Most pain we feel comes from inflammation. Inflammation is present in everyone’s body as a natural byproduct of many normal physiological activities, and is also an essential part of the healing process. It is often referred to as a cascade or a cycle due to its self-promoting nature. However, the natural inflammatory process, once in motion, can become a vicious cycle of self-destruction. When the inflammatory process is out of balance, serious health challenges, including cancer, arthritis, myalgias, arthralgas, heart disease (atherosclerosis), obesity, migraine headaches, colitis, asthma and viral infections can occur. In summary, inflammation is the crux of acute pain and most chronic disease. You have recently heard in the news a lot of information about CRP which is a marker of systemic inflammation. When CRP is elevated it is indicative of increased cardiovascular risk and inflammation in the body. For the purposes of this article I will focus on acute inflammation and some great natural remedies.
When an injury occurs, the body’s defense mechanism is to cause the tissues to swell which then signals pain back to us via nerve connections. The common solution for more then 30 million Americans is to use and abuse NSIDS like Ibuprofen, Aleve and aspirin. Unfortunately because NSIDS are over the counter many people take them on a regular basis thinking there are no long term consequences. The truth is they increase ones’ risk of ulcers, strokes, heart attack and kidney and liver damage. I would recommend exploring some of the remarkable remedies nature has created to assist you with your acute injuries or even some chronic conditions such as arthritis and back pain.
Boswellia, also known as frankincense, is one of my favorite remedies to decrease the inflammatory compounds in many chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, asthma, and even inflammatory bowel disease. In Chinese medicine Boswellia has been classified as an herb that promotes blood circulation and the regeneration of tissue. A new product in the store is AKBA by True Botanica. This product is 90% concentrated AKBA which stands for acetyl-11-keto-B-boswellic acid. AKBA is the most active component of the boswellia resin extract. It is a potent inhibitor of the 5-lipoxygenase pathway which is involved with all major acute and chronic pathologies.
My next favorite herb is curcumin also known as turmeric. This spice blocks inflammatory proteins but also enhances the body’s ability to quell inflammation. Studies show that curcumin alleviates chronic arthritic pain and helps prevent Alzheimer’s heart disease, and diabetes. Please be generous using this spice or if you want to take it in pill form the dose is 400-600 mg. three times a day. Bromelain will help increase the absorption. Two products with curcumin that are available at the medicinal store is Inflammend by Dr. Guberman, dosed at 1-4 a day and Curcumin Plus by True Botanica
Ginger is a tasty root that contains enzymes that inhibit the production of inflammatory compounds. My favorite way to use ginger is to grate it fresh into water and steep for 5-10 minutes. If you’re dealing with chronic pain drink this infusion regularly two to three times daily. Even if you’re dealing with sinusitis or a cold, drink a cup of this infusion with some agave and lemon three times a day. If you dislike the taste of this root fresh, you can find it mixed into anti-inflammatory herbal combinations like in Inflamend.
Omega-3 fatty acids are very helpful for long-term pain reduction. Your body breaks omega-3 fatty acids down into anti-inflammatory compounds. Research has proven patients experience greater pain and inflammation if they do not get enough omega-3’s in their diet. Flaxseed, hempseed, and cold water fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel all provide a rich source of omeg-3 fatty acids. If you are not getting enough in your diet consider supplementing with a high quality source of mercury free omega-3’s. I recommend 1,000-2,000mg a day for maintenance. If you are in chronic pain consider 4,000mg a day. Some brands I love include Beyond Essential Fats by Natura or Ultimate 3-6-9 by Healing Gardens Store , both available at the Healing Gardens Medicinal store.
To replace your regular use of aspirin next time consider using white willow bark. It contains salicin, a compound very similar to aspirin. The dosing of salicin should be 120mg-240mg up to three times a day.
Finally I want to provide a brief education about infra-red for pain management. The data on infra-red was proven over 20 years ago by NASA. Infra-red works by releasing the bodies own nitric oxide which vasodialates the blood vessels and hence helps remove inflammatory cells faster. I have used in my practice infra-red to treat every type of “itis” imaginable. This includes bursitis, tendinitis and even sinusitis with great results. I have infra-red units available to sell through my medicinal store. If one has chronic pain this can be a great way to manage and even heal the condition in the hands of the patient.
Click here for more information and to purchase some of the supplements mentioned in this article.