Part 3 of 4
What is pain?
Pain occurs when something hurts, causing an uncomfortable or unpleasant feeling. The presence of pain often means that something is wrong. Each individual is the best judge of his or her own pain.
Chronic or acute inflammation
These are the two types of inflammation that differ in how quickly symptoms escalate and how long they last.
Acute pain usually comes on suddenly and is caused by something specific. It is sharp in quality. Acute pain usually does not last longer than six months. It goes away when there is no longer an underlying cause for the pain. Causes of acute pain include:
- Broken bones
- Dental work
- Burns or cuts
- Labor and childbirth
After acute pain goes away, a person can go on with life as usual.
Chronic pain is pain that is ongoing and usually lasts longer than six months. This type of pain can continue even after the injury or illness that caused it has healed or gone away. Pain signals remain active in the nervous system for weeks, months, or years. Some people suffer chronic pain even when there is no past injury or apparent body damage. Chronic pain is linked to conditions including:
- Nerve pain
- Back pain
- Fibromyalgia pain
People who have chronic pain can have physical effects that are stressful on the body. These include tense muscles, limited ability to move around, a lack of energy, and appetite changes. Emotional effects of chronic pain include depression, anger, anxiety, and fear of re-injury. Such a fear might limit a person’s ability to return to their regular work or leisure activities.
Fast facts on inflammation
• Inflammation is the body’s attempt at self-protection to remove harmful stimuli and begin the healing process.
• Inflammation is part of the body’s immune response.
• Infections, wounds, and any damage to tissue would not be able to heal without an inflammatory response.
Is inflammation painful?
When people have inflammation, it often hurts.
People will feel pain, stiffness, discomfort, distress, and even agony, depending on the severity of the inflammation.
The type of pain varies. It can be described as constant and steady, throbbing and pulsating, stabbing, or pinching.
Inflammation primarily causes pain because the swelling pushes against the sensitive nerve endings.
This sends pain signals to the brain.
Other biochemical processes also occur during inflammation. They affect how nerves behave, and this can enhance pain.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be taken to alleviate the pain caused by inflammation.
They counteract an enzyme that contributes to inflammation. This either prevents or reduces pain.
They say avoid the long-term use of NSAIDs unless advised by a doctor. They increase a person’s risk of stomach ulcers, which can result in severe, life-threatening bleeding.
Acetaminophen, such as paracetamol or Tylenol, can reduce pain without affecting the inflammation. But to much can harm liver.
They may be ideal for those wishing to treat just the pain while allowing the healing factor of the inflammation to run its course
Corticosteroids, such as cortisol, are a class of steroid hormones that prevent a number of mechanisms involved in inflammation.
But they do have risks.
There are two sets of corticosteroids:
Glucocorticoids: These are prescribed for a range of conditions, including:
• temporal arteritis
• inflammatory bowel disease (IBS)
• systemic lupus
• allergic reactions
Creams and ointments may be prescribed for inflammation of the skin, eyes, lungs, bowels, and nose.
Mineralocorticoids: These are used to treat cerebral salt wasting, and to replace important hormones for patients with adrenal insufficiency.
The side effects of corticosteroids are more likely if taken by mouth. Taking them with inhalers or injections can reduce the risk.
Inhaled medications, such as those used long-term to treat asthma, raise the risk of developing oral thrush. Rinsing the mouth out with water after each use can help prevent oral thrush.
Glucocorticoids can also cause Cushing’s syndrome, while mineralocorticoids can cause high blood pressure, low blood potassium levels, connective tissue weakness, and problems with the levels of acids and alkalis in body tissue.
Steroids also cause Osteonecrosis a painful condition that effects the bones and joints
Creams with steroids have been known to thin skin also.
Steroid injections like kenalog can also harm cartilage in knee or joints.
Can also make pain worse.
See my posts on Osteonecrosis here.
Herbs for inflammation
Discuss any possible use of herbal supplements with a doctor. Never just start taking anything without the consent of your family doctor or orthopedic: Risk of drug interactions
Harpagophytum procumbens: Also known as devil’s claw, wood spider, or grapple plant, this herb comes from South Africa and is related to sesame plants. Some research has shown it may have anti-inflammatory properties.
Hyssop: This is mixed with other herbs, such as licorice, for the treatment of some lung conditions, including inflammation. The essential oils of hyssop can lead to life-threatening convulsions in laboratory animals. Caution is advised.
Ginger: This has been used for hundreds of years to treat dyspepsia, constipation, colic, and other gastrointestinal problems, as well as rheumatoid arthritis pain. Ginger may be purchased online in supplement form.
Turmeric: Current research is looking into the possible beneficial effects of turmeric in treating arthritis, Alzheimer’s , and some other inflammatory conditions.
Curcumin, a substance found in turmeric, is being invested for the treatment of several illnesses and disorders, including inflammation. But it’s known to thin the blood. Talk to your doctor !!!
Cannabis: This contains a cannabinoid called cannabichromene, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. However, cannabis is not legal in many places.
There are several foods that can have been shown to help reduce the risk of inflammation, including:
• olive oil
• nuts, such as walnuts and almonds
• leafy greens, including spinach and kale
• fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel
• fruit, including blueberries and oranges
Avoid eating foods that aggravate inflammation, including:
• fried foods, including French fries
• white bread, pastry, and other foods that contain refined carbohydrates
• soda and sugary drinks
• red meat
• margarine and lard
While these dietary solutions do not alone hold the key to controlling inflammation, they can help prime the immune system to react in a measured way.
To reduce levels of inflammation, aim for an overall healthy diet. If you’re looking for an eating plan that closely follows the tenets of anti-inflammatory eating, consider the Mediterranean diet, which is high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, and healthy oils.
Or a plant based Vegan lifestyle
Or a flexitarian lifestyle mostly plant based but on occasion will eat fish, chicken turkey and rarely beef lamb or pork.
In addition to lowering inflammation, a more natural, less processed diet can have noticeable effects on your physical and emotional health.
I noticed after we went to a mostly plant based lifestyle if we or I needed a break or just thought we wanted so old favorites, certain things you noticed afterwards more tired- or if a restaurant used way to much salt ( which most do).
A healthy diet is beneficial not only for reducing the risk of chronic diseases, but also for improving mood and overall quality of life.
HBO Hyperbaric Oxygen is also great at helping to lower inflammation in the body, help wounds heal,
Some are fda approved and some not. But let’s face it the fda isn’t the quickest area of government .
I will do a post on HBOT this weekend
Because we all could benefit from using it in my own opinion. It’s a shame it’s not very affordable, especially if it’s not on the fda approved list….. yet
Stay tuned part 4 coming soon.