Most of us have experienced inflammation at some point in our lives, whether from a sprained ankle or a bee sting. Acute inflammation resolves after a short time, often without treatment. However, chronic inflammation is harder to treat, lasting months or even years. According to Harvard Medical School, chronic inflammation has various triggers, including family history, diet, and lifestyle. Stress is another trigger—especially if work has you well above your optimal stress threshold.
The good news is that many of these triggers are within our control, especially if the goal is to lead an overall healthy lifestyle. Rather than reaching for a pill bottle to treat the symptoms, you can manage the underlying condition — systemic inflammation — through natural remedies. Today, BeFit Chiro presentes some helpful information on inflammation, including the havoc it wreaks within the body and some ways you can naturally heal yourself.
What Is Inflammation?
According to LiveScience, inflammation is a “vital” immune system response to infection or injury. In addition to helping “repair damaged tissue,” the inflammatory process protects the body from bacteria and viral infections.
Although small amounts of occasional inflammation help your body heal, systemic inflammation poses many serious health threats. When the body remains inflamed for too long, it can lead to chronic systemic inflammation (SI) or systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS). The National Cancer Institute warns that this level of total-body inflammation is a “serious condition.”
In addition to causing long-lasting pain, chronic or systemic inflammation can cause fatigue, gastrointestinal issues, mood disorders, and a weakened immune system. Meanwhile, untreated SIRS negatively impacts body temperature, blood pressure, and blood cell counts. It can ultimately lead to shock, organ failure, or even death.
Treating Systemic Inflammation
Chronic inflammation can be very damaging to the body. Meanwhile, inflammation and pain are so closely linked that scientists are studying whether inflammation contributes to the current opioid crisis. The good news is you don’t have to rely on opioids or painkillers to ease your pain or inflammation. There are ways you can naturally minimize toxicity at a cellular level to help reduce inflammation in your body. Below are three safe, natural options.
- Medical Marijuana
Medical marijuana can reduce chronic pain and treat a range of conditions with fewer side effects than some conventional medications. Perhaps that’s why, according to the American Journal of Managed Care, chronic pain is the number one reason why US patients request prescriptions for medical marijuana.
Just like any other treatment, medical marijuana isn’t for everyone. Before talking to your doctor about medicinal cannabis, do some research on medical marijuana. Make sure it’s legal in your state, then become familiar with some typical terminology. For example, you might mention to your doctor that cannabis contains cannabichromene (CBC), an anti-inflammatory compound that is robust and non-intoxicating. If medical marijuana isn’t an option for you, ask your doctor about cannabidiol (CBD), which reduces inflammation, anxiety, and pain without making you high.
- Anti-Inflammatory Diets
Dietary choices can increase or decrease inflammation in the body. An elimination diet can be a great way to identify foods that might be triggering pain or swelling. An anti-inflammatory diet consisting of fresh, healthy foods like olive oil, pineapple, and leafy greens. Similarly, many people find relief from maintaining a gluten-free or low FODMAPS diet. Although these diets originated to treat bowel inflammation, they may help reduce inflammation throughout the body. Recent research has pointed to a connection between gut health and inflammation. To keep your gut healthy, eat foods rich in probiotics like yogurt, sauerkraut, and apple cider vinegar.
- Natural Pain Remedies
If all else fails, all-natural remedies like massage or yoga can help address the root causes of pain. Many people prefer these gentle treatments instead of masking symptoms with pills. For instance, you might consider acupuncture, acupressure, essential oils, or simply alternating heating pads with ice packs to help heal your body.
When it comes to treating inflammation and pain, don’t limit yourself to over-the-counter painkillers, addictive opioids, or prescription pills. Natural remedies are proving useful for pain and inflammation management.
Talk to a licensed medical professional about lifestyle changes, dietary options, or therapies like massage. If medical marijuana is legal where you live, ask whether a prescription might work for you. Although each body and situation are unique, there’s a good chance that at least one natural, safe treatment could bring you some relief.