by: Dr. Craig A. Maxwell
The number of people living with some type of chronic pain condition is staggering. Millions of people worldwide depend on some type of over-the-counter pain reliever to combat the pain of arthritis or other inflammatory condition on a daily basis! In a world proud of its modern medicine, how can this be? In this article, we’ll discuss chronic pain and inflammation and what you can do to get it under control.
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is not always a bad thing. It’s your body’s way of defending and repairing itself after a trauma or infection. When your body is injured, it first releases a group of chemicals (histamines, leukotrienes, and pro-inflammatory prostaglandins) that cause the blood vessels to dilate and expand. This causes the injured area to become swollen, red, and hot to the touch.
Soon after the injury is sustained however, the healthy tissue surrounding the injured area begins releasing anti-inflammatory hormones (prostaglandins PG1 and PG3) to help fight inflammation and promote healing. Once the injury is healed, it is up to the proteolytic enzymes to tell the immune system that their job is done.
During the healing process white blood cells digest damaged tissues and cells so they can make way for new cells to arrive. In a person with a balanced immune system, the inflammatory process is short and kept in check. In a person whose process is out of balance, however, chronic pain and inflammation can result.
What Causes Chronic Inflammation?
Chronic inflammation is caused by an over-reactive immune system, which is most commonly triggered by food, environmental factors, stress, trauma, intestinal parasites, chronic candida infection, leaky gut syndrome, and obesity.
Let’s take a closer look at these factors in detail: