Prescription for Reducing Inflammation and Pain: The Big Picture

Click here to view our entire online January e-newsletter on inflammation and pain.

Dr. Sonya Nobbe, ND

Please see “Inflammation: What Exactly Is It, and How Does it Cause my Chronic Pain“.

1. Eat a clean, whole foods diet that includes some raw veggies daily. Many of these foods have natural anti-inflammatory properties as well as nutrients that support optimal organ and tissue function. Processed foods of any kind are linked with inflammation, chronic disease, and premature death. Food intolerances such as gluten or dairy are also linked to chronic disease and pain. Please speak with a Naturopathic Doctor or Holistic Nutritionist to optimize your diet for reduced inflammation.

2. Relax. This branch of the nervous system, the parasympathetic nervous system, has some real healing potential. Meditation, Qigong, and time in the quiet outdoors are repeatedly associated with decreased pain and inflammation. Many older philosophies suggest that consciously working with the pain, rather than against it, provides significant relief.

3. Breathe. Our bodies detoxify via the breath every few seconds! Deep, relaxed breathing also stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and helps to ensures appropriate oxygen delivery to our tissues. Lack of oxygen to our organs is one main contributor to chronic disease, including heart disease and chronic fatigue.

4. Exercise regularly and not too intensely. Work with a professional who can help you identify goals and limits.

5. Sleep in a quiet, dark room on a regular schedule. Melatonin is a hormone released primarily under these conditions and it has potent anti-inflammatory properties.

6. Identify and remove toxins in your environment. Regular exposure to chemicals in your home or at work, or past exposure to heavy metals can stimulate your immune system to generate inflammation. Also, new research is exploding in the area of Electromagnetic Radiation and its negative health effects for some people.

7. Have your teeth cleaned on a regular basis. Teeth and the mouth cavity are one common source of chronic inflammation in people with chronic disease.

8. Don’t forget about the rest of your digestive tract – is it pain-free? You gut houses approximately 70% of your body’s immune activity and its health is critical to beating inflammation and pain.

9. Work with a health practitioner to address hormone imbalances. Estrogen can be quite inflammatory, while cortisol is a strong anti-inflammatory hormone. Hormone imbalances can also contribute to weight gain which itself generates inflammation and can contribute to pain.

10. Good friends and happy relationships are essential to a pain-free life. They help to support a positive attitude that addresses pain on emotional, physical, and spiritual levels.

11. Where possible, use natural anti-inflammatories over pharmaceutical ones. Hidden amongst the biochemical processes that generate inflammation and pain are additional biochemical pathways that actually heal chronic low-grade inflammation! We’re learning that some of our common anti-inflammatory medications unintentionally block these inflammation-resolving pathways and therefore may have negative long-term consequences for our health. Interestingly, many of the “natural” anti-inflammatories such as turmeric are now known to support some of these newly discovered inflammation-resolving pathways.