How to Reduce Inflammation and Chronic Pain

Everyone knows what pain is and have felt it at one point in their life.

In basic terms, pain is like pulling the alarm, a signal sent to the central nervous system; the body’s strategy to tell us that something has gone wrong (e.g., acute injury, cut, or sprain). Almost always there is an inflammatory component to the body’s responses in order to regain balance, to self-correct, to achieve dynamic equilibrium.

Pain and inflammation are natural healing strategies, and often, pain goes hand in hand with inflammation. This is an incredible self-preservation mechanism designed to prevent further damage. By generating heat and swelling, the aim is to immobilise the limb and ignite the healing and repair phase. The build-up of liquid and increased vascular permeability allows for immune cells to quickly reach the damaged tissue and for the prompt removal of foreign particles and microbes.

Pain is in no way our enemy, nor is inflammation. It is when it gets out of control that inflammation becomes a problem.

Very often chronic inflammation is associated with a blockage, let it be energetic or physical. Unhealthy dietary and lifestyle choices can exacerbate the feeling of pain by adding fuel to the fire.

An inflammatory diet, rich in sugar, conventional red meat, and highly processed and refined grain products and seed oils, disturbs the gut microbiome and leads to intestinal inflammation, which in turn affects gut permeability. Inflammatory markers are then able to travel to other parts of the body, principally the brain and the joints, leading to pain and cognitive dysfunction, such as poor memory and concentration, brain fog, fatigue, and in the long term may lead to neurodegenerative disorders and thyroid dysfunction, which in turn will lead to more inflammation and pain, in a self-perpetuating mechanism.

Sleep issues, environmental toxins, blood sugar imbalances, chronic infections, food sensitivities, and allergies are additional factors that lead to chronic inflammation. So is chronic stress and anxiety, powerful perpetrators of inflammation, digestive disorders, and increased gut permeability. (*)

Chronic inflammation is perceived as stress by the body and responses are the same as facing impending danger.

Often associated with fatigue, anxiety, depression, and reduction in movement, blockages intensify, and the immune system may also become sluggish or even suppressed. Inflammation should go when it is no longer needed. There is no reason for anyone to constantly experience pain. When inflammation goes undetected for a very long time, or when pain is incessant, relying on a constant supply of NSAIDs (painkillers) may, in fact, make everything worse, driving pain and inflammation to new heights, causing serious damage along the digestive tract and leading to increased gut permeability, and the cycle continues.

The immune system may become confused and immune cells can mistakenly attack our own tissues (e.g. MS, rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis, Alzheimer’s, Systemic lupus erythematosus, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, coeliac disease, and many more).

Walking is one of the best exercises to get things moving.

The lymphatic system, unlike the blood, does not have a pump like the heart, instead, it relies on mechanical movement. Muscles contract and relax, pushing the lymph forward; An absence of movement equals stagnation.

Gentle exercises and lymph tonics, such as cold showers and lymphatic massages can also help strengthen the immune system. This must be accompanied by dietary changes and an increase in the consumption of alkalising, nutrient-rich, antioxidant-rich plant-based foods, which are also rich in fibre.

Increasing dietary fibre is a key element to reducing inflammation and chronic pain because we lack the necessary enzymes to digest fibre. Fibre becomes an invaluable food source for the right kind of gut bacteria (pathogenic, opportunistic bacteria feed on sugar and release pro-inflammatory metabolites and gas) and directly helps in repairing the gut lining, reduces permeability, thus preventing inflammatory cells and toxins to cross the gut wall and reach the circulatory system.

Chronic inflammation has been linked to almost every major health conditions.

It greatly increases the production of free radicals in the body and drives many degenerative diseases including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic disorders, and is associated with obesity which can exacerbate inflammatory pathways further. Fat cells produce a multitude of inflammatory cells (and oestrogens) to warn the body that they are reaching (or have reached) full capacity. In turn, elevated levels of inflammatory markers may prevent weight loss.

Supporting liver function is important in order to reduce toxins and prevent cholesterol and waste material accumulation. By restoring a symbiotic gut environment, cholesterol re-uptake is prevented and is thus excreted via the feces. The liver must, therefore, replenish the depleting stores and pull cholesterol out of the fatty tissue, increasing the level of the “good” cholesterol (HDL) in circulation.

By restoring a symbiotic gut environment, cholesterol re-uptake is prevented and is thus excreted via the feces. The liver must, therefore, replenish the depleting stores and pull cholesterol out of the fatty tissue, increasing the level of the “good” cholesterol (HDL) in circulation.

Cellular and liver detoxification pathways rely on a constant supply of nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin A, C, D, E, calcium, the complete array of amino acids (proteins), and sulphur compounds, such as those found in cruciferous vegetables, and bioflavonoids.

Methylation is one of the most crucial detoxification pathways occurring every second of every day and dysfunction may lead to higher homocysteine levels. Which is a very powerful inflammatory molecule capable of damaging the inner lining of arteries and increase blood pressure, a leading cause of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Without sufficient stomach acid, digestion and absorption of nutrients are greatly reduced and deficiencies are inevitable, so is inflammation. Liver function is also compromised as a result.

There are tests to detect and measure inflammation: fasting insulin and fasting blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c (HA1c), C-reactive protein, and serum ferritin. Food sensitivity IgG-mediated testing may also be considered to detect low-grade, chronic inflammation.

These tests can help a health practitioner find the cause(s) of chronic inflammation or pain.

They then can come up with a plan to restore balance, achieve a dynamic equilibrium so you can be pain-free, happier, and full of vitality.

– Oliver



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