Pain and Inflammation

Pain and Inflammation

Pain is a sensation that is triggered by the Nervous System. The pain generally can be acute or chronic and it can be intermittent or constant. Pain may be felt somewhere in the body, such as the back, abdomen or chest; or generalized pain, such as muscle pain. Joint pain can be caused by many types of injuries or conditions, it may be related to arthritis, bursitis and muscle pain.


Among the different types of pain are: neuropathic pain, neuropathies, fibromyalgia, pain due to herpes and other skin disorders, muscle pain, vascular pain, back pain, sciatic nerve pain, pain from burns, surgical pain, headache, pain due to trauma, period pains and other types of pains.


Inflammation is the response of the immune system to foreign invaders such as viruses and bacteria. In response to infection or injury, various classes of white blood cells are transported through the bloodstream to the site of infection and require more white blood cells. The inflammation usually subsides when the threat of infection or injury disappears. For example, when a person is cut off or has the flu, the inflammation is used to kill the bacteria or virus that invades the body.


Inflammation is certainly related to pain and can produce: pain, redness, heat, stiffness or loss of mobility. In some types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system confuses the body's own tissues with foreign tissues and responds with inflammation. In this type of illness, inflammation cannot be controlled, which results in greater tissue damage. Without proper treatment, this can result in a destructive cycle of inflammation and damage. The damage caused by inflammation can change the bones and other tissues of the joints by affecting the shape of these and cause pain and difficulty in making movements.


Inflammation is a defense response and natural protection of the body to any injury, irritation or surgery during which a greater bloodstream is promoted to the affected area, which produces an accumulation of fluids. As the body accumulates this protective response, the symptoms of inflammation develop, including swelling, pain, increased temperature and reddening of the skin.


The inflammation as well can be acute or chronic. When acute, it occurs as an immediate response to trauma from an injury or surgery, usually within the next two hours. When chronic, the inflammation reflects a continuous response to a longer-term medical condition, such as arthritis. Inflammation can also be caused by an infection.


Inflammation is part of the complex biological response of body tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants, and is a protective response involving immune cells, blood vessels, and molecular mediators. The function of inflammation is to eliminate the initial cause of cell injury, clear out necrotic cells and tissues damaged from the original insult and the inflammatory process, and initiate tissue repair.


The five classical signs of inflammation are heat, pain, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation is a generic response, and therefore it is considered as a mechanism of innate immunity, as compared to adaptive immunity, which is specific for each pathogen. Too little inflammation could lead to progressive tissue destruction by the harmful stimulus like an infection and compromise the survival of the organism. In contrast, chronic inflammation is associated with various diseases, such as hay fever, periodontal disease, atherosclerosis, and osteoarthritis.


Glucosamine and Chondroitin

Glucosamine is a chemical found in the human body. It is used by the body to produce a variety of other chemicals that are involved in building tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and the thick fluid that surrounds joints. Joints are cushioned by the fluid and cartilage that surround them. In some people with osteoarthritis, the cartilage breaks down and becomes thin. This results in more joint friction, pain, and stiffness.


Researchers think that taking glucosamine supplements may either increase the cartilage and fluid surrounding joints or help prevent the breakdown of these substances, or maybe both. Clinical studies recommend the use of supplements that contain Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM, Hyaluronic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin C and minerals such as Calcium, Manganese, Zinc, Magnesium and Potassium. These nutrients also promote the good health and growth of the skin, hair, nails.


Most research shows that taking glucosamine can provide some pain relief for people with osteoarthritis, especially those with osteoarthritis of the knees. For some people, glucosamine might work as well as over-the-counter and prescription pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. This effect is obtained after 4-8 weeks of been using it. In addition to relieving pain, glucosamine might also slow the breakdown of joints and prevent the condition from getting worse if it is taken for several years. Some research shows that people who take glucosamine might be less likely to need total knee replacement surgery.


Chondroitin is a chemical that is normally found in cartilage around joints in the body. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage in the joints breaks down. Taking chondroitin sulfate, one of the building blocks of cartilage, might slow this breakdown.


MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) is a natural substance found in the body. MSM might supply sulfur to make other chemicals in the body. Glucosamine can be combined with chondroitin, MSM, hyaluronic acid, hydrolyzed collagen as well with some specific vitamins and minerals. 



Vitamins B12, B1 and B6

Vitamins B1, B6 and B12 are neurotrophic molecules. Vitamin B12, like the other B vitamins, is important for protein metabolism. It helps the formation of red blood cells in the blood and the maintenance of the Central Nervous System. Vitamin B1 stimulates glycolysis, facilitating the ATP necessary for the energy and oxidative processes of neurons. Vitamin B6 is necessary for the metabolism of tryptophan and obtaining the biogenic amines, which are necessary for stimulus conduction processes at the level of the Central Nervous System.


The combination of Vitamins B1, B6 and B12 nourishes the nerve fibers. The nerve fibers give the signal to the spinal cord and the brain to release chemicals that relieve pain.



Turmeric Curcumin and Curcuminoids 

Turmeric or Curcuma longa is a plant related to ginger that has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for inflammatory conditions. Curcuminoids are the active ingredients of this plant. Research suggests that curcumin can help in the management of oxidative and inflammatory conditions, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, anxiety, and hyperlipidemia. Curcumin has received worldwide attention for its multiple health benefits, which appear to act primarily through its antimicrobial, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory mechanisms. Preliminary studies found that curcuminoids may:


- Reduce the number of heart attacks bypass patients had after surgery.

- Control knee pain from osteoarthritis, as well as ibuprofen, did.

- Reduce the skin irritation that often occurs after radiation treatments for breast cancer.

- Other preliminary studies in people have looked at curcumin, a type of curcuminoid, for different cancers, colitis, diabetes, surgical pain, and as an ingredient in mouthwash for reducing plaque.

- The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) has studied curcumin for Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and prostate and colon cancer.

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