Chronic pain is a common health issue which affects many people in the United States. While several medical conditions, such as fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome, can cause chronic pain, it may also develop due to a variety of other health issues. Research studies have found that widespread inflammation is the leading cause of chronic pain. Inflammation is a natural defense mechanism to injury, illness, or infection. But, if the inflammatory process continues for too long, it can become problematic.
Inflammation signals the immune system to heal and repair damaged tissue as well as to protect itself against bacteria and viruses. As mentioned above, however, chronic inflammation can cause a variety of health issues, including chronic pain symptoms. Healthy lifestyle modifications can help manage chronic pain, but first, let’s understand the common causes of chronic pain.
What is Acute Inflammation?
Acute inflammation, by way of instance, occurs following an injury or something as simple as a sore throat. It is a natural response with adverse effects, meaning it works locally in the region where the health issue is found. The common signs of acute inflammation include swelling, redness, warmth, pain and loss of function, as stated by the National Library of Medicine. When acute inflammation develops, the blood vessels dilate causing blood flow to increase, and white blood cells in the injured region promote recovery.
During severe inflammation, compounds called cytokines are released by the damaged tissue. The cytokines act as “emergency signals” which bring on the human body’s own immune cells, as well as hormones and numerous nutrients to repair the health issue. Additionally, hormone-like substances, known as prostaglandins, cause blood clots to heal damaged tissue, and these may also trigger fever and pain as part of the inflammatory procedure. As the damage or injury recovers, the inflammation subsides.
What is Chronic Inflammation?
Unlike acute inflammation, chronic inflammation has long-term effects. Chronic inflammation, also known as persistent inflammation, produces low-levels of inflammation throughout the human body, as demonstrated by an increase in immune system markers located in blood and cell tissues. Chronic inflammation may also cause the progression of various diseases and conditions. Elevated levels of inflammation may sometimes trigger even if there is no injury, illness, or infection, which may also cause the immune system to react.
As a result, the human body’s immune system could begin attacking healthy cells, tissues, or organs. Researchers are still trying to understand the consequences of chronic inflammation in the human body and the mechanisms involved in this natural defense process. By way of instance, chronic inflammation has been associated with a variety of health issues, such as heart disease, and stroke.
One theory suggests that when inflammation remains in the blood vessels, it can encourage the accumulation of plaque. According to the American Heart Association, or the AHA, if the immune system identifies plaque as a foreign invader, the white blood cells can attempt to wall off the plaque found in the blood flowing through the arteries. This can create a blood clot which may block the blood flow to the heart or brain, causing it to become unstable and rupture. Cancer is another health issue associated with chronic inflammation. Furthermore, according to the National Cancer Institute, DNA damage can also be caused by chronic inflammation.
Persistent, low-grade inflammation frequently doesn’t have any symptoms, but healthcare professionals can check for a C-reactive protein, or CRP, known as lipoic acid, a marker for inflammation found in the blood. Elevated levels of CRP are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Elevated CRP levels may be found in chronic disorders like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
In the case of other chronic conditions, such as fibromyalgia, the nervous system over-reacts to specific stimulation, however, it’s inflammation which causes chronic pain symptoms. Subjectively, it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between the chronic pain caused by an oversensitive nervous system and the chronic pain caused by widespread inflammation. Apart from searching for clues in the bloodstream, a person’s nutrition, lifestyle habits, and environmental exposures, can also promote chronic inflammation.
Inflammation is the immune system’s natural defense mechanism against injury, illness, or infection. While this inflammatory response can help heal and repair tissues, chronic, widespread inflammation can cause a variety of health issues, including chronic pain symptoms.Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C., C.C.S.T. Insight
A balancednutrition, including a variety of diets and fasting, can help reduce inflammation. Fasting, also known as caloric restriction, promotes cell apoptosis and mitochondrial recovery. The fasting mimicking diet, which is a part of the longevity diet plan, is a dietary program which “tricks” the human body into a fasting state to experience the benefits of traditional fasting. Before following any of the diets described in this article, make sure to consult a doctor.
Nutrition, Diets, Fasting and Chronic Pain
Anti-inflammatory diets mainly consist of eating fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, and fats. The Mediterranean diet plan, by way of instance, is an anti-inflammatory diet which promotes eating moderate amounts of nuts, ingesting very little meat, and drinking wine. Anti-inflammatory food parts, such as omega-3 fatty acids, protect the human body against the
An anti-inflammatory diet also involves staying away from foods which could promote inflammation. It is ideal to decrease the amount of foods you eat which are high in trans and saturated fats, such as meats. Additionally, an anti-inflammatory diet limits the consumption of refined carbohydrates and foods, such as bread and rice. These also promote cutting back on the utilization of margarine and oils that are packed with omega-6 fatty acids, such as sunflower, safflower
Fasting, or caloric restriction, has long been known to decrease oxidative stress and slow down the mechanisms of aging in various organisms. The effects of fasting involve programmed cell death, or apoptosis, transcription, mobile energy efficiency, mitochondrial biogenesis, antioxidant mechanisms, and circadian rhythm. Fasting also contributes to mitochondrial autophagy, known as mitophagy, where genes in the mitochondria are stimulated to undergo apoptosis, which promotes mitochondrial recovery.
Intermittent fasting can help you fight inflammation, improve digestion, and boost your longevity. The human body is designed to be able to survive for extended periods of time without food. Research studies have demonstrated that intermittent fasting can have positive changes in the overall composition of your gut microbiota. Moreover, intermittent fasting can reduce insulin resistance while increasing the immune system response. Finally, intermittent fasting can promote the production of a substance, known as β-hydroxybutyrate, that blocks a portion of the immune system involved in inflammatory ailments as well as substantially reducing the production of inflammatory markers, such as cytokines and the C-reactive protein, or CRP, previously mentioned above.
The Longevity Diet Plan, presented in the book by Dr. Valter Longo, eliminates the consumption of processed foods which can cause inflammation, promoting well-being and longevity. This unique dietary program, unlike most traditional diets, doesn’t promote weight loss. Although you may experience weight reduction, the emphasis of this unique dietary program is on eating healthier. The Longevity Diet Plan has been demonstrated to help activate stem cell-based renewal, reduce abdominal fat, and prevent age-related bone and muscle loss, as well as build resistance to developing cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and cancer.
The fasting mimicking diet, or FMD, allows you to experience the benefits of traditional fasting without depriving your body of food. The main difference of the FMD is that instead of completely eliminating all food for several days or even weeks, you only restrict your calorie intake for five days out of the month. The FMD can be practiced once a month to help promote overall health and wellness.
While anyone can follow the FMD on their own, the ProLon® fasting mimicking diet offers a 5-day meal program which has been individually packed and labeled for each day, that serves the foods you need for the FMD in precise quantities and combinations. The meal program is made up of ready-to-eat or easy-to-prepare, plant-based foods, including bars, soups, snacks, supplements, a drink concentrate, and teas. Before starting the ProLon® fasting mimicking diet, 5-day meal program, or any of the lifestyle modifications described above, please make sure to talk to a healthcare professional to find out which chronic pain treatment is right for you.
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Curated by Dr. Alex Jimenez
Additional Topic Discussion: Acute Back Pain
Back pain is one of the most prevalent causes of disability and missed days at work worldwide. Back pain attributes to the second most common reason for doctor office visits, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections. Approximately 80 percent of the population will experience back pain at least once throughout their life. Your spine is a complex structure made up of bones, joints, ligaments, and muscles, among other soft tissues. Injuries and/or aggravated conditions, such as herniated discs, can eventually lead to symptoms of back pain. Sports injuries or automobile accident injuries are often the most frequent cause of back pain, however, sometimes the simplest of movements can have painful results. Fortunately, alternative treatment options, such as chiropractic care, can help ease back pain through the use of spinal adjustments and manual manipulations, ultimately improving pain relief.
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