Allow your body to heal itself
Human bodies never cease to amaze me. Although you might feel that yours has let you down or somehow fallen short of your expectations at times, our bodies generally work exactly how they are meant to – given the environment they operate in. This ‘environment’ is comprised of many moving parts, such as nutrition, hydration, exercise, relaxation, physical, emotional and environmental stresses and interactions. In addition to these elements is also our tendency to interfere with our bodies’ natural healing mechanisms.
One essential part of our healing processes, for instance, is inflammation. Our bodies create inflammation to start healing the cause of pain when homeostasis (biological balance) is out. Our first reflex when we start feeling pain (when inflammation is present) is often to stop it from the onset, by using anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) or other pain-killers.
These drugs, particularly NSAIDs, according to new research from McGill University (Canada), while reducing acute pain, will also more often than not make the pain a long-term chronic problem.
This is due to the fact that the drugs block the production of neutrophils, white blood cells that are our immune system’s first line of defence to stop inflammation and repair damaged tissue. “Inflammation occurs for a reason, and it looks like it’s dangerous to interfere with it” said Jeffrey Mogil, a McGill researcher.
So what should you do to relieve pain? Depending on the severity of course, calm down by breathing deeply into the pain and before you reach for painkillers, and take a little time to assess what may have caused it. Then start with natural options such as ice, heat pads, acupuncture, herbal remedies, gentle movements, rest/sleep, essential oils, Epsom salt baths etc.
Acknowledging that the pain and inflammation hold a message, pay attention to your physical, mental, emotional stressors and try and redress the balance where needed.
Inflammation management is a long-term endeavour and addressing imbalances in your physical, mental and emotional environments will help to lessen the long-term pain and symptoms.
Being overall mindful around our ‘automatic’ consumption of pain killers and particularly anti-inflammatories, will already go a long way to allowing our bodies’ natural processes to take place.
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