An Inflammatory Battle

This is not actually about a battle that is inflammatory. This is about the battle against inflammation itself. Inflammation, which is an immune response, creates pain, stiffness and decreased function in joints, muscles and other parts of your body. Inflammation reduces proper flow of blood and lymph, thus allowing toxins to build up in that area. This swelling results from injury, infection or just irritation of soft tissues and can slow the healing process.

The most common approach to treatment of inflammation is with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). More than 70 million prescriptions are written for NSAIDs each year and 30 BILLION over-the-counter tablets are sold annually. This represents a 9 billion dollar annual industry in the United States alone.

So what’s wrong with using NSAIDs? Their use has been associated with gastric ulcers, bleeding, myocardial infarction, stroke and even death. Prescription NSAIDs for rheumatoid and osteoarthritis alone cause over 16,000 deaths each year. NSAIDs are actually the most common cause of drug-related mortality reported to the FDA and other regulatory agencies around the world.

Are you taking NSAIDs? You may not know them by that name. We see them as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxin and other terms. There are safer and healthier alternatives! For localized relief, an ice pack can be very effective. Ice should only be used when there are no serious circulatory problems. Also, don’t put it directly on the skin. Use a thin towel or something similar to protect the skin. Place the ice pack on the area of inflammation for 10-20 minutes.

For longer term treatment, omega-3 fish oil can help to control inflammation. Essential fatty acids in the fish oil can help reduce joint pain, including pain from arthritis. Most of the greasy foods that people eat, including potato chips, french fries and many processed foods are high in omega-6 fatty acids, which can increase inflammation in the body. Eating too much red meat can also contribute to the inflammatory process.

Much has been studied and written about the harmful effects of inflammatory processes within the body. It goes beyond simple pain. However, I won’t try to address that issue in this brief post. How do you know if there’s inflammation if it’s not all red and swollen? When it comes to joints and muscles, if it hurts, there’s usually inflammation. What about treating it with heat? Heat is good for stiffness. Alternating heat and cold can even be an effective method of treating mild inflammation and driving out toxins. However, heat pulls fluids in, which can increase inflammation. That’s why I always tell my patients — if in doubt, use ice.

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One Response to “An Inflammatory Battle”

  1. jeannine Says:

    Thank you for the very informative information. I found it very helpful, and will most likly be calling for an appointment in the very near future. I do agree with your chiropratic ideas and feel that you technics with help many members of my family. I look forward to readin more from your blog in the future.

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