I’m so excited to present my next guest post courtesy of Shannon, the blog goddess responsible for bringing us the amazing Move Eat Create. I especially love her food-related posts (duh!) but found a seriously awesome blog sista out there upon reading her February post about listening to our bodies. Wellness is holistic – everything is connected. And when it comes to wellness, the concept of Equity is so important to me – so important that I put it on the front page of this blog. Everyone should have access to ways to nourish and heal themselves. So with that, I love that Shannon is sharing her 5 Accessible & Affordable Treatments for Preventing & Treating Inflammation Naturally. Enjoy!
At some point in our lives, all of us will likely experience inflammation in our bodies. Inflammation of muscles, tendons, and joints is a fairly common condition that can be brought on by a number of causes.
As with most ailments, inflammation can be acute or chronic. I am one of the oh-so-lucky people who battles both! As a runner, acute inflammation is something I work to keep in check. The body’s reaction to this type of physical activity can cause muscle inflammation, leading to stiffness, soreness, and (if not treated properly) injury. Then, there are my chronic inflammation issues. I experience Raynaud’s Disorder on a frequent basis and have perpetual tendonitis in my arms, hands, and wrists. Both conditions involve episodes which are not only painful, but disruptive to my daily functioning.
Logically, I have sought out ways to best mitigate these bouts of inflammation, and whenever possible I prefer to do so naturally. While NSAIDS (aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen) can be effective in relieving symptoms in the moment, numerous studies have shown the harmful effects of repetitive use. So I have sought out other remedies, gentler remedies if you will, to manage my conditions whenever I can. Here are my most tried and true:
Helping Herbs Two of the most powerful anti-inflammatory herbs are turmeric and ginger. While turmeric is often used in preparing curries, it’s easily added to other dishes as well. I sprinkle it on salads, in soups, and season beans with it.Ginger can be easily included in salad dressings, most main courses, and even baked goods for a zingy flavor. You can buy supplements in pill-form, but I find that adding them to my food is easy, very cost-effective, and delicious!
Also, almost daily I have a cup of Yogi’s Muscle Recovery Green Tea, designed to fight inflammation (and includes turmeric!).
Proper Application of Heat and Ice Manipulating temperature of inflamed body parts can be amazingly effective, if done properly. Heat and ice are important combatants of discomfort caused by inflammation, but must be applied at the right time and for the right amount of time. Acute inflammation is best treated with short ice sessions (<20 minutes) to help manage blood flow and reduce pain from swelling, while applying heat can help loosen up muscles and stiff joints. I have a heating pad and reusable ice pack to use as needed.
Topical Treatments When I discovered Muscle Ice by Peaceful Mountain, I was skeptical. I didn’t know if it would make a difference, but liked that it was a natural product – free from chemicals in most drugstore brand sports creams. Since that first day when I slathered some on my inflamed, painful arm and wrist, I’ve been a believer. This stuff is amazing! It reduces pain and swelling in seconds! While I’m sure there are other natural, topical creams that exist, I attest to the effectiveness of this one.
Lemon Water Water is important on its own for keeping our bodies functioning. Good hydration definitely helps fight inflammation, but drinking water with lemon added is even better. Lemon, though acidic, is alkaline in the body, making it a natural enemy of acid build up that can induce inflammation. Drinking lemon water helps flush out this acid and accompanying toxins. Start your day with a glass and you’re off to a good start. Have another in the afternoon and you’re way ahead of the game!
Stress Management It’s no surprise that stress is harmful. Really harmful. I have seen a direct correlation between high stress levels and peaks in my chronic inflammatory issues. When we are stressed, our breathing is disrupted, digestion is compromised, and blood flow may be altered – all of which can wreak havoc on the physiological processes that help muscles, tendons, and joints heal and function properly. I practice controlled breathing, walks to clear my head, and music to help me bring stress levels down when they peak. I’m constantly working on this, as there is no perfect solution, but I’ve found that minimizing stress has been crucial to long-term management of inflammation.
Keep in mind that inflammation is our body’s natural response to treat and protect an injury. It’s not an inherently bad thing, but keeping it minimal and managing the pain and discomfort it brings can be incredibly helpful to the quality of our days. If you have a chronic inflammatory issue, a long-term plan for management is vital!