What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is your body’s attempt to protect itself and begin the healing process. When a part of the body is injured or infected, the first response is to increase blood flow into the area which allows more nutrients and white blood cells to access the tissue and begins to repair or get rid of the infection. It’s an instinctual response that your body does automatically.
The result of this is swelling, redness and pain in the affected area. The swelling and redness is caused by the increased amount of blood. The pain is caused by substances that are naturally produced as part of the inflammation process which make the nerve endings in the area more sensitive.
In most cases inflammation is a vital and beneficial part of the healing process. However, that is not always the case. Sometimes the body’s natural inflammation response can actually be a hindrance to the healing process, leading to continuous inflammation and pain.
Chronic inflammation comes about when the injury or infection cannot be properly addressed by the body’s natural healing process or in cases of autoimmune diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and Gluten Intolerance (Gluten intolerance is caused by the immune system attacking the body when it encounters gluten).
Common Conditions Related to Chronic Inflammation:
Gluten Intolerance/Celiac Disease: An immune system reaction caused by eating gluten.
Asthma: Narrowing and closing of the airway, restricting breathing.
Spinal Arthritis/Ankylosing spondylitis: Spinal column inflammation leading to back pain and hunched posture.
Spinal disc or membrane inflammation: Infection or injury to the spinal discs or protective membrane causing chronic inflammation and back pain.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: Inflammation of the joints caused by the immune system attacking joint tissue.
Lupus: an inflammatory disease caused by the immune system attacking the body in general.
Arteriosclerosis/atherosclerosis: hardening and inflammation of the arterial walls causing restriction of blood flow. Atherosclerosis was previously thought to be caused solely by buildup of arterial plaque, however research is showing that inflammation plays a large part in this condition as well.
These are not a complete list but are an example of the many different conditions that cause or involve chronic inflammation.
Natural Inflammation Remedies
Whether the cause of your chronic inflammation can be treated or not, there are still natural solutions for supporting the body’s natural inflammation response and reducing unnecessary inflammation.
- Turmeric – A root that is similar in appearance to Ginger, except it is bright orange on the inside. In a 2009 study Turmeric was found to reduce arthritis pain as effectively as Ibuprofen.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19678780
- Bromelain – An enzyme found in pineapple that has been shown to reduce inflammation and pain.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3529416/
- Boswellia – Boswellia serrata is a large tree. The gum resin from this tree is considered a traditional Ayurvedic herb. The beneficial properties of the gum resin are attributed to the presence of boswellic acids, which reduce inflammation.http://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-2053005
- Devil’s Claw – A fruit bearing plant of the sesame family which gets its name from the tiny hooks that cover its fruit. Several studies show that devil’s claw can reduce pain and improve physical functioning in people with osteoarthritis.http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/devils-claw
- Fish Oil (Omega-3 EFAs) – In comparing Ibuprofen with Omega-3 EFAs it was demonstrated that Fish oil containing Omega-3 EFAs had an equivalent effect in reducing arthritic pain. The study indicated that Omega-3 EFA fish oil supplements could be a safer alternative to treatment with NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs).http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16531187