Inflammation is the body’s response to infection, injury, or irritation. It causes swelling, redness, pain and sometimes causes the affected area to be unable to function. Acute inflammation happens after spraining the ankle or getting a mosquito bite and is the body’s method of preserving itself. This type of inflammation helps remove harmful irritants and pathogens, so healing ensues, along with healthy beneficial swelling that disappears with time. Chronic inflammation is when the body generates a stronger-than-necessary inflammatory response from an imbalanced immune system or a condition that causes the immune system to attack healthy tissue. Certain foods, lack of sleep, and constant stress increase the risk of developing chronic inflammation. Chiropractors are known for their expertise in stretching the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and adjusting/realigning joints and bones. Chiropractic treatment can also affect inflammation positively.
Inflammation Affects Health
When inflammation presents, there is significant potential that disease is also present in the body. Inflammation is a natural response to restore the body to homeostasis or balance. White blood cells and other immune cells are sent to the area to ward off invading bacteria, viruses, debris, etc., and reduce or defeat the infection. For some individuals, inflammation occurs within their body regularly and reappears repeatedly. This can be caused by injuries that never completely healed, frequent strains, and injuries from a weakened musculoskeletal system. Inflammation can also come from infection, irritation, the production of diseased cells, or allergies. Organs and tissues can be inflamed for a long time and can cause damage to the cells that comprise those regions of the body. This can lead to:
- Thinning and weakening of organ walls and tissues.
- Decreased organ function.
- The overall deterioration of the body’s systems and wellness.
Some common diseases and conditions that create chronic inflammation are:
- Chronic peptic ulcers
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohn’s disease
- Active hepatitis
Certain risk factors that can increase the likelihood of inflammation are:
- Advanced age
- Regular consumption of processed fats and sugar
- Poor sleep
- Chronic inflammation can increase the risk of:
- Various diseases and cancer
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Hay fever
Stress is one of the leading causes of illness and disease in the body and contributes significantly to inflammation. Organs and tissues can also become inflamed under pressure. When stress kicks in, chemical reactions occur, causing the release of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is initially an anti-inflammatory hormone, but a prolonged release can eventually create a dysfunctional cycle of widespread inflammation. Chronic stress can cause inflammation throughout the body. Usually, the body’s weakest or most strained region will suffer the most effects of overall inflammation. Even after the stress reduces or is resolved, the inflammation effects can continue to linger. Inflammation can:
- Decrease organ function
- Strain tissues
- Strain ligaments
- Force bones and joints out of alignment and subluxation.
- Cause decreased efficiency and performance of the body’s systems and organs.
Chiropractic Affects On Inflammation
When the body is out of alignment, it can compress tissues, muscles, and ligaments. Chiropractic works primarily on the skeletal structure and the nervous system. The nervous system plays an essential role in regulating immune response, which creates or decreases inflammation in the body. When the bones and joints are out of alignment, they cause strain on the nervous system and the immune system, often triggering an immune response. Chiropractic adjustments of the bones and joints reset and rejuvenate nervous system function. Realignment of the spine, including neck, shoulders, arms, pelvis, hips, knees, and feet, enhances nerve circulation and alleviates abnormal immune system function. To begin relieving inflammation from injury, misalignment, stress, and strain on the body, consult and see how chiropractic affects inflammation.
There are four main types of dietary fats listed on food labels:
These are not to be confused with adipose tissue/stored fat in the body. These four fats have different physiological effects once they are digested. Some are beneficial, and some can negatively impact health and are recommended to be taken in moderation.
Saturated vs. Unsaturated fats
Fats are made up of chains of carbon atoms with a carboxyl group COOH at one end and methyl groups CH3 at the other end. Carbons are attached to each other and to hydrogen atoms. The way the carbons are chained differentiates saturated and unsaturated fats and impacts how the body processes them. Unsaturated fats have one or more double bonds between the carbon atoms, and foods rich in unsaturated fats are usually liquid at room temperature, like olive oil. Saturated fats contain no double bonds and are generally solid at room temperatures, like butter and cheese.
Arulselvan, Palanisamy et al. “Role of Antioxidants and Natural Products in Inflammation.” Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity vol. 2016 (2016): 5276130. doi:10.1155/2016/5276130
Hannibal, Kara E, and Mark D Bishop. “Chronic stress, cortisol dysfunction, and pain: a psychoneuroendocrine rationale for stress management in pain rehabilitation.” Physical therapy vol. 94,12 (2014): 1816-25. doi:10.2522/ptj.20130597
Pahwa R, Goyal A, Bansal P, et al. Chronic Inflammation. [Updated 2021 Sep 28]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493173/
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