Almost everyday we talk to our patients about the role of your immune system in pain and inflammation.
It’s easy to forget that the immune system that is responsible for fighting germs and illness is the same immune system that produces the inflammation that heals sprained joints or causes arthritic joint pain.
It’s also easy to forget that inflammation in itself is not good or bad. It’s a response from specific cells and systems in the body in response to a perceived threat.
While chronic inflammation can have negative effects on your heart, arteries, and brains, we need acute inflammation to help heal from injuries and to fight off infectious diseases.
A key lynchpin to an appropriate immune and inflammatory responses goes back to the brain and nervous system.
Acute inflammation acts like a reflex not much different than when a doctor taps on your knee to see if it kicks. If you have a cut or scrape, your immune system will kick into gear to wall that area off from germs and create heat and swelling and there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s embedded into our physiology.
However, chronic inflammation is something in which our brains have a say. Exercise, nutrients, fasting, meditation, and a wide variety of interventions have the ability to use our brain to modify how our immune systems produces inflammation.
It’s through this understanding that we have the ability to help address some of the chronic inflammation that leaves us susceptible to the chronic diseases of aging.
If you have concerns about inflammation and how it is affecting your body, feel free to reply to this email with your questions, and we’ll get back to you if we have good answers.