There’s always a thought in the back of our minds that wonders if the inflammation we’re experiencing is normal and treatable–especially if that pain has been around for a while.
So, how do you know if your discomfort is simply part of the body’s natural immune response and easily treatable, or something to be concerned about? Follow this quick guide:
Inflammation - What to Expect
When people have inflammation, it often hurts. In fact, pain is usually a good sign that the body has gone into battle for you to remove harmful stimuli (for example, after an injury, virus, bacteria, or damage to tissue) and is beginning the healing process.
You might feel pain, stiffness, discomfort, distress, and even agony, depending on the severity of the inflammation.
So while it might not be comfortable, acute inflammation is normal with symptoms like pain, redness, loss of function in the region of inflammation, and swelling.
However, you’ll want to keep your eye on inflammation that persists longer than necessary (months to years instead of a few days) since it’s likely chronic and can often cause more harm than benefits.
Biological Destiny or Lifestyle-Influenced?
So we know that inflammation is normal and a good sign that healing is occurring, but what about genetics and lifestyle factors? Are some people more susceptible to pain caused by inflammation than others?
Before you start shaking your fist at your genes, here’s what you should know:
You have the power to influence genetic activity (even though you can’t change the genes you were born with) every day.
When the body is out of balance, you are more likely to become susceptible to harmful stimuli, recovery from inflammation can take longer, and even become chronic. But because the body naturally wants to remain in balance, removing the obstacles that block this natural state means balance can return at any stage, regardless of genetic factors.
Preventing & Treating Inflammation
So how can you put the chips in your favor? If you’re like most people you probably live a pretty full and demanding life. Some ideas to keep your body and mind in a state daily wellness include:
- eat a wholesome diet—cut down the highly processed foods and crowd them out with wholefood options like leafy greens, fermented foods, and ones rich in essential fatty acids
- Head outdoors—allow yourself some sunlight exposure, take a mindful walk, and slow down that overactive mind for 20-30mins each day
- Get quality sleep—create a wind-down routine that involves switching off devices and choosing your favorite mode of relaxation (yoga, meditation, breathing, take a bath, light some candles).
While these solutions don’t alone hold the key to controlling inflammation, they can help prime the immune system to react in a measured way.
The bottom line? Inflammation is an amazing biochemical process that, while sometimes painful, if well-managed is necessary and normal for optimal health.
Note: This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.