A Guide to Curbing Inflammation
Below is an excerpt from the publication Health & Healing, which Dr. Williams was featured in for the April Issue.
Do chiropractors really care about the type of food you eat—your regular diet?
At Staker Chiropractic Center in Cary, the answer to that question is an emphatic “yes!”
In fact, notes, Dr. Trevor Williams, “We offer our patients an allergen test for all the food groups, based on a bloodwork sample that we send off to the lab to identify antigens in many different types of foods that may be creating an inflammatory response.
“When our patients make adjustments in their diet based on this testing, by sharply curbing foods that create inflammation, they feel better and have more energy. Often, they will also experience weight loss when their body is getting the type of food that it really needs and wants.” The diet howe er, is not the only source of chronic inflammation in our body, and there are things you can do to help reduce the inflammatory process.
Use Ice! And Healthy Diet!
Hurting when you walk—even when you breathe? Bad hip? Bad back? Dr. Williams encourages you to ease your pain with an ice pack. “When possible, we encourage people to avoid medications and use ice as an anti-inflammatory measure, which can be very effective. An oral anti-inflammatory medication affects the entire body, and may at times introduce secondary complications. Using an ice pack a few times through the day, 15 minutes on, one hour off, is often very effective in curbing an inflammatory issue. Follow your doctor’s advice, of course, and when there is a choice to make, we encourage the target approach rather than the whole system approach.
“We also encourage people to curb the inflammatory response in their bodies by altering their diet. The true diet that can reduce inflammation in the body is heavily plant-based, with an abundance of fruits and vegetables, and a sufficient amount of fiber. And in fact, a majority of people, of all ages, are consuming great amounts of pro-inflammatory types of foods. It’s a challenge to clean up our diets, and truly eat healthy foods—and it’s an investment that pays wonderful dividends.”
Dr. Williams likes to zip around Cary on his bike, and he urges his patients to get up and move! “Far too many of us lead stagnant lives, in terms of movement, spending as much as 40 hours a week sitting at a desk job, in a very still position. That is a profoundly unhealthy thing to do! And it is also very pro-inflammatory behavior, especially in terms of the pressure it places on the joints in the spine, and even on the nerves surrounding the spine.
“Getting up and moving—let’s say five minutes on the hour, throughout the day—is hugely beneficial for overall health and especially for spinal health. At the same time, include ergonomic stretching—which we are pleased to demonstrate—or other simple exercises to increase the value of these ‘back breaks’ immeasurably.”
While all of us can improve our health by making relatively simple changes, Dr. Williams and his colleagues most often test their knowledge and skills with very difficult, complicated cases.
“Most of these acute cases,” he notes, “involve back pain. A man, let’s say, fairly suddenly develops acute back pain. He wakes up feeling sciatic-type symptoms—and often that is because of injury to a disc in the lower back. There’s an inflammatory response to this event, and a lot of inflammation on the nerve.
“This is a condition we treat often and with success. Our goal is to treat the condition at the source, which is often a misalignment as the result of an abrupt shift. At times other providers may be involved in the treatment protocol: a physiotherapist or pain management doctor, for example. “And in that context, a great majority of our patients who come to us with severe back pain respond extremely well to our treatment protocols. Typically, the inflammatory response is significantly reduced within a week, with the patient showing noticeable, significant improvement. “In cases of acute back pain, we often will see a patient every other day, if possible, for four to six visits. The norm is that over that period of time, we will see really marked improvement. “Then we can taper our visits as we teach the patient ways to modify the inflammatory response at home, through stretching and core strengthening exercises. We offer instructions on how to best protect their spine, and how best to prevent re-injury.”