5 Ways to Decrease Chronic Inflammation & Reduce Chronic Joint Pain
When it comes to inflammation, commonly, we’re discussing ways to reduce chronic inflammation. It’s important to note, in some cases, inflammation can be a good thing, especially in the case of acute injury such as a fall or muscle tear. Local inflammation in this case is necessary to call in platelets (containing growth factors and other essential healing proteins) and local stem cells that live close by wrapped around blood vessels. Local inflammation activates the stem cells which then migrate to the injured area to begin the healing process.
What is Chronic Inflammation?
Chronic inflammation, however, is inflammation throughout the entire body on a broad basis. It is believed that this type of inflammation not only causes joint and muscle pain, but speeds up degeneration due to arthritis. Chronic inflammation has also been implicated in other diseases including heart disease, autoimmune diseases and even cancer.
5 Ways to Reduce Chronic Inflammation:
Let’s discover what causes this ‘bad’ kind of inflammation and how to reduce or eliminate it.
The foods and drink we put into our bodies are very important in either increasing or decreasing inflammation throughout our body. Fresh or frozen, unprocessed fruits and vegetables neutralize acidity that causes inflammation. Eat more fresh raw or lightly steamed vegetables, increase salads with meals and enjoy a palm-full (1 ounce) of raw nuts or seeds on a daily basis. Greatly reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption. Reducing portions of animal foods like meat and especially dairy will also reduce inflammation as these foods are acidic. Plant foods are alkaline which reduces inflammation.
2. Eliminate Processed Foods and Sugar.
Intertwined with diet but deserving its own bullet point, processed foods are packed with excessive and addictive substances like fat, sugar, salt and oils. Add to this all the extra sugar Americans consume and you have a recipe for inviting chronic, disease-causing, whole-body inflammation. Alcohol in drinks breaks down in the body into water, carbon dioxide and sugar, further adding to chronic inflammation throughout the body (and brain, by the way).
3. Daily Exercise.
Half an hour to one hour of daily moderate exercise has been shown to reduce whole body chronic inflammation. Start where you are. If you can exercise for 10 or 15 minutes at a time to start, then begin there and slowly build up time as you become more fit…which doesn’t take nearly as much time as one might think. If chronic bone-on-bone knee arthritis is what you are dealing with, then exercise could mean moving your arms and upper body on a consistent basis and not necessarily running around the block.
4. Get rid of Excess Body Weight.
This one might seem like a no-brainer, yet very difficult to do. In fact, excess fat causes insulin resistance, which raises insulin levels from the pancreas. Too much of the hormone insulin in the blood causes a great deal of whole-body inflammation and really packs on the fat. This vicious cycle can be broken, making weight loss easy, by following the first three suggestions above.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar.
One to two tablespoons in an 8 ounce glass of water helps to decrease inflammation. Made from fermenting apples, apple cider vinegar feeds and supports the ‘good’ bacteria within the gut, which is very important for maintaining a healthy immune system, good digestive health and of course reducing inflammation. One might consider other fermented foods and drinks such as sauerkraut and kombucha.
BONUS SUGGESTION FOR CHRONIC KNEE PAIN SUFFERERS:
Here’s a simple exercise that we recommend to our patients to do at home.
Tight hamstrings, those pesky muscles at the back of the thigh, are often implicated in exacerbating knee pain. These muscles are too tight (short) because of small nerves within and attached to the muscle fibers are “set” to maintain this short length.
- To stretch these muscles at home to give relief of knee pain, start out by sitting in a chair forward on the front half of the seat. Place one leg with the knee straight about 20-degrees out from center with the heel on the ground, toes pointing up to the ceiling.
- Begin by remaining seated and bending at the waist toward the outstretched leg, keeping the knee straight. Feeling muscle tightness and possibly burning at the back of the leg and knee, hold this stretch for about 10 seconds.
- Take a deep breath, then as you exhale, continue bending forward to stretch the same hamstring (back of the leg) until the tightness and burning once again limits the stretch. After another 10 seconds, proceed to increase the stretch as you did above with breathing. This should be done 3 times on one leg then do the same with the other leg.
Done once or twice – or as needed – each day should keep the hamstrings lengthened enough to reduce the intensity of knee pain. The length of the hamstrings will slowly return to its previous tightness, but that is where Trigenics would help to more permanently “re-wire” the nerve pathways so the hamstrings will maintain their normal length making stretching unnecessary.
P.S. If you would like to reserve your own exam and Trial Visit to see if Trigenics is right for you, please call Jan at the office, (231) 943-2100.