You’ve banged your head, and suddenly there is a red lump that feels warm and sore. This is your body responding to pain. This natural immune response mechanism is an essential part of the healing process and is known as inflammation.
However, the kind of inflammation that causes the knock on your head to swell is known as acute inflammation which is good for your body as will help you to heal faster. Unfortunately, there is a second kind of inflammation that is harmful to your body known as chronic inflammation.
What is Chronic Inflammation?
Chronic inflammation occurs when the stimulus causing the inflammation in your body is persistent or left untreated. Often this is due to exposure to environmental toxins, poor diet, infection and stress.
This inflammatory response can last for weeks, months or even years and this prolonged inflammation can overload your immune system. When your immune system is overworked, it can lead to confusion between pathogens or damaged tissue and your healthy cells which unfortunately causes a host of other diseases. For inflamed tissues, this can mean that fibrous tissue grows in place of healthy tissue causing severe pain and reduced mobility.
Tips to Treat Chronic Inflammation
1. Change Your Diet
Chronic inflammation is highly responsive to changes in your lifestyle, and one of the most effective changes you can make is to your diet.
Diets high is trans and saturated fats, as well as sugar, are linked with an increased risk of chronic inflammation. Switching your diet to one that contains a lot of plant-based, nutrient-dense foods can provide your body with the vitamins, mineral, and anti-oxidants that it needs to reduce inflammation.
A diet high is Omega-3 fatty acids has also been linked to reduced inflammation. So, include nuts, seeds, and oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines in your diet to ensure your body is getting adequate Omega-3.
A healthy diet can also help you to maintain a healthy weight which can alleviate some of the biomechanical stress that may be the source of your inflammation. Nutritional counselling can assist you in finding the right diet to reduce your inflammation.
2. Drink More Water
Water is vital for keeping your body functioning properly, keeping your cells hydrated and eliminating toxins from your body.
Water keeps joints, and the discs of the spine lubricated to prevent inflammation due to rubbing. Water also keeps the pH of the body balanced and effectively reduces acidosis to help alleviate chronic inflammation.
Most health professionals recommend an average of 8 -10 glasses of water per day. However, you may need more or less depending on your body type, activity level and exposure to hot or dry weather.
3. Reduce Your Stress
Stress can take many forms from environmental stress from poor air quality or chemical exposure to mental stress due to overwork or anxiety, as well as physical stress from excessive exercise or a sedentary lifestyle. Stress triggers the release of hormones which contributes to chronic inflammation.
Managing your stress can help to reduce chronic inflammation by balancing hormone levels. Try yoga, meditation, or simply a leisurely stroll. Taking the time for a little self-care can go a long way to treating inflammation.
4. Get Better Quality Sleep
Sleep deprivation has been linked with an increased inflammatory response as it places a lot of stress on the body. In fact, studies have shown that reduced sleep can signal an immune response that releases cytokines into the blood causing inflammation.
5. Get Chiropractic Care
Reducing the source of the inflammation can not only alleviate pain but also stop the release of proteins that contribute to inflammation. With chiropractic care, this can be achieved through manual manipulations, myofascial trigger point therapy, and other adjustment techniques.
6. Exercise Moderately
Regular exercise keeps muscles and joints moving smoothly and helps to balance your hormone levels to reduce stress and keep your body in balance.
Exercise improves blood flow which aids in the transport of oxygen and nutrients to the inflamed areas, but and it boosts your immune system which promotes faster healing.
However, excessive exercise can be responsible for many acute and chronic inflammatory cases because of overused muscles and joints or injury. Moderate daily exercise is a more effective way to manage chronic inflammation.
You don’t need to let chronic inflammation affect your life. Some of the best ways to treat chronic inflammation is with chiropractic care.
Consult with your chiropractic team about a course of chiropractic inflammation treatment and lifestyle changes you can make to stop inflammation.