The word “inflammation” usually has a negative connotation about it. Good inflammation is an important part of healing and is your body’s natural way of protecting itself when you are injured or sick. It helps your body to defend and stimulate natural healing. Conversely, chronic inflammation can be harmful to your body and it is often linked to diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, or fibromyalgia. Sustained high levels of inflammation have been linked to a number of forms of cancer. Curbing Inflammation
Chronic inflammation occurs when the body thinks there is a threat against it and it naturally goes on the defensive, even when there is no threat. This results in the body turning against itself and causing damage to normal, healthy, cells. This can be a cause of chronic pain and limit the bodies normal defense mechanisms. Quite often other side effects for those who suffer from chronic inflammation include not sleeping well, a poor diet and not getting enough exercise. Curbing Inflammation
The typical American “fast food” diet leads to chronic inflammation. In fact, at one point the number vegetable consumed in the United States was French fries! Other dietary choices linked to chronic inflammation are processed foods, excess salt, and saturated fat. These poor diet habits lead to being overweight which is a huge risk factor for chronic inflammation. The fix for this is an anti-inflammatory diet of healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains and a moderate amount of protein.
Studies have demonstrated time and time again that lack of activity and inflammation go hand in hand. More important is the weight gain that results from an inactive lifestyle also causes a negative inflammatory response in the body. Not only does exercise assist in weight loss, it releases chemicals in the blood stream that have an anti-inflammatory response to the body. Weight training and aerobic exercise have been shown to reduce inflammation in a wide variety of populations. Even low-intensity activities, such as walking, have a positive effect. Curbing Inflammation
Two of the most common causes of chronic inflammation are a poor diet and lack of exercise and studies have shown that losing weight can reduce inflammation and improve a number of health-related factors. The key to fighting chronic inflammation is to understand the root cause, as well as how to address it with regards to diet and exercise. Do you have more questions or need help? Your physical therapist is a movement expert and can help you re-gain the life you enjoy.
About the Author
Andrew received his Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science from California State University, Fresno in 1991. He then earned his Master’s degree of Physical Therapy in 1996 and his Doctorate degree of Physical Therapy in 2002 from Loma Linda University. In 1996 he also earned his Certification as an Athletic Trainer. He has also completed extensive post-graduate course work in orthopedic manual therapy through Kaiser-West Los Angeles and the Ola Grimsby Institute.
He has more than fifteen years of clinical experience, and extensive continued education in outpatient orthopedic and athletic settings. During that time, he worked with professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball, in addition to numerous Olympic gold medalists and movie & television personalities.View All Articles