In 2013 I slowly began to realize the pain I was experiencing was becoming unbearable. In the years leading up to 2013 I had already unknowingly given up many hobbies I loved, like golf, agate hunting, and traveling. Work was becoming a struggle as well. I worked with many men who were considerably older than myself and if I ever said anything about my pain they would comment, “You’re too young to have pain” and I would believe them. Yet still I knew it was not good. I found myself on the trip of a life time in 2013. As I flew with my best friend I cried in the airplane because of the pain caused by sitting for a prolonged period of time. When we arrived in Texas our host had set up a beautiful tent on the beach with hand painted ply wood floors and once night fell the music began and we danced. Well at least I tried to. Dancing has been one of my favorite activities for as long as I can remember. I am not a professional dancer. I just experience joy when I lose myself to movement and music. Halfway through the first song I had to sit down because the pain I experienced was unbearable. Tears welled up in my eyes and I knew it was time to figure out what was going on. I decided right then and there that I was going to go to the doctor when I flew home and get some answers. I was not willing to give up dancing.
After a series of doctors’ visits, meetings with specialist and second opinions. I was diagnosed with a Spondylolysis with a double pars defect. That meant the hinge part of my L5 vertebrae had detached completely. During that time I also learned that I have bilateral hip dysplasia. I began with strength training to eliminate pain. I had already been active in this practice for many years. Then I was instructed to begin with fixing the back before addressing the hips. The hips appeared to have plenty of cartilage and it was best to try and make them last. Mind you I am no doctor so the terminology I use here is my personal interpretation. I try to be as accurate as I can when I recall this time in my life although there was a bit of emotional turmoil coinciding at the same time. After each surgery I actively participated in the physical therapy prescribed and I learned some essential tools for managing the pain. This was a great place to start. I have spent these past few years learning more ways to manage and reduce chronic pain.
8 out of 10 people experience back pain at least once in their lives. (U.S. National Library of Medicine). There are many more people who experience feeling sluggish, tired or a little off. Inflammation can be associated with a variety of different pains that many of us experience on a daily basis. I am thrilled to inform you that there are numerous ways to integrate anti-inflammatory solutions into your life. You can begin with adding ordinary spices to your diet, eating anti-inflammatory foods, drinking more water, moving your body and don’t forget to ICE your body. By understanding inflammation and anti-inflammatory, you can better target body feedback issues when they do arise.
WHAT CAUSES INFLAMMATION
Whether your body is responding to injury or being attacked by germs the result is inflammation. When the tissues in your body are injured, the damaged cells release inflammatory mediators which includes histamine, bradykinin and prostaglandins. The chemicals I mentioned do numerous different tasks with in your body. They force the narrow blood vessels in the tissue to expand, allowing more blood to reach the area. They begin to isolate the specific area from other tissues in the body so that the problem area will stay localized. If you have ever noticed swelling, redness, pain, increased heat, then you have probably witness the surface indications of inflammation. What the body is doing is increasing the amount of nourishment and immune activity to the area of the body that most needs it. Fascinating right!
This is called acute inflammation and is considered a good thing. This is your body doing what it is designed to do in order to heal. The body has a built in defense mechanism and what is even better, inflammatory mediators attract white blood cells called phagocytes that basically “eat” germs and dead or damaged cells. All this helps the body heal faster after trauma. Visit this link to learn more about it: Body’s defense mechanisms
LET’S TALK ABOUT WHAT INFLAMMATION DOES TO YOUR BODY OVER AN EXTENDED AMOUNT OF TIME
- Alzheimer’s disease
- heart problems
- Crohn’s disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Gouty arthritis
These are some of the chronic conditions that persistent inflammation can often lead to. Ongoing inflammation that is unnecessary can increase you pain levels and damage the body, Inflammation is also known to make you age faster. Keeping levels of inflammation lower increases the chance of staying mentally sharp while aging.
WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT
If you experience chronic pain, If you are building wellness and health, Or if you have one of the listed medical issues There is a good chance that reducing your body’s inflammation will help you feel better and healthier than you do right now. Here is how to begin.
What foods you eat will play a huge role in either causing or reducing inflammation. Luckily reducing inflammation can be as easy as eating anti-inflammatory foods. Here are a few guidelines to help you get started
- Drink more water: That’s right, water is helpful for flushing out toxins and irritants that cause inflammation. Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces a day. It is best to drink your water 30 minutes before eating a meal. Try not to drink water while you eat and you’re even likely to lose weight in the process.
- Eat fresh: Reach for more fruits and vegetables. Aim to “eat the rainbow”. The more colorful the better. Berries and dark leafy greens are bursting with antioxidants. Really try to buy and eat only organic products to avoid potentially harmful pesticides.
- Spice it up! Turmeric, Ginger, cayenne, cloves, cinnamon and are all anti-inflammatory powerhouses. Onions and garlic are also anti-inflammatory.
- Implement High-fiber foods: By adding more fiber into your diet you are likely to decrease inflammation, reports the Arthritis Foundation. There is another upside to implementing high fiber into your diet, when combined with eating healthier monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats high fiber also helped people lose weight.
- Omega-3s: These are known as fatty acids and they help reduce inflammation. You’ll find omega-3 fatty acids in fish like salmon and sardines as well as in some vegetables like leafy greens, flax oil, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and ground flax seeds. Another option is to take an omega-3 supplement. They can be plant- or fish-derived, and will help insure proper fatty acid levels. When selecting them look for ones that contain EPA and DHA.
- Time to get your supplement on! Supplements can help create the starting point for your body if you wish to decrease inflammation. Supplements can also help target inflammation triggers through concentrated doses of cumin or other anti-inflammatory spices if you need extra help. Whether it is concentrated green food, a quality multivitamin, omega-3s, magnesium replacement, or probiotics they can jumpstart your ant inflammation journey.
LET’S GET MOVING
In order to help prevent inflammation regular exercise is imperative. It can be as easy as walking 30 minutes a day and incorporating a few short intense work outs a week.
WHAT FOODS TO NOT EAT
There are many different reports from several experts that make it difficult to pin point exactly what foods actually do cause inflammation. The general agreement is that more processed foods lead to greater health issues.
You may want to consider limiting:
- Caffeine: There are mixed studies and results the relationship between coffee and inflammation, however caffeine can be an inflammation trigger for some people
- Sugar: According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, processed sugars generate the release of inflammatory messengers called cytokines. Who knew! You can begin by removing foods with added sugars like desserts, candy and soda. Be aware that there are also many hidden sugars in different foods that will make your levels spike and crash
- Refined grains: Simple carbohydrates like white flour breaks down into sugar right in your mouth. Yes this includes white bread. As a substitute, reach for whole grains. Foods with a low glycemic load are less-refined and less processed and will also help battle inflammation. Begin by increasing awareness and being conscious of how much bread and processed food you eat and when. Then aim for more anti-inflammatory foods as possible. You don’t have to deprive yourself to begin bringing down your inflammation.
- Salt: Too much salt causes the body to retain water and increases inflammation. . According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends limiting sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg a day. That’s roughly 1 teaspoon of salt. Try to eat fresh foods whenever possible.
Managing my inflammation with all the methods mentioned here has made a big difference in my pain levels. I have spent the better part of this year experimenting to see what foods negatively impacted my body. When it comes to health, wellness and inflammation the ideas mentioned will vary by the individual. Be brave and don’t be afraid to try something new. Play around with these ideas and see how your body responds. Food can be either poison or medicine to our bodies. Find food that promotes healing from within.