Is an inflammatory condition causing you pain?
Winter can be tough on those who battle with inflammatory pain. Inflammation is one of the body’s primary mechanisms for dealing with infections, irritations, and injuries, and as a result occurs in an enormous number of acute and chronic health problems.
While the pain that accompanies inflammatory conditions can be enough to stop you from enjoying even the simple things in life, did you know there are small things you can do that could make all the difference?
Naturopath Peter Balogh explains his top 4 tips for managing inflammatory pain as we head into Winter:
- Adopt an anti-inflammatory diet
An anti-inflammatory diet involves eating nutrient-rich, whole foods that reduce inflammation in the body. An anti-inflammatory diet contains plenty of fibre, antioxidants and omega-3s, is rich in vegetables, whole fruit, whole grains, legumes, fatty fish and 2-3 litres of water daily.
Avoid foods that have been shown to promote inflammation in the body. These include refined foods high in sugar, refined carbohydrates such as white breads, processed meats, fried foods, and soft drinks to name a few.
- Exercise at a level you can manage
While reduced mobility can make the thought of exercise overwhelming, the message is start slow and in increments you can handle. An exercise plan should look to improve flexibility and balance, strengthen muscles while also incorporating some low-impact activities, such as cycling, swimming, or walking. The water is a great place for an all-body workout that is gentle on joints.
- Ensure optimal sleep
Pain and sleep disturbance have been shown to be a vicious cycle, with one feeding off the other. Not only does pain keep you awake, but the less sleep you have, the more vulnerable you are to pain.
A solution is to get advice on how to address the issues of both sleep and pain at the same time.
- Consider herbs and nutrients
The good news is there’s a great number of herbs and nutrients that are useful in relieving mild pain and inflammation.
Here’s our TOP 7!
PEA, [palmitoylethanolamide] acts on multiple mechanisms in the body that control inflammation and pain sensation. It has an analgesic effect that relieves the symptoms of mild osteoarthritis and reduces mild joint soreness, aches and pains.
Due to PEA’s wide-ranging actions in the body, PEA has been shown to be useful in relieving mild nerve pain.
- TURMERIC [CURCUMIN]
Due to its broad-spectrum effects on the body’s inflammatory pathways, curcumin may be beneficial in an extensive range of painful situations, including:
- Helping to relieve the pain, stiffness and swelling of rheumatoid and osteoarthritis
- May alleviate the inflammation and pain associated with sports injuries, bruising and RSI
- Helping to relieve the symptoms of medically-diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome
- May relieve menstrual pain and cramps
- Traditionally used in the treatment of eczema, asthma, psoriasis and infections.
Glucosamine, a well-established favourite in the natural health industry, Glucosamine is one of the building blocks of cartilage. Recent studies have shown that the combination of glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin may be effective in slowing the breakdown of cartilage in the early stages of osteoarthritis. Most studies appear to indicate if you have osteoarthritis and your symptoms of pain are moderate to severe that a glucosamine and chondroitin supplement may assist.
Not just a pretty face, research shows collagen supplementation is chondroprotective and anti-inflammatory to the joints associated with osteoarthritis or joint injury. Also, helpful for supporting sports injuries as tendons and ligaments are connective tissues that hold muscles and bones together, and collagen is responsible for their extraordinary strength and elasticity.
- FISH OIL
Studies indicate that people with arthritis experience less joint pain and stiffness when they take fish oil supplements.
Fish oils may help in the management of endometriosis, because they appear to increase production of eicosanoids, substances which may reduce the inflammation and pain associated with endometriosis.
The persistent muscle pain associated with Fibromyalgia may be eased by supplementation with a fish oil supplement that is rich in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.
- HEMP OIL
Hemp foods are highly nutritious and rich in healthy fats, which can help to relieve dry skin, treat inflammatory skin diseases like eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis and acne, and strengthen fragile or ageing skin, making it more resistant to infection. The fatty acid and polyphenol content of hemp seeds and oil is also beneficial for brain and heart health, and may assist in pain relief, especially if the pain is a result of inflammation.
- ALOE VERA
Well known for its healing and anti-inflammatory properties, Aloe Vera juice calms the digestive system and repairs the gut wall.
Not only does the cooling gel from the aloe vera plant’s leaves soothe the pain of burns, but it also reduces inflammation of other skin conditions and encourages the skin’s collagen to repair itself more rapidly.
Inflammatory pain can have a number of different causes — digestive, nerve pain, inflammation and joint pain caused by arthritis.
A polysaccharide called acemannan is only found in the aloe vera species of aloe plants and is believed to be responsible for much of the plant’s therapeutic benefits, such as the ability to promote a healthy inflammation response and the reduction of pain.
Please seek the advice of our natural health professionals before taking supplements to ensure there are no contraindications with prescribed medications and other existing health conditions.