Treatment of inflammation

Patients (and healthcare professionals) need to remember that inflammation in the body is part of the healing process. Sometimes you have to contain the inflammation, but not always.


Anti-inflammatory drugs

NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories) are used to relieve inflammation-related pain.
They inhibit the enzyme COX (cyclooxygenase), which synthesizes inflammation-causing prostaglandins. When prostaglandin synthesis is blocked, it eliminates or reduces pain.
Examples of NSAIDs include naproxen, ibuprofen, and aspirin.

No one should take NSAIDs long-term without supervision by a doctor, as there is a risk of stomach ulcers and dangerous life-threatening bleeding.
NSAIDs can also worsen symptoms of asthma and cause kidney damage.
Anti-inflammatories may also increase the risk of stroke and heart attack, with the exception of aspirin.

Analgesics. Paracetamol (Efferalgan) may reduce pain associated with inflammation, but it does not have an anti-inflammatory effect.
If only the pain is to be treated without reducing inflammation, it can be ideal.

Corticosteroids – Corticosteroids are a class of steroidal hormones produced in the adrenal cortex (outer part). Cortisone is synthesized in laboratories and added to drugs.
Corticosteroids have anti-inflammatory effects, prevent the release of phospholipids and are involved in other inflammatory mechanisms.

Cortisone infiltration is often performed to reduce joint swelling in arthritis or osteoarthritis.

There are two groups of corticosteroids:

  1. Glucocorticoids are produced in response to stress and are also involved in the metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Synthetic glucocorticoids are prescribed for inflammation of the joints (arthritis), dermatitis, temporal arteritis, inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, hepatitis, asthma, allergic reactions and sarcoidosis.
    Creams and ointments (for topical use) may be prescribed for inflammation of the skin, eyes, lungs, intestines and nose.
  1. Mineralocorticoids regulate the balance of water and salt in the body. These corticosteroids are used to replace aldosterone (a hormone) in patients with adrenal insufficiency.

There are more side effects, unlike inhalations and injections, when corticosteroids are taken orally (tablets, capsules, etc.). The higher the dose and the longer it is taken, the higher the risk of unwanted side effects.

Glucocorticoids can also lead to Cushing’s syndrome, while mineralocorticoids can lead to high blood pressure, low blood calcium levels, high sodium levels, weakness, and metabolic alkalosis.

Other treatments for inflammation in the body

Ice (cryotherapy) – Cold can be used to narrow blood vessels and reduce swelling in acute inflammation (vasoconstriction). However, most people use this remedy in the wrong way by placing the ice directly on the skin or just putting a cloth in between.
The skin should not fall below a temperature of 15 degrees, otherwise the body will react to heating with a vasodilation.
In this case, the opposite of what you want to achieve is achieved.

You must never bring the ice into direct contact with the skin. It is best to put three ice cubes in a glass of water and fill a hot water bottle with them, which you wrap with a cloth and place on the body.
Athletes often use ice to treat and relieve pain and inflammation.
The inflammation can pass faster with: rest, ice, compression and elevation of the affected area.

Green tea – Scientists have found that drinking green tea regularly improves bone health and reduces inflammation in postmenopausal women.
They added that tai chi seems to have the same positive effect.

Garlic has many benefits that benefit the organism, including supporting the treatment of osteoarthritis and arthritis by reducing inflammation and swelling.

Tart cherries – Scientists have found that tart cherries have powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can help millions of people suffering from joint pain and arthritis.
The team at the University of Oregon Health & Science believes that tart cherries have a higher antioxidant content than any other food.

Fish oil (omega-3) – In the journal “Brain” there are studies that observe the behavior and immunity of daily consumption of fish. The studies show that omega-3 reduces inflammation and anxiety in a group of young healthy people.

Herbs with anti-inflammatory properties

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) – is a plant from the ginger family. Current research is examining possible positive effects of turmeric in the treatment of arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and other inflammatory pathologies.
Curcumin is a substance found in turmeric.

Cannabis – contains a cannabinoid that has anti-inflammatory properties.


Physical exercise for inflammation

Tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendons. If it is caused by overexertion, one should stop the respective physical activity so as not to aggravate the situation.
Athletes with inflammation of the Achilles tendon or kneecap should pause as long as the pain has not passed, before the tendonitis becomes chronic and the tissue degenerates. Because in the long run you risk a lesion.

Physical exercise is a physical stressor and the response to stress follows a physiological inflammatory course similar to that of other physical and mental stimuli.During exercise, the main hormones released are epinephrine (to increase heart rate and blood flow to the muscles), norepinephrine (to increase blood pressure), cortisol (to mobilize fuel sources and anti-inflammatory) and growth hormone.

These hormones are the same ones that the body releases when it responds to mental or emotional stressors.
Stress causes a temporary decrease in function, followed by an adjustment that improves resistance.
In order to strengthen health, you should make an effort with fitness exercises or sports activities and then keep a period of recovery.

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