Inflammation is the body’s natural immune response to injury or infection. It is a complex process involving the activation of various cells and molecules. While inflammation is essential for healing, chronic inflammation can adversely affect your health.
However, many people may not be well-versed in this mysterious condition known as chronic inflammation. It is also connected to some of humanity’s most serious health problems.
So, when is inflammation good, bad, or downright ugly? In this blog, we will explore the different types of inflammation, when it is good or bad, and how you can reduce chronic inflammation naturally.
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation serves as a necessary biological response essential for survival.
When the immune system identifies harmful stimuli like pathogens, damaged tissues, or irritants, it initiates inflammation as a defence mechanism to attack these foreign invaders or repair the damage, promoting healing in our bodies.
However, the problem arises when inflammation persists chronically due to an unhealthy diet and lifestyle. The immune system can become dysfunctional, leading to excessive inflammation or triggering an inflammatory response when it’s unnecessary.
When a person has an overactive immune system, it may lose its ability to differentiate between foreign invaders and its tissues and organs, which can result in autoimmune diseases.
Therefore, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is imperative to prevent chronic inflammation and its subsequent health hazards.
What is Acute Inflammation
Acute inflammation is a normal function of our body and happens when our body needs to heal itself immediately. Examples include swelling of your ankle when you twist it or fever when you’re sick.
Once the body has completed its anti-inflammatory job, the symptoms of inflammation disappear. On the other hand, chronic inflammation doesn’t happen right away. Notice symptoms can take days, weeks, months, or even years.
What is Chronic Inflammation
Chronic inflammation can cause severe damage and diseases like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. For instance, chronic inflammation can result from or significantly exacerbate heart disease.
When the thin layer of cells lining blood vessel walls called the endothelium gets damaged by anything harmful entering the bloodstream, the immune system dispatches white blood cells, which multiply, and this is how inflammation is supposed to function.
But when these inflammatory cells stay within the blood vessel walls for too long over time, they cause the buildup of dangerous plaques. And when these plaques explode inside an artery, a heart attack or stroke may occur. Understanding Acute and Chronic Inflammation.
What Causes Chronic Inflammation
Chronic inflammation can be caused by a variety of factors, including (but not limited to):
Eating a diet high in added sugars, refined carbohydrates, processed or fried foods, and unhealthy fats can lead to chronic inflammation.
Drinking alcohol in excess (more than one or two servings a day) or smoking cigarettes can contribute to chronic inflammation.
Fat tissues release inflammatory substances that can lead to chronic inflammation.
Exposure to environmental toxins, such as air pollution or pesticides, can trigger chronic inflammation.
Chronic exposure to allergens, such as pollen or dust mites, can cause chronic inflammation in susceptible individuals.
Prolonged periods of stress can lead to chronic inflammation by triggering the release of stress hormones that cause inflammation.
Common Symptoms of Chronic Inflammation
The following are common symptoms associated with chronic inflammation:
- Digestive problems
- Fatigue or low energy levels
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Skin conditions such as eczema
- Autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disorders, and celiac disease
- Elevated blood sugar levels
- High cholesterol levels
- Allergies and allergic reactions
How to Reduce Chronic Inflammation
There are several ways to reduce chronic inflammation, including:
Moderate exercise can improve immune function and decrease inflammation. Activities like walking, running, yoga, weight-training, swimming or spinning, ideally for 30-60 minutes per day, with 1-2 rest days per week.
Getting enough sleep:
Aiming for 7-8 hours of restful sleep each night helps promote cellular repair and recovery.
Practice stress-reducing activities like meditation, deep breathing, yoga, or tai chi.
Maintaining a healthy weight:
Keeping a healthy weight through regular exercise and a balanced diet is important because it can prevent inflammation, which is known to be associated with being overweight or obese.
Avoiding toxins and pollutants:
Limit exposure to environmental toxins and impurities by using natural cleaning products and avoiding smoking or secondhand smoke.
Incorporating anti-inflammatory supplements:
Supplements like omega-3 fatty acids, curcumin, ginger, and probiotics may help reduce inflammation. Consult with a healthcare provider before adding supplements to your routine.
Managing underlying health conditions:
Chronic inflammation can be a symptom of underlying health conditions like autoimmune diseases, so working with a healthcare provider to address any underlying conditions is essential.
Eating an anti-inflammatory diet:
Including whole, plant-based nutrient-rich foods in your diet, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats (omega-3 fatty acids). Limiting or avoiding processed and sugary foods, unhealthy fats, and alcohol.
Chiropractors can help reduce inflammation by realigning the spine and improving nerve function. When the nervous system is functioning properly, it can better regulate the body’s response to inflammation and promote healing.
Acupuncturists can also help reduce inflammation by stimulating the body’s natural healing mechanisms. By inserting thin needles into specific points on the body, acupuncture can help improve blood flow and reduce inflammation.
Massage therapists offer another powerful tool for reducing inflammation. Massage can help increase circulation and lymphatic flow, which can help remove waste products and reduce inflammation in the body.
At South Surrey Chiropractic and Wellness, we believe in taking a holistic approach to health and wellness. If you are concerned about inflammation in your body, we are here to help.
We can work with you to develop a personalized plan that addresses your unique needs and helps you feel your best.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. We are here to support you on your health journey.
South Surrey Chiropractic and Wellness
South Surrey Chiropractic and Wellness is an integrated multidisciplinary wellness clinic in South Surrey, BC, located in the professional buildings at Semiahmoo Shopping Center (16th Ave/North Bluff Road and Martin Drive). 1656 Martin Dr. #305, Surrey, BC V4A 6E7. Phone: 604-531-6446.
The clinic offers various services to help individuals achieve and maintain optimal health, including:
- Chiropractic care
- Family chiropractic care
- Massage therapy
- Spinal decompression
- Cold laser therapy
- Shockwave therapy
Our team (Chiropractors, Acupuncturists, and Massage Therapists) at South Surrey Chiropractic and Wellness work together to provide high-quality, personalized care to help their patients achieve their health and wellness goals so that they can be “Your Most Well Self.”
If you are interested in exploring the benefits of our integrated wellness center, contact our office to book an appointment or answer any questions you may have.
Online booking is available (for most practitioners) to schedule appointments at your convenience. In addition, we support ICBC claims and offer direct billing to most insurance providers.
South Surrey Chiropractic and Wellness provide patients with a welcoming and supportive environment to take the first steps towards a healthier and happier you.