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When a patient with chronic pain is experiencing symptoms, relief is only thing on their mind.
Penney Cowan founded the American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA) in part to educate people about alternative solutions to pain management. The Alliance for Rational Use of NSAIDs is a public health coalition dedicated to the safe and appropriated use of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Back Pain TipsBack pain tips can help any patient to find relief, improve their chances for recovery and even enjoy a true cure. Diagnosis of Piriformis SyndromeLearn about the diagnosis of piriformis syndrome and how the methods used to identify the condition are often flawed and inaccurate. Inflammation is a normal, natural, and complex series of chemical and cellular activities performed by the body in response to injury or abnormal stimulation caused by a physical, chemical, or biological agent. Acute inflammation prevents the spread of damaging agents, disposes of cell debris, and sets the stage for tissue repair that returns the body to its original state.
The cells involved with inflammation are the white cells (neutrophils, lymphocytes) and macrophages.
Inflammation can be caused by many aspects of daily living including diet or food choices, stress and worry, artificial chemicals in air, food, water, cosmetics, and drugs, pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and fungi. While short-term use of steroidal and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be very effective, long-term use of any of these drugs (beyond a few weeks) can lead to life-threatening side effects (hemorrhage, osteoporosis, heart disease).
Elevated levels of erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), and the white blood cell count can be seen when inflammation is present. On a molecular level, the damage to tissues caused by inflammation is the result of free radical activity. Free radicals come from pesticides in our environment and microwave damage to our food, along with burnt foods, fried foods, rancid foods, irradiated foods, microbe-contaminated food, trans-fats, hydrogenated oils, thousands of inhaled or transdermal chemicals as well as nitrates, nitrites, and preservatives in food. One defence against free radicals is antioxidants, a class of substances that can neutralize free radicals before they can cause any tissue damage.
One can make a list of free radical, acid forming, or pro-inflammatory foods that ought best to be avoided.
The natural food supplement company, Metagenics, has an anti-inflammatory program called UltraInflamX, which recommends a special diet more or less along these same nutritional guidelines.
Commonly occurring culinary herbs and spices have been shown to neutralize free radicals, as well as heal inflammation. All antioxidant supplements are anti-inflammatory and all anti-inflammatory supplements are antioxidants.
Most antioxidant supplements are molecules isolated from foods and provided at dosages much higher than what we could possibly obtain from food.
If you wish to start an anti-inflammatory program of diet change and supplements, it’s highly recommended you see a natural health care provider to work with you on a personalized plan. He has had a private medical practice in the Toronto area for the past 38 years, has appeared on radio and TV, and lectured extensively in Canada and the U.S. NSAIDs, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, can often provide that relief, however it’s important to balance the potential benefits with the potential risks of these drugs.
In a recent interview with the Alliance for Rational Use of NSAIDs, she discussed how patients could address their NSAID usage.


Our expectation is: all we need is one medication, such as NSAIDs, or treatment that will take away the pain, but it only puts air in one of the tires. The inflammatory response is a desirable defence mechanism but the side effects are usually undesirable. The chemical mediators participating in the inflammatory response are the complement system, histamine, serotonin, bradykinin, leukotrienes, and prostaglandins (PGE2 and PGI2).
Conventional medicine seems to acknowledge many of these causative agents but does not exactly promote strategies to deal with any of them in attempting to control the deleterious effects of inflammation. It’s very obvious if you have rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, scleroderma, a chronic pain syndrome or other disease that has signs you can see that you are suffering from inflammation.
Another lab test indicative of inflammation is the fibrinogen level, although this is most likely correlated to a greater risk for heart disease.
Free radicals are highly unstable atoms or molecules possessing an unpaired electron that look to steal electrons from more stable molecules.
One can also attempt to eat more foods that are less likely to generate free radicals, provide more antioxidants, and are, in a sense, more anti-inflammatory. These include garlic, onions, green tea, cinnamon, turmeric, rosemary, curry, ginger, parsley, and cayenne. While there is clearly good evidence that following an anti-inflammatory diet will do wonders to control inflammation, there are also supplements that have been proven to control the adverse effects of inflammation. These are in no way a replacement for poor eating habits, but are best used as an adjunct to following a good anti-inflammatory diet.
The severity of the inflammation involved dictates the number and dosages for all these supplements. For many patients, however, the immediate benefits of NSAIDs outweigh the potential for long-term risks.
The key is helping people understand the risks of long-term use through education,” said Cowan. But in chronic inflammation (arthritis, dermatitis, and numerous other chronic health conditions), something has gone wrong with the switch.
If the acute phase of inflammation is ineffective, chronic inflammation is triggered and this is something that can last from days to a lifetime.
These cells and chemical mediators are ultimately responsible for the five signs of inflammation: redness, heat, swelling, pain, and loss of function.
Rather, the overwhelming treatment and solutions offered for the problem is prescription drugs. This chemical reaction, especially when it occurs to the phospholipids present in cell membranes, can create premature cell death. Julie Daniluk’s book, Meals That Heal Inflammation, is one of the best available that not only tells you what the best foods are for healing inflammation, but also gives you many practical suggestions for meals. On the other hand, rice milk, almond milk, oat milk, coconut milk, and other nut milks are allowed substitutes. They not only neutralize free radicals and thus inflammation but they help prevent cancer, as well as repair damaged genes. Even when we follow a very healthy diet, it’s virtually impossible to prevent exposure to environmental toxins and chemicals in our daily lives.


Many companies have combined a large number of these antioxidants into a single pill or powdered beverage, so please don’t feel overwhelmed by the large number of products listed below. CoQ10 is a must for anyone taking cardiac medications and statin drugs to lower high cholesterol because most cardiac drugs destroy the body’s own production of CoQ10. Rona is a graduate of McGill University Medical School (1977) and has a Master’s Degree in Biochemistry and Clinical Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut (1984).
For each person the necessary combination of therapies and interventions will be different. They go by the names lycopene, beta-carotene, and vitamins A, C, E, bioflavonoids, and numerous others. The yellow, orange, and bright red fruits and vegetables (carrots, pumpkin, peppers, tomatoes, mangos, papaya) contain carotenoids like beta-carotene and lycopene while the green vegetables (asparagus, broccoli, onions, mustard greens) are high in sulphur phyto-nutrients like sulphorane, isothiocyanates, indoles, and alpha lipoic acid.
Supplementation would therefore provide us with added protection from the free radical onslaught.
He is past president of The Canadian Holistic Medical Association and author or co-author of 12 books on natural medicine, including three Canadian bestsellers, The Joy of Health (1991), Return to the Joy of Health (1995), and Childhood Illness and The Allergy Connection (1997). We need to work with our health care providers to find out what we need to fill up our other three tires, such as physical therapy, counseling or nutritional guidance,” she said.
The swelling is caused by the influx of plasma proteins and phagocytic cells into the tissue spaces, while the pain is due to the local release of enzymes and increased tissue pressure. In general, the foods containing these antioxidants are alkaline-forming, while other foods (meats, most grains, sugar, most nuts) are acid-forming and free radical-generating. Purple-, blue-, black-, and magenta-coloured fruits and vegetables (acai berries, blackberries, cherries, beets) contain phyto-nutrients called phenolics and flavonoids.
Chronic inflammation is now thought to be the most important factor in causing heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, chronic fatigue syndrome, neurodegenerative diseases, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as all autoimmune diseases. He is also co-author with Jeanne Marie Martin of The Complete Candida Yeast Guidebook (1996) and is the medical editor of the Benjamin Franklin Award-winning Encyclopedia of Natural Healing (1998).
The net effect is a reduction of inflammation, cancer spread, and numerous other conditions dependent on inflammation to spread.
Supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids thus reduces inflammation because arachadonic acid derivatives (prostaglandins, thromboxanes, and leukotrienes) are less active. Studies with rheumatoid arthritis patients, in fact, have shown decreased morning stiffness and joint pain in patients who supplement with omega-3.
The potency of these fish oils approximates those of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), with negligible side effects.
Avoid omega-6 fatty acids – it breaks my heart (and possibly yours) to see people supplementing with omega-6 in the belief it has some sort of magic benefit against disease.
It certainly doesn’t need to be supplemented because it offsets the anti-inflammatory benefits of omega-3.



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