Did you know that low back pain causes more disability than any other condition globally? As such, the development, or ‘pathogenesis’, of low back pain has long been investigated by research groups and programs. Most recently, the esteemed Drs. Injeyan, Injeyan, and Triano compared differences in inflammatory markers in the blood between asymptomatic individuals, and patients with non-specific acute or chronic low back pain. While there are limitations to every study, their results highlighted a distinct increase in pro-inflammatory mediators and a marked decrease in anti-inflammatory mediators in both groups of symptomatic patients when compared to asymptomatic individuals. Interestingly, a separate group in 2016 looked at the various effects of spinal manipulation and found that this technique may in fact activate naturally-produced anti-inflammatory mediators.
Did you know that localized inflammation in response to musculoskeletal injury is not only natural, but is essential to promote healing? Damaged cells release chemicals within the inflammation which signals the body to initiate the repair process. While some level of local inflammation is necessary, uncontrolled or persistent inflammation can cause more harm than benefit, resulting in additional tissue damage and prolonged recovery. Substantial evidence now suggests that what we eat can influence the inflammatory response to both acute and chronic conditions. Both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory foods have been shown to affect the inflammatory response of the immune system to injury. Limiting consumption of pro-inflammatory foods such as saturated and trans fats, refined sugars and carbohydrates, and processed foods, and increasing consumption of anti-inflammatory foods such as omega-3 fatty acids, colourful fruits and vegetables, olive and flax seed oils, and nuts, may not only help keep the inflammatory response in check, but may also protect healthy cells from inflammation caused damage.
Minihane, A., et al. (2015). Low-grade inflammation, diet composition and health: current research evidence and its translation. British Journal of Nutrition, 114(7), 999-1012.Tidball, J. (2005). Inflammatory processes in muscle injury and repair. American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 288(2), R345-R353.
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