Aches and pains are the body's way of telling us that something is wrong. Pain is a symptom of inflammation and simply taking a drug or natural anti inflammatory will not cure it. With acute trauma, the source of pain is obvious. With chronic pain you need to look for the underlying causes of the inflammation.
Here is our top 6 causes of inflammation that are all too often overlooked.
- Poor quality sleep
- Anything that interferes with sleep can be driving inflammation. Sleep apnea is one condition that may remain undiscovered and drive inflammation for a long time before diagnosis.
- Gastrointestinal dysfunction
- Gluten and processed food are two dietary factors contributing to a "leaky gut". When GI integrity is compromised foreign particles can enter into our blood which stimulates one's immune system to generate inflammatory mediators.
- Undiscovered dental infections may be hiding within a tooth or below the gums.
- Too much stress and no relaxation
- Stress comes in many forms. It may produce inflammation due to the physical wear and tear of our tissues. Emotional stress can influence hormone levels or prevent one from sleeping, both drive inflammation.
- Dietary factors
- The average western diet is often low in good fats and high in bad fats. Good fats like fish oil (rich in omega 3) are anti inflammatory. Bad fats found in many animal products (high in omega 6) are pro inflammatory.
- Other factors such a sugar and processed foods also contribute to inflammation.
- After menopause there is a decrease in the level of estrogen which has anti-inflammatory properties.
The naturopathic approach always attempts to seek the root cause of disease while treating the symptoms using the most non-invasive therapies.
Chronic pain is a complex condition involving many factors that are not discussed above. An integrative approach involves the incorporation of multiple modes of therapy. Therefore a through investigation including a detailed history, complete physical exam and diagnostic or functional testing is always recommended.