Inflammation is a critical function of the immune system in response to “danger” signals which can include “invaders” (such as pathogenic bacteria and viruses), damaged cells (such as trauma, surgery, or injury), and toxic compounds (such as organic pollutants and heavy metals). These triggers can stimulate a short-lived (acute) or long-lived (chronic) inflammatory response which can potentially lead to tissue damage or disease. For optimal health, it is important to keep inflammation in check. The goal is to reduce inflammatory triggers and stimulate inflammatory resolution.
Is inflammation a problem for you?
Do you have problems with:
- Frequent colds and infections
- Recurring sinus infections
- Seasonal or environmental allergies
- Diabetes or prediabetes
- Heart disease or have had a heart attack
- Bronchitis or asthma
- Eczema, acne, psoriasis, or other rashes
- Arthritis (osteoarthritis)
- Autoimmune disease (rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lupus)
- Colitis or inflammatory bowel disease
- Neurologic problems such as ADHD, autism, depression, or anxiety
- Food allergies or sensitivities
- Tendonitis and recurrent joint pain
- Poor recovery from exercise
In these situations, there are recurrent “triggers” initiating excess inflammatory signaling or a failure of “resolution” to turn these signals off. In many of these cases, there are problems with both initiation and resolution. The immune system is stuck in a “chronic” inflammatory response which leads to tissue damage and disease. Rather than a directed, short-term inflammatory response that is specific to a discrete “danger” signal, these types of inflammation are silently simmering, creating chronic tissue injury which can eventually lead to functional impairment and disease.
Acute versus chronic inflammation
Inflammation is not an “ibuprofen deficiency.” Although these families of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) can be essential medications for reducing acute inflammation after injury or surgery, it is a different story when it comes to long-term inflammation.
Medicating chronic inflammation without removing the root cause of the problem is like having a nail wedged in your foot and taking painkillers to forget that you are standing on it. You must identify the ongoing trigger or imbalances producing the dysfunctional inflammatory response to promote full tissue healing and restore optimal function.
The goal is to create the conditions for your body to produce a healthy inflammatory response. An optimal immune system is one that readily defends, protects, and repairs. These regulatory “checks and balances” are key to your optimal health.
If you struggle with acute or chronic inflammatory problems, we look forward to helping you in identifying and removing triggers as well as enhancing immune function towards full tissue healing and function.