Saturday, July 18, 2009
Pain and Inflammation
Pain is your body's way of telling you that something is wrong, much like a fever. And just like with a fever, most people simply mask the pain instead of dealing with the underlying cause of the problem.
In addition to dealing with the underlying cause, it's important that you also deal with the inflammation. In fact, millions of people who suffer from various aches and pains like arthritis, back pain, fibromyalgia and others do so because of chronic internal inflammation.
What is Inflammation and How Does It Cause Pain? Inflammation is a response from your immune system in response to an irritant. For example, if you sprain your ankle, your immune system creates a protein called a Circulating Immune Complex (CIC for short). The CIC travels down to the injured ankle and causes pain and swelling.
The pain you feel is to inform you of the injury or damage. And the swelling is protective as it prevents you from moving it and causing more irritation. This is also your body's way of running to the problem with fresh blood, antibodies and vital cells in order to begin healing and repairing the damage.
Then what normally happens is our bodies produce proteolytic enzymes which counteract the inflammation, and things return to normal. That's why a sprained ankle as a young child heals within a few weeks at most, but can take six weeks or more for an adult of say 45.
The problem is, after around age 25, our production of these enzymes drops off almost completely so there is nothing to tell the body to stop the inflammation. These enzymes are also responsible for cleaning the blood, fighting off viral and bacterial infections and breaking down excess fibrin (scar tissue).