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Inflammatory Infamy

Today, we will be discussing the infamous INFLAMMATION! Everyone has heard the term inflammation. Or “inflammatory” and its sub groups: “pro-inflammatory” and “anti-inflammatory.” Let’s take a few minutes to delve a bit deeper into inflammation and ways we can decrease it in our lives.

Nailing Down a Definition

First and foremost, what is inflammation? We have all heard the term. But does anybody actually know what it is and what causes it? Well, most inflammation is actually a response to stress! Part of that lovely stress response I talk about so much that releases certain stress hormones. Among those are pro-inflammatory cytokines. What this means is that any time our body encounters stress, inflammation is a result.

Most people only think of inflammation as being caused by our diet. And I will say, that is definitely a very big cause of inflammation. But don’t discount the other stressors! We have physical and emotional stressors as well.

The Stressors That Cause Inflammation

Physical stressors can be obvious. Any time we have an acute injury or accident, that is a physical stressor. If we sprain an ankle, everyone knows the ankle will get inflamed. However, it is also important to note that inflammation caused by physical stress can be less obvious. Repetitive motions cause stress. Too much sitting causes stress. Lifting improperly causes stress. Subluxations (a joint not moving as it should) cause stress. The list goes on.

Emotional stressors cause inflammation. Any time we get into a fight or argument with someone. Any time we are sad and start to cry. Any time we are anxious or afraid. Any time work gets overly stressful, and we get in a bad mood because of that stress. All of these are responses to stress, and they are in fact increasing inflammation in your body.

And of course, the big one: chemical stressors. Every single thing we put into our body is either pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory. Diet is the big one everybody talks about when it comes to inflammation. But the products we use and the medications we take are also big ones.

Cutting Down on Inflammation

Anything that stresses our body causes inflammation. So, what can we do to decrease inflammation in our body? Rid our bodies of as much stress as we can control.

Physically, not only is it important to always stay active but having proper form and posture is crucial. Making sure all the joints in our spine are moving properly. Certain exercises help get every vertebra in the spine moving. Making sure to get checked and adjusted by a chiropractor is important for decreasing inflammation caused by physical stress, especially if you have a job that is more sedentary or involves repetitive motions.

Emotionally, it is important to have the proper outlets. I always recommend a number of mind/body techniques to help with this aspect. Working on positive affirmations, going for reiki sessions and getting your chakras cleared, engaging in self-love sayings, using sage or Palo Santo to smudge negative energy away and engaging in self-care days. All of these are great ways to cope with negative emotions and the inflammation these emotions cause.

Lastly, chemically. Most people have heard of what to do in terms of diet, and I will definitely touch on a few of those tips. But I want to also touch on the other chemical stressors too.

The Many Chemical Stressors

If we truly want to eliminate all potential inflammatory triggers, we need to avoid chemical products. Switching to all-natural plant-based cleaning products is a very big step. Our skin is our biggest organ, so any of these harmful chemicals actually enters our bloodstream and increases inflammation. Switching our household cleaning products is important. Further, use essential oils instead of candles or other perfumes. These have harmful additives that, again, stress the nervous system and cause inflammation.

Over the counter NSAIDs like aspirin and Tylenol® are huge stressors and should be avoided if not eliminated altogether. There are natural ways of dealing with pain and believe it or not, these “anti-inflammatories” aren’t actually fixing your inflammation problem. Instead, try natural anti-inflammatories. Turmeric/curcumin are great natural anti-inflammatories.

Finding Your Food Sensitivities

I also recommend everybody do an elimination diet. Many of us are probably intolerant to certain foods and don’t even realize it. Nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers) are inflammatory foods and very easily might be causing you some difficulty. It is very important to eat organic food free from herbicides and pesticides or added hormones and antibiotics. All of these are tremendous stressors to the nervous system and highly inflame our bodies.

Inflammation is a
Nasty response to stress
Feeling sad, angry or anxious
Lifting improperly
And repetitive movements
Might just be the cause
Make sure to avoid sitting
Allow that spine to move
Tylenol and aspirin are best avoided
Instead try turmeric, curcumin or an elimination diet
Oils are all natural and smell great!
Next stop: a life without inflammation!

I am happy to share the elimination diet that worked for me for anybody who is interested. Please don’t hesitate to reach with any questions. I am here to help.

Yours in health; body, mind and soul.

Dr. Julianne Donato, B.A., D.C.
Chiropractor in Burlington

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