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Structural Shifts, pain, and the healing process !
The Philosophy of health is the WHY! Why the body works and why the body ALWAYS work the way it does. The Physiology is HOW the body works and how the body ALWAYS works the way it does. Both are equally valuable to grasp a true understanding of our incredible bodies. Pain, symptoms and healing pathways are all part of physiology and ALL are guided by a set of rules that are applied with purpose.
You might remember that twenty years ago there was a great “Cholesterol Scare” (or what many now call the great Cholesterol Hoax) where Cholesterol became public enemy number one and was blamed as the cause for just about everything? What research showed was that Cholesterol was not necessarily a bad thing–in many cases it was part of an intelligent adaptive response and to simply attempt to “chemically lower cholesterol” without improving the function and vitality of the body actually did more harm than good.
The question is what is the new “villain”? Inflammation has been blamed as the cause of just about every health problem under the sun. Once it is properly “vilified”-than just about ANY efforts to “remove, mask, inhibit, suppress or hide it” will be encouraged and embraced. The role of inflammation in the healing process has been misunderstood for many years. However, recent neurological and immunological research has given us a different picture and has shed some light on the role of inflammation in the healing process.
This chart is taken from a standard anatomy and physiology textbook and a similar chart can be found in any AP textbook in the world. Take a close look at it and look at what modern science has to say about inflammation. Notice that each “symptom” (heat, redness, pain, and swelling) has a definite purpose in the healing and repair of injured tissue and the timing and sequencing of all of these events is controlled and coordinated by the central nervous system.
Now, what this means is that you can NEVER improve health or resolve a particular health condition, by pursuing the symptom. The goal should NEVER be to remove the symptom, but rather to restore function which FACILITATES the COMPLETION of the healing process.
The inflammatory response is a natural defense mechanism that is triggered whenever body tissues are damaged in any way. Most of the body defense elements are located in the blood and inflammation is the means by which body defense cells and defense chemicals leave the blood and enter the tissue around the injured or infected site. Inflammation occurs in response to physical trauma, intense heat and irritating chemicals, as well as to infection by viruses and bacteria.
The inflammatory response:
(1) prevents the spread of damaging agents to nearby tissues
(2) disposes of cell debris and pathogens and
(3) sets the stage for the repair process.
The inflammatory process starts with a series of chemical “alarms”. Injured cells, Phagocytes, Lymphocytes, Mast cells and blood proteins are all responsible for the Inflammatory chemicals released into the extra cellular fluid. The most important inflamatory mediators are Histamine, Kinins, Prostaglandins, Complement and Lymphokines. Some of these mediators have individual roles in inflammation, but they all promote dilation of the small blood vessels at the site of an injury.
This is why you become red and hot at injury site/inflamed area, as more blood flows to the place affected. These same chemicals allow capillaries to become more permeable, which means that there is swelling occurring as fluid containing proteins (clotting factors and antibodies) seep from the blood stream into tissue spaces. This swelling may press on adjacent nerve endings causing pain
Pain also comes from the release of bacterial toxins, lack of nutrition to the cells in the area, and the sensitizing effects of released prostaglandins and kinins. If the swollen and painful area is a joint, normal movement may be inhibited temporarily in order for proper healing and repair to occur.
T-Lymphocytes or T cells are involved in:
1) inflammatory reactions.
2) increasing the numbers of cells for a strong defense of the body.
3) the destruction of cancer and infected cells.
T-cells are one of the first immune cells to become aware of the presence of foreign cells. When they notice that an infection has occurred, they release different classes of immune cofactors, or biochemical signals that activate B cells to produce antibodies and other immune cells. By using these messages, T cells recruit additional cells and start an immune reaction. Regulatory T cells defend the body by recruiting other cells. These cells “talk” to one another with immune cofactors, which are small bioactive signals that are produced by cells.
Although at first, edema may seem to be detrimental to the body, it isn’t. The entry of protein-rich fluids into the tissue spaces
(1) Helps to dilute harmful substances, which may be present
(2) Brings in large quantities of oxygen and nutrients necessary for the repair process.
(3) Allows the entry of clotting proteins which form a gel like fibrin mesh in the tissue space that effectively isolates the injured area and prevents the spread of bacteria and other harmful agents into the adjacent tissues. Its also forms a scaffolding for permanent repair.
Benefits of Inflammation
Inflammation is often associated with the inflammatory response to tissue injury or trauma, but inflammation is at work in the body at a bio-molecular level on a constant basis without any obvious symptoms. Inflammation helps to maintain homeostasis in the body by coordinating immune function. including T cell mediation to identify and eliminate cancer cells. (we will deal with this in future blogs)
When you see the letters itis at the end of a word, it means “inflammati on or’ The first part of the word indicates the part of the body that is involved in the inflammation process. For example, the word dermatitis means inflammation of the skin (derm) and arthritis is the inflammation of a joint in the body. It most cases the term itis at the end of a word denotes a chronic condition.
Chronic inflammation is an inflammatory response of prolonged duration–weeks, months, or even indefinitely. The extended time course is caused by persistence of the causative stimulus to inflammation in the tissue, repetitive use of anti-inflammatory drugs, a weakened immune system, or an improper nerve supply. Chronic inflammation inevitably causes tissue damage and is accompanied by simultaneous attempts at healing and repair. The exact nature, extent and time course of chronic inflammation is variable and depends on the balance between the causative agent and the attempts of the body to remove it.
DRUGS & INFLAMMATION
There are more drugs designed to fight inflammation in the human body than any other single category of drugs. Anti-inflammatories stop or disrupt inflammation by suppressing or altering the chemical signals associated with the inflammatory response. This interrupts the natural healing process and can often lead to conditions of chronic inflammation.
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
NSAIDs are often used to stop inflammation, but they may not be strong enough or may have too many side effects. NSAIDs work by inhibiting production of prostaglandins, the chemicals in our bodies that enhance inflammatory effects. Prostaglandins are also important to the normal functioning of a number of other processes including digestion. Because of this, inhibition of prostagladins by NSAIDs can cause indigestion and stomach and duodenal ulcers.
Corticosteroids are immunosuppressive. This means that they reduce the activity of your immune system. A healthy immune system helps defend your body against bacteria, viruses, and cancer. Use of corticosteroids decreases the body’s helpful immune activity, which can increase susceptibility to infection and interfere with the healing process.
“Corticosteroids are commonly used for the treatment of allergies, autoimmune diseases and inflammatory conditions. I consider them dangerous drugs, much misunderstood, abused and over prescribed. Steroids cause allergies and inflammation to disappear as if by magic. In fact, the magic is nothing more than direct suppression of the immune system. Steroids are toxic, cause dependence, suppress, rather than cure disease, and reduce the chance of healing by natural treatment. Moreover, they weaken immunity.” – Andrew Wei l, M.D.
Central Nervous System & Inflammation
The Central Nervous System controls and coordinates every single system down to the tiniest microbes in the human body including the entire healing and repair process. The CNS does this by sending and receiving billions of nerve messages every single minute. The health and internal resistance of the body is largely dependent on the communication ability of the nervous system.
Remember, if the nervous system is not functioning like it supposed to-healing will never be optimized or complete. This is one of the most important concepts that must be understood when attempting to resolve health issues.
“Vertebrates achieve internal homeostasis during infection or injury by balancing the activities of pro inflammatory and anti• inflammatory pathways. Endotoxins, produced by all gram negative bacteria, activates macrophages to release cytokines that are potentially lethal. The central nervous system regulates systemic inflammatory responses to endotoxi ns through humoral mechanisms. Activation of afferent vagus nerve fibers by endotoxi ns or cytokines stimulates hypothalamic-pituitary• adrenal-axis responses.” – Nature
At all biological levels (molecular, cellular, organ), communication between elements is essential for the proper functioning of system. This communication process is essential to the homeostasis of the body. The foundation of health begins with a properly functioning nervous system, to the extent that we can equate levels of function and healing capability with the ability of the nervous system to send and receive information.
There is a greater quantity of communication in the human body than all of the combined man-made communication systems in the world and the coordination and precision of neurological and biological communication systems is unparalleled.
The trend in immunological research clearly demonstrates that restoring, balancing, facilitating and maximizing the communication systems of the body is the key to optimal health and immune system function.
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Align Chiropractic Centre
81 Sixth Avenue, Maroochydore
0477 226 878
Align Chiropractic Centre is focused on structural correction of the spine. We use state of the art
technology and techniques to restore full function of the spine and nervous system to allow the innate
recuperative capacity of the body to work optimally.