reduce inflammation are olive oil, turmeric, ginger, black pepper, garlic, and ginseng.
If you don’t care for the taste, many of these herbs and spices are available as an herbal supplement.
For many, the final option is prescription drugs. While NSAIDs and corticosteroids are effective for reducing inflammation, they also cause negative side effects, especially when used long-term.
Luckily, there’s another option.
Treating Inflammation With Chiropractic Care
Many people are surprised when they hear that chiropractic adjustments can fight inflammation. After all, doesn’t it damage your body when you “crack your back”?
Your bones do not “crack” during a chiropractic adjustment. The sound you hear is actually the popping of gas bubbles within the joint. Chiropractic adjustments are meant to bring your body back into alignment, relieve pressure on nerves, and make you feel better, not worse.
And if that doesn’t convince you, consider the 2010 study that showed a reduction in inflammatory cells after just nine chiropractic adjustments!
Don’t Live With Pain!
Inflammation is a widespread and growing concern, but you don’t have to live with it!
If you are experiencing pain, fatigue, digestive issues, or any of the other common signs of inflammation, see your doctor. Once you have a diagnosis, a few lifestyle changes will help set you straight.
And getting regular chiropractic adjustments is an easy addition to your treatment plan.
At Oviedo Chiropractic, our goal isn’t just to make you “feel better,” but to actually be better. We treat the underlying cause of your pain to allow your body to heal itself from the inside out.
Make an appointment today and see the difference that chiropractic care can make!