In my last post, I talked about pain being generated from the muscles. Muscle pain tends to be confusing. It is the great mimicker and many will confuse it with conditions like sciatica, TMJ pain, sinusitis, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome. Muscle pain may also wake you at night with an intense burning sensation. It can be so intense it may make you cry. If your pain is generated due to muscle trigger points then the fix is pretty simple and I have to admit pretty darn satisfying for me too!
So what else causes pain?
Well diffuse achy pain is also extremely common too. People often experience general joint pain or they feel achy all over. They blame this on getting older and just accept its normal. Well its not! This type of pain tends to come from what we call silent or chronic inflammation.
We all have experienced the classic signs of acute inflammation, like stubbing a toe. After an injury we get - redness, swelling, heat and pain. WIth this type of inflammation you get a fairly fast resolution once the damage is repaired.The inflammation then stops.
On the other hand, silent inflammation is the same just at a lower intensity so it does not produce these symptoms. Instead you often get:
Diffuse aches and pains,
Low mood or low motivation
Overall just not feeling as energized.
Most carry on for years and never address the inflammation. Over time this can lead to chronic health problems like heart disease, stroke and immune system dysfunction (like autoimmune disease).
Luckily there is a lot on the natural toolbox that can help. So let’s talk herbs!
Boswellia serrata is a traditional herb is a potent anti-inflammatory and acts by inhibiting the 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) enzyme. This is the main enzyme involved with inflammation and pain. There are also drugs that act in this pathway too. Since it disrupts inflammation, this makes it exceptional for autoimmune disease. But it’s not just limited to pain. We are learning it can kill bad bacteria in the gut, prevent cancer and support detox! You may have heard me say that herbs have some side effects that we all want - those that promote health. Herbs are pretty amazing!
Curcuma Longa or tumeric. We have all likely heard of this spice for cooking and its popularity is increasing for pain. It is an amazing anti-inflammatory for joint pain but I am also now using for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and to support memory protection.
Bromelain, Serratopeptidase - these are enzymes that can absorb into the bloodstream and then find their way into the joints to break down inflammatory mediators. They may also find their way into the sinuses and help to digest mucous and candida! It’s great for chronic sinusitis as well.
So these are some of my post popular herbal anti-inflammatories that can protect from silent inflammation. Remember through that pain is complex and most will have a mixture of trigger points and silent inflammation.
In upcoming posts, I will discuss the underlying causes of silent inflammation ranging from the gut microbiome to stress!