The feeling of a constant flow of liquid fire coursing through your body is probably the best description one can give when trying to explain what chronic inflammation feels like. And I would know since I have suffered from this ailment for nearly 20 years.
At first people think you’re crazy, depressed, faking it, a hypochondriac, or any number of other things. Even those closest to you don’t understand when to walk up a flight of stairs or do a few sit-ups can put you in bed for a week while a sudden flare up of intense pain debilitates you. You begin to question your own sanity because of the reactions of others. Even your doctor seems to blow off what you describe as “in your head.” Twenty years ago the medical profession scoffed at people like me. Today? They are finally listening and finding the medical evidence to prove what many of us have been saying for decades.
“…[I]t appears that many of the attributes of a Western lifestyle — such as a diet high in sugars and saturated fats, accompanied by little or no exercise — also make it easier for the body to become inflamed.
[I]t helps to know a little about the basic immunological response, a cascade of events triggered whenever the body is subjected to trauma or injury. … [W]ave after wave of immune cells flood the site, destroying pathogens and damaged tissue alike — there’s no carrying the wounded off the battlefield in this war. (No wonder the ancient Romans likened inflammation to being on fire.) … Working in tandem, the innate and learned immunological defenses fight pitched battles until all the invading germs are annihilated. In a final flurry of activity, a last wave of cytokines is released, the inflammatory process recedes, and healing begins. Problems begin when, for one reason or another, the inflammatory process persists and becomes chronic.”
When I began my journey with chronic inflammation, I was one of the “lucky” ones who had a doctor who took me seriously. She tested me for multiple conditions (lupus, MS, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.) to only find all my test come back normal and within healthy ranges. Frustrating! Was it really all in my head after all? She finally did what’s called the pressure points test and determined that I had something called fibromyalgia. She tried a variety of medications on me and we found that I am one of those people who has most of the negative reactions to medications that rarely happen! So, I could not use medicine to reduce my pain! Bummer!!!! Suffer on I apparently must!
After several years of constant suffering, and only getting worse with each passing year, out of desperation I began looking for alternative methods of combating my condition (as well as the resulting and predictable weight gain due to lack of exercise). Thank god I did, because I stumbled onto the connection that my diet had to inflammation and to my pain levels. My journey has been up and down over the past several years. But, I have steadily improved despite the periodic flare ups and set backs, which I am now able to predict fairly accurately.
The one area of my life that has been most dramatically affected by my condition though is my breathing. Inflammation can kill! It has played havoc with my lungs these past two years – something I had never had to deal with in the 50+ prior years of my life. I am not a smoker, but I did grow up in a household reeking with years of heavy secondhand smoke. Apparently, that exposure to secondhand smoke combined with a couple decades of a very stress-filled life and a very unhealthy diet triggered my chronic inflammatory condition. Joy!
Medical research has not found a definitive answer to the problem of chronic inflammation, but it’s refreshing to see the profession finally trying to find the root cause rather than to just mask the symptoms with drugs that can cause more problems than they help.
“… [T]here are things we all can do to dampen our inflammatory fires. Some of the advice may sound terribly familiar, but we have fresh reasons to follow through. Losing weight induces those fat cells — remember them? — to produce fewer cytokines. So does regular exercise, 30 minutes a day most days of the week. Flossing your teeth combats gum disease, another source of chronic inflammation. Fruits, vegetables and fish are full of substances that disable free radicals. So if you want to stop inflammation, get off that couch, head to the green market and try not to stub your toe on the way.”
So what to do while the medical profession tries to find actual answers? I am a huge advocate for natural remedies whenever possible. There are times when they are not possible, but whenever possible natural is always better! I have had incredible success in combating inflammation through diet and exercise. Six years ago I thought I was literally dying and would be on disability for the remainder of my life. Today? Although I have not fully overcome all the effects of chronic inflammation (primarily in my lungs), I do enjoy a healthy and active life, with minimal pain, and only occasional flare ups.
I work with people who are much like me. If you or someone you know could benefit from more information on how I can help, please private message me or comment below. Please feel free to share this with your friends and family. You never know who just might need this information.