If you experience pain, you’ll do anything to get some sweet relief. But many of the pain relief options that we can reach for are only temporary.
To reduce your pain long-term, we need to look at the underlying causes of your pain. The most common underlying factor in pain is chronic inflammation.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is a physical reaction that occurs in the body. It defends us from potential harm and begins the healing process. Inflammation increases blood flow to the injured area, which supplies nutrients, oxygen and white blood cells that tidy up any waste.
In the short-term, inflammation is actually good for you. Without it, injuries wouldn’t heal, and infections would go unchecked. But when inflammation continues in the background without relief, it starts to do more harm than good. If left untreated, inflammation can contribute to many serious chronic health conditions.
Chronic inflammation can occur anywhere in the body. This means you could experience symptoms or health concerns in different systems of the body, and it could still lead back to chronic inflammation.
Just some of the problems that could be caused or exacerbated by inflammation include:
What can contribute to inflammation?
As inflammation is a general reaction, there are many potential factors that can set it off. Anything that is perceived as a possible threat to the body or that affects the nervous or immune system can increase inflammation.
Unfortunately, you can’t avoid every trigger for inflammation without living in a bubble. But you can take steps to reduce your exposure.
The link between inflammation and pain
The pain-inflammation link is bidirectional – pain can lead to inflammation, and inflammation can increase pain. Where one is present, the other won’t be far behind.
During inflammation, compounds known as cytokines are produced. These compounds can lead to pain, and may also increase your sensitivity to pain. Inflammation can even ‘imprint’ on the brain, causing it to mimic pain long after the injury has healed.
If you experience chronic pain of any kind, addressing inflammation is key to not only managing your pain, but also preventing further pain from developing.
Acupuncture, inflammation and pain
Studies suggest that acupuncture could have a number of anti-inflammatory actions within the body. Using acupuncture alongside other tools may help reduce your inflammation levels.
Acupuncture could also help with inflammation indirectly by reducing contributing factors. For example, acupuncture is often used for managing symptoms such as pain and stress. As these can add to the cycle of inflammation, reducing them could help cool down inflammation in the body.
If your injury is relatively new, you may still benefit from an acupuncture treatment. By addressing your symptoms of pain when they first occur, you may reduce your risk of the pain developing into chronic pain.
If you’re struggling with pain and inflammation, our acupuncturist Jamie is here to help. Jamie combines acupuncture with other tools such as dry needling and remedial massage to relieve your pain naturally.
Jamie is based in our Bundaberg clinic – to book an appointment, call us on (07) 41522372