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How to Get Rid of Inflammation Quick, Says Science

Experts explain why inflammation can be bad and four ways to help get calm it down.

Inflammation is a way your body protects itself from infection and foreign invaders, but not all inflammation is good. Inflammation is defined by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine as "the body's immune system's response to an irritant. The irritant might be a germ, but it could also be a foreign object, such as a splinter in your finger. This means that an inflammation doesn't only start when, for instance, a wound has already been infected by bacteria, is oozing pus or healing poorly. It already starts when the body is trying to fight against the harmful irritant." That said, you can end up with too good of a thing–so good it turns bad. Inflammation can also cause serious health problems if it goes on for too long and you can experience chronic pain as a result. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with Dr. Vernon Williams, MD, sports neurologist and founding director of the Center for Sports Neurology and Pain Medicine at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles, CA, who explained how to help get rid of inflammation. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Inflammation and Disease

Healthcare worker at home visit

According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, "Inflammation plays a key role in many diseases, some of which are becoming more common and severe. Chronic inflammatory diseases contribute to more than half of deaths worldwide. Inflammation is associated with diseases such as the following:

Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis

Cardiovascular diseases like high blood pressure and heart disease

Gastrointestinal disorders like inflammatory bowel disease

Lung diseases like asthma

Mental illnesses like depression

Metabolic diseases like Type 2 diabetes

Neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's disease

Some types of cancer, like colon cancer"


Inflammation Can Be a Silent Killer

young woman having a panic attack
Shutterstock / fizkes

According to Harvard Health, Science has proven that chronic, low-grade inflammation can turn into a silent killer that contributes to cardiovas­cular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and other conditions. The fact that three out of five people around the world die from a disease linked to inflammation raises serious red flags.

Scripps states, "Early symptoms of chronic inflammation may be vague, with subtle signs and symptoms that may go undetected for a long period. You may just feel slightly fatigued, or even normal. As inflammation progresses, however, it begins to damage your arteries, organs and joints. Left unchecked, it can contribute to chronic diseases, such as heart disease, blood vessel disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, Alzheimer's disease and other conditions."


Diet and Nutrition

spoon for knife utensils on white glass plate

Dr. Williams says, "The role of inflammation in a number of other common disorders is now recognized. Rather than acute inflammation resulting in swelling, redness and pain, these diseases are associated with long-standing, chronic, low-grade inflammation. There is increasing concern that inflammation-particularly chronic, low-grade inflammation-may predispose people to dramatic and long term consequences after specific triggers of an inflammatory episode. Some people are more likely to develop progressive and long-standing pain and dysfunction (and possibly other chronic medical conditions with inflammatory components) after a "trigger" (such as a fall or motor vehicle accident). Part of the concern is that dietary and nutritional status creates this predisposition. For a number of reasons, our current diets fail to provide us with balanced amounts of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory building blocks such that we have a tremendous overabundance of pro-inflammatory substances in our diet and a paucity of anti-inflammatory substances."

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Add Omegas to your Diet

mediterranean salmon salad

Dr. Williams explains, "Paying attention to principles of an anti-inflammatory diet and nutrition can significantly reduce inflammation without the need to use anti-inflammatory medications (which have the risk of potentially serious side effects). This involves avoiding substances that can promote inflammation. Allergens (food, chemical and environmental) cause and promote inflammation. The Omega-6 family of fatty acids (including corn, peanut and safflower oils), trans-fatty acids from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils also cause inflammation. On the other hand, there are dietary options such as Omega-3 and Omega-9 fatty acids, and antioxidants (Vitamin C, Vitamin E, beta-carotene, CoQ) that reduce and fight inflammation. From a practical standpoint, adjustments in food and supplement intake such as cooking with extra virgin olive oil, eating more wild caught cold water fish, reducing carbs, and eating larger varieties of fresh, whole, colorful foods help achieve a more advantageous ratio of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory substances in the diet. This more balanced ratio prevents and reduces the predisposition to dramatic inflammatory responses after a "trigger" event and reduces ongoing inflammation that is at work in pain and other chronic inflammatory conditions."


Tech Tools that Fight Inflammation

back pain

Dr. Williams says, "While medications to control pain often work to block the pain response in the inflammation cycle, electrical signal therapy (EST) works differently. Some of the most promising ways this concept is at work today:

 Neuromodulation and Pain Control

Neuromodulation treatments are those that target the nervous system or brain at specific locations in the body and are part of a growing variety of methods that treat a number of conditions including CRPS, Migraine, Neuropathic Pain and many others. This class of treatments delivers electrical stimulation in an effort to relieve pain and restore function.

 Radiofrequency – During this safe and effective procedure, an electrical current is produced by a radio wave, which heats an affected area of nerve tissue. This is designed to minimize the pain signals from that specific area. There are a number of conditions that this type of therapy can be successfully used to treat including spine pain from arthritis and more. The degree of pain relief can be different for each individual but for the appropriate diagnosis, the majority of patients treated with a radiofrequency procedure experience relief.

 Pulsed Radiofrequency (PRF) – A variation of continuous radiofrequency treatment for pain, this procedure can offer the added benefits of pain control without the destruction of surrounding tissue in the treatment area. The benefits of this are especially noted in more complicated cases of neuropathic pain. In contrast to traditional radiofrequency, PRF is delivered in short "bursts" to help reduce risk of tissue damage and to confine the effect to the specific nerve being treated.

 Electrostimulation with Nerve Blocks – Traditional nerve blocks are procedures designed to interrupt nerve pulses (which send pain signals to the brain) by injecting nerves with a local anesthetic agent. Emerging studies are showing that a brief series of combined electrostimulation and nerve blocks can significantly improve pain associated with nerve damage, outperforming the benefits of medications commonly used for these kinds of problems."

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Control Blood Sugar

whole grain breads

Scripps suggests, "Limit or avoid simple carbohydrates, such as white flour, white rice, refined sugar and anything with high fructose corn syrup. One easy rule to follow is to avoid white foods, such as white bread, rice and pasta, as well as foods made with white sugar and flour. Build meals around lean proteins and whole foods high in fiber, such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains, such as brown rice and whole wheat bread. Check the labels and make sure that "whole wheat" or another whole grain is the first ingredient."

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Manage Stress

stressed woman

According to Scripps, "Chronic stress contributes to inflammation. Use meditation, yoga, biofeedback, guided imagery or some other method to manage stress throughout the day."

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Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather
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