Inflammation, pain, exercise, and nutrition
Published: December 07, 2018
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is usually associated with innate immune responses which occur when surface barriers (such as skin and the lining of your intestinal tract) to pathogens (viruses, bacteria, parasites) are breached resulting in an infection.
Inflammation occurs at the sight of infection as fluid, cells and other substances move out of your blood into the tissues around the sight of infection.
Redness and swelling may be noticed at the infection sight, and infection may cause a fever. Neutrophils and macrophages (phagocytic cells) also migrate to the infection site where they destroy pathogenic cells.
Your body can also acquire immune responses, although initially this response is not as immediate as your innate immune response.
Cells such as specific antibodies (B cells, T cells and antigen-presenting cells, and intermediary cytokines) are produce by your body in response to an attack by a foreign body.
Cytokines are proteins such as interferons, interleukins and tumor necrosis factors which are produced in various body cells. Cytokines are part of your internal messaging system which bind to the surface of cells and change that cell’s activity.
In addition to these immune responses which can cause inflammation your body produces prostaglandins, hormone-like compounds, which promote inflammation, pain, and fever. Prostaglandins belong to a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids know as eicosanoids.
Arachidonic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, is an eicosanoid. Other eicosanoids include prostaglandin E2 (constriction of blood vessels), thromboxane A2 (formation of blood clots) and leukotriene D4 (smooth muscle contraction).
Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) is an enzyme necessary for the synthesis of prostaglandins.
Another enzyme cyclooxgenase-1(COX-1) is involved in maintaining the health of various organs such as the lining of your stomach.
Pain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen work by blocking the activity of these 2 enzymes. However, long term use of these medications and inhibition of COX-1 can result in damage to your stomach lining.
A dysfunctional immune response may attack body cells and lead to diseases such as MS, insulin dependent diabetes melitus, Grave’s disease, thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus.
Chronic inflammation occurs when your inflammatory response doesn’t resolve the infection, and may be indicative of systematic damage to various organs throughout your body.
What is inflammation’s connection to pain?
Inflammation causes pain. However, your body has its own pain management system in the form of beta-endorphins (neuropeptides)...link to the full article to learn more
Sprouse-Blum et al. Understanding endorphins and their importance in pain management. Hawaii Medical Journal, 2010
Kodesh and Weissman-Fogel. Exercise –induced hypoalgesia interval versus continuous mode Applied physiological nutrition metabolism, 2014 39, 829-834
Samuelly-Leichtag, Kodesh, Meckel,Weissman-Fogel1: A Fast Track to Hypoalgesia – The Anaerobic Exercise Effect on Pain Sensitivity J Sports Med 2017; 39: 473–481