Inflammation and Lower Back Pain Relief
Inflammation has got to be a bad thing, right?
That’s why there are so many anti-inflammation medications with all sorts of fancy adverts on TV.
But is it really that bad? Well, yes and no.
Actually, inflammation is a critical part of your body’s repair process, and is essential for proper healing. Basically, it is how your body repairs damaged or injured tissues.
However, chronic, long term, inflammation is very bad for us and has been linked to causing not only joint arthritis, but also heart disease and atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes, obesity and Alzheimer’s among other chronic diseases.
Acute inflammation is a normal process that repairs and protects the body following physical injury or infection. You may experience pain, heat, swelling and redness at the site of injury. This is due to an increase in blood flow to the injury (bringing the repair cells) and the release of certain chemicals. It is a very complex biological process.
Without the acute inflammation process, injured and damaged tissues cannot repair and heal properly.
Whilst inconvenient and a pain, your body is actually doing what is necessary for it to continue to function at its best. You see, your body is an incredible self healing organism that is always repairing itself in order to survive. If you have ever cut yourself for example, you have seen this first hand. Your body actually fixed that cut up all by itself, without any conscious effort on your part. It is pretty amazing really.
The acute inflammatory repair process can take from 6 weeks to several months depending on the severity of injury. That’s OK, because it is the body’s self repair mechanism, and it is essential for us to stay alive and healthy. In this case, inflammation is good.
Chronic inflammation occurs when whatever initially caused the acute inflammatory process persists. Chronic inflammation can then last for days, months, and even years. Unfortunately, this can result in tissue damage.
Chronic inflammation is abnormal and does not benefit the body; in fact, chronic inflammation is involved in a number of disease states including asthma, Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatica, tendonitis, bursitis, laryngitis, gingivitis, gastritis, otitis, celiac disease (gluten intolerance), diverticulitis (infection of the diverticula in the colon), and inflammatory bowel disease. Additionally, a number of chronic diseases have inflammatory components, such as atherosclerosis, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and perhaps even Alzheimer's disease.
That’s quite a long list! As you can see in these cases, inflammation is a very bad thing indeed!
Almost all cases of back pain have an inflammation component. This is a result of the spinal tissues being strained, sprained and damaged. If the strain on the spine persists, for example due to a bad injury or long term poor posture and abnormal movement patterns, then the inflammation will have become chronic. If you have had persistent back pain for more than 6 weeks, you will have chronic inflammation.
Unfortunately this can lead to tissue damage, causing arthritic change of the spinal (or facet) joints and degeneration of the discs.
So How Can You Prevent Chronic Inflammation.
Well, anti-inflammatory medications are certainly one way, but long term use is well known to cause gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers, and in the case of some (Vioxx and Celebrex) even an increased risk of heart attacks!
Ice packs have long been used to ease inflammation. They generally work best on acute inflammation, within the first few days of injury. Best of all, there are no adverse side effects. One of the first things you will learn in my course is the correct and most effective way to use ice packs.
What You Eat Can Also Affect the Levels of Inflammation in Your Body.
Basically the more whole foods such as fruit and vegetables, seeds and nuts, and animal proteins like fish, chicken and beef (preferably wild caught or grass fed in the case of beef) the better your health will be overall. Specifically foods that have been shown to reduce inflammation are omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil), the 'Asia wonder spice' turmeric (also known as curcumin), and ginger.
The more processed, sugary and ‘junk’ food you eat the more unhealthy you will be. These types of food may also cause chronic inflammation, and may be a factor in the diseases listed above.
This has been a long and somewhat technical post, so... In a nutshell.
Most back pain occurs as a result of injury to the spinal tissues, usually as a result of bad movement patterns. These injuries, even very minor ones, can accumulate and cause inflammation. Lower back pain relief initially requires reducing inflammation.
Acute inflammation is your body repairing an injury. It is your body fixing itself. Ice packs are a convenient way to ease acute inflammation.
Chronic inflammation persists when the agent creating the injury does not go away, for example bad movement patterns straining the spine. Chronic inflammation can lead to tissue damage and disease. Certain foods can assist in reducing inflammation, but while ever the aggravating factor remains, it will keep coming back. We highly recommend the world's best natural anti-inflammatory, turmeric.
I hope you made it to the end. If you did you now know more about inflammation than most people, and probably a few health professionals too! The information here can be used to not just help ease back pain, but improve your overall health and wellbeing.
If you have any questions, or would like to share your own experience, please leave us a comment below.