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Buzzword: Inflammation



Inflammation seems to be a new buzzword in the health community. This has hit near and dear to me in my own health journey. In May of 2021 I had a herniated disc in my lower back causing compression on my nerve on my left side. Shortly after this, I started to notice pain on my right side when I would move from sitting to standing. With my history, I decided to go to an outpatient Physical Therapist that specialized in spine disorders in December of 2021, and I was diagnosed with Sacroiliac (SI) dysfunction. Every time I moved, the bones would rub and become inflamed causing pain.


My condition progressed to near constant pain by the end of June 2022. By the end of September, I was unable to work and then I had to wait two months before my surgery was approved. During this time, I was limited in my mobility, as the more I did, the more pain I had. As a result, I am still struggling with low-grade inflammation six weeks post-surgery, limiting the speed of my recovery. My doctor prescribed a steroid to help bring the inflammation down. As a result, I wanted to dive deeper into what causes inflammation and what are some natural remedies to restore balance to the body.


What is inflammation?

According to the Cleveland Clinic, inflammation is the response of your body against acute injury or invaders, such as viruses and bacteria. The intent is to localize and eliminate injury and start the healing process (Britannica). Signs of acute inflammation are redness, pain, heat, and swelling. If the inflammatory agent cannot be eliminated and the response lasts more than a few days, it becomes chronic inflammation. Repeated acute inflammation from friction caused my chronic inflammation.

Some lifestyle factors that may accelerate progression to a chronic inflammatory process include:

  • Excessive alcohol consumption

  • Obesity (BMI >30)

  • Chronic stress

  • Smoking

  • Diet: high in refined carbs (sugar, pastries, and white bread), cured meats (nitrates), and refined oils and trans fats



Foods with Natural Anti-inflammatory Properties


Vitamins

Vitamin A: Sweet potatoes, carrots, and butternut squash

Vitamin C: Berries, kiwi, bell peppers, and oranges

Vitamin D3

Spices

Turmeric

Ginger

Garlic

Omega-3s

From fatty fish

Nuts and seeds

Olive oil, extra virgin

Vegetables

Leafy greens: spinach, kale, arugula, and romaine

Cruciferous vegetables: cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale

Tomatoes

Fermented and probiotic-rich foods

Yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and kombucha


Stay tuned for next steps to help reduce inflammation.


References

  1. Inflammation: What Is It, Causes, Symptoms & Treatment (clevelandclinic.org)

  2. Inflammation | Definition, Symptoms, Treatment, & Facts | Britannica

  3. Lifestyle Factors and Inflammation: Associations by Body Mass Index - PMC (nih.gov)

  4. The Effects of Vitamin D on Immune System and Inflammatory Diseases - PMC (nih.gov)

  5. Tomato juice consumption reduces systemic inflammation in overweight and obese females - PubMed (nih.gov)

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