A common phrase used to describe the underlying cause of disease is “chronic inflammation.” People come into my office and say, “I take Advil every day and it doesn’t really help. How can I have any inflammation?” In last issue’s article, I described the 3 angles from which I look at a person’s pain. The first was anatomic/biomechanical. The second is internal/external environmental factors sometimes referred to as chronic inflammation.
Inflammation is when the immune system is turned on in response to an injury to the tissues. In the acute state, an infection or injury occurs, signals are sent out to the immune system (like an alarm to the fire department or police station) to quickly take care of the injury, clean up the damage and repair the tissues. Once the immune system does its job, it turns off and calms down. In the chronic state, there is either a constant trigger to the immune system that continues activating it (whether true or false) or the immune system fails to turn off even after the damage is repaired. This constant “on” of the immune system causes damage to the DNA and cells of your body negatively affecting many organ systems. Chronic inflammation is the major cause of many underlying diseases such as cardiovascular, diabetes, autoimmune, malignancy and pain.
We look at the internal and external factors that contribute to chronic inflammation including nutrition, stress-management, sleep and physical activity. A large part of determining how much these factors are contributing to pain has to do with listening to the patients, going in depth in each area to reverse the chronic inflammatory process, and creating an environment internally and externally that supports heal- ing and well-being. It is not a “set menu” as everyone is unique in what their body and mind need to thrive and how well they integrate positive aspects of their lifestyle into their body systems. Medications, vitamin and mineral levels, and ability to absorb nutrients have as much to do with healing as does mindset, resilience and ability to calm the mind. No matter what the need, we walk each patient throughout the process and support them in the journey needed for their individual healing. To learn more, call us to schedule an appointment.