Stop the Inflammation = Stop the Pain

When you got out of bed this morning, were you pain-free? Or did your hips and knees ache? Did your hands ache as you brushed your teeth? Many of my patients dismiss these kinds of aches and pains, thinking they’re just normal signs of aging. The pain that you feel is your body’s way of telling you that it’s irritated and needs your help.

Joint pain and inflammation: Most forms of joint pain involve some kind of inflammation—either local or systemic. When injured, a chain of events in your immune system known as the inflammatory cascade is triggered. This is what causes the redness, swelling and pain we often see with an acute injury. When this process, known as local or acute inflammation, turns on and then off in response to injury it’s a sign of a healthy immune system. Yet when the symptoms of inflammation don’t disappear, it tells us that your immune system is unable to turn itself off when it should leading to a state of chronic inflammation.

Chronic inflammation is associated with a range of health conditions and degenerative diseases, including asthma, allergies, skin problems, insulin resistance, type II Diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, auto immune disorders, and arthritis to name a few.

What causes chronic inflammation?

  1. Blood Sugar Issues: A diet high in simple carbs, skipping meals or waiting too long between meals can cause insulin surges that, longterm, create a pro-inflammatory environment in the body.
  2. Digestive Issues: Stress, poor food quality, drug and antibiotic use break down the digestive barrier allowing large particulate matter to seep into the blood stream causing a cascade of inflammation resulting in pain and allergies.
  3. Hormone Imbalance: Changing levels of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and cortisol all play a role in age-related inflammation.
  4. Toxic Stress: There are chemicals in our air, food, personal care items, home products and work environments that burden our detox pathways causing inflammation.
  5. Psychological Stress: Chronic activation of the “fight or flight” response over stimulates the endocrine system leading to an inflammatory state.

How do I know if I have chronic inflammation? We can test the blood for inflammatory markers, such as CRP (C-reactive protein) to determine whether patients are likely to develop inflammatory conditions.

Many conventional doctors aren’t sure how to treat elevated levels and end up avoiding these tests altogether. In our practice we recommend dietary changes, nutritional supplementation and physical modalities that can moderate these inflammatory markers.

How do I begin to heal my pain and inflammation?

  1. Adopt a healthy diet rich in natural anti-inflammatories. Eat small meals often and choose a diet of richly colored fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and omega-3 fatty acids.
  2. Explore natural therapies. Class IV Laser pain relief naturally breaks the inflammatory cycle and releases endorphins (natural pain killers). Natural Medicine, Chiropractic, Acupuncture and Massage Therapy also can be useful in natural pain reduction.
  3. Heal digestive issues. By repairing the digestive tract, nutrients are properly absorbed and inflammation is relieved.
  4. Rid your body of its toxic load with a detox diet. Removing toxic stress reverses inflammation.
  5. Reduce stress. Exercise, meditation, therapy, yoga, prayer – there are so many ways you can relieve stress and lower inflammation markers in your blood. The beauty of stress reduction is that it’s never a waste of time—it serves you on every possible level.

You certainly don’t have to live your life in pain. With some effort and time to heal, you will be doing the things you love and feeling like yourself again.

Dr. Niele Maimone, DC of Align Healing Center in Danville, CA has been active in natural health & wellness for 10 years. For more information or to set up a consult call 925.362.8283 or visit www.alignhealingcenter.com.

California Sons in Retirement (SIRs) Part 2

Second of a four-part series dealing with retirement.

Rob, our fictional hero, becomes bored after six months of retirement and begins to hunt around for stimulation. He meets a SIR (Sons in Retirement) group on the golf course and is invited to their next meeting.

Even when he awoke that morning, Rob wasn’t sure if he would attend the SIR meeting he had been invited to. Certainly after meeting a few SIRs on the putting green at the golf course and hearing about the organization, he felt like going with the flow. But now, as the time neared he wasn’t so sure. He’d looked at the SIR web site and couldn’t find a reason not to go. He had selected a branch website near to where he lived and liked the list of activities they had available for members. But, even so, he wasn’t a joiner and hated to go to meetings where he didn’t know anyone.

‘Are you going to that thing you talked to me about?” his wife asked. “Maybe, maybe not. Not sure.” he replied.

“Well if you don’t go you’ll need to find something around here for lunch. This is my card day, and I won’t be around.”

That settled it. Another homemade tuna lunch all alone was not what he had in mind. “Guess I’ll go.”

When he walked into the big hall and saw over a hundred guys milling around, he hesitated. But before he could turn and run he was grabbed by a couple of guys with “Greeter” badges on. Before he knew it he was part of the melee.

Actually things went quite well for Rob. He didn’t mind the opening with the pledge of allegiance, as he had always been a patriotic guy – or the brief prayer. The short business meeting really consisted of a litany of all the activities these guys were involved in. He heard golf which was one of his favorites, poker which he loved but didn’t do anymore, bridge which he would participate in, morning walks, eating out, trips both local and international – and on and on. Frankly he was floored by the variety and found himself caught up in the possibilities.

The lunch was acceptable and reasonably priced, and the people he sat with seemed likeable. The after-lunch speaker was humorous and short and did educate him on a little bit of local politics.

Someone handed him an application and made a low-key pitch on joining. He was in and out in a couple of hours, and overall it wasn’t that bad. Later that afternoon his wife quizzed him on the lunch.

He found himself caught up in the prospects of joining the golf group which played a different local course each week.

“Why not?” he thought. This looked like the ideal situation for him. There was “no pressure,” and it had all the activities he loved plus a lot more. He could go to a couple of meetings, see how they golf and other activities went, and then either keep going or quit. Better yet, there was no fee for joining. The only requirement was that he attend at least four or five meetings per year and pay for his lunch.

Rob filled out the application and sent it along.

Next month: Rob gets involved and boredom goes out the window.