How to Support a HEALTHY Inflammation Process
As you learned in my last blog post about inflammation, The body is an intelligent system, in which it responds appropriately to an external stressor. Inflammation is one of these responses where it functions by healing and repairing damaged tissues.
This process is fundamental to recovery, especially in all levels of athletics; we break things down and build them back up as quickly as possible.
So how can we support this process? Here are a couple tips...
Limit NSAID use. Anti-inflammatories are a straight shot to joint degeneration and surgery, especially if you are taking them on a daily basis. Again, check out my first blog post for a wonderful soap box on this point.
Remove the Insult (of Injury). "If it hurts when you do X, stop doing X." Repetitive motion over a long period of time is a major stressor to the body. Often times when training or performing within our sport, we must perform repetitive motions (e.g., throwing a baseball, swinging a golf club). And if we continue doing so while the body is still dealing with the previous insult and load of inflammation, we are placing a greater burden on the body to repair (i.e., taking 1 step forward and 2 steps back). The downside is that if you are an athlete, this is the last thing you want to hear when visiting a doctor.
Change Up/Introduce New Movement Patterns. Bar none, the best way to build resiliency within the body is through varied movement. For example, if you are a runner, you have likely been subjected to moving the same way for up to 50 miles per week. By introducing new movements (e.g., RevInMo and weightlifting are my mainstays), the demand spreads across multiple fascial lines and muscle groups, thereby allowing your body to work through the original insult of inflammation. No longer is running your one method of moving, but now becomes one of many ways you move your body.
Inflammation Modulation. I want to make it clear that inflammation modulation does not mean anti-inflammatory. Modulation is the process of working through and accelerating a process, and there are many supportive tools we can use to do so!
Food is Foundational. You can't out-supplement a poor diet. Food is the first thing we use after training to flip the switch from catabolism to anabolism (breaking down to building up), and this goes along with both quality and quantity of foods. Eating a balanced, whole foods diet goes a long way to support longevity in your athletic endeavors. You might not see the immediate impacts at first, but when you will when you're still playing years after your friends and competitors have called it quits.
Bodywork/Manual Therapy. If you have a skilled manual therapist, they will understand that the site of pain is not usually the culprit. In doing so, they will identify the root cause of pain, thereby stimulating the inflammation process where it is needed. In addition, they may have some nifty tools (such Electrons Plus Guided PEMF) that can add additional modulation to further speed up the recovery process.