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One of the things I love about my job is that I don’t have to work outside in the heat or freezing cold. When I’m not busy, I can surf the internet or catch up on emails. Working inside at a desk job absolutely has its perks!
Unfortunately, my body has been paying for this perk in the way of carpal tunnel, tendonitis in my elbow, and chronic low back pain.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a complete couch potato or desk jockey. I try to get in exercise when I can, I walk on my lunch breaks, and sit down as little as possible during my time off but let’s face it; 12 hours shifts plus 2-hour commutes still involves a whole lot of time spent on my behind.
It started with a back-ache that just wouldn’t go away. I could get it to quiet down for a time by soaking in the tub or doing some stretching, but it never lasted very long.
I also noticed that I had some sharp pain in my elbow, especially when I would try to write or simple things like twisting a door knob.
When the pain started in my wrist and fingers, I knew something was seriously wrong.
Doctor to Doctor
I won’t go into details about worker’s comp and how frustrating that end of the problem is, or this article would become a book.
I ended up being sent from doctor to doctor to doctor. I saw a regular doctor, a physical therapist, and two orthopedic doctors. They confirmed what I already suspected; I had tendonitis in my elbow and carpal tunnel in my wrist. I went through months of physical therapy and saw virtually no improvement.
Oh, and my back? No one seemed interested in that. Use hot packs was about the only suggestion I recall.
I finally ended up having surgery on both my wrist and elbow. Wow. Talk about a painful experience. It wasn’t until AFTER the surgery that the doctor told me that I might never be able to return to this line of work.
He said that the inflammation and pain would probably prevent me from doing those 12-hour shifts. I didn’t want to accept that. I refused to accept that!
Unfortunately, back in 2000 when this happened to me, Google was still in its infancy. I couldn’t seem to find much information about my problem other than to take NSAIDs to stop inflammation. Of course, my doctor advised against that as chronic use of these over-the-counter pain relievers would be detrimental to my digestive system.
Oh yes, and although my back improved a bit while I was out of work, it still bothered me.
My Pain Didn’t Stop There
I did return to work and found that, although I did have chronic pain in my lower back, elbow, and wrist, it wasn’t debilitating, but my back pain was becoming worse. Not only that, but the elbow and wrist on the other side began to show the first twinges of pain.
I thought that I might not be able to avoid surgery on the other arm, but I was going to the chiropractic clinic in Juneau to at least do something about my back.
I spoke at length to Dr. Brent Wells. He seemed very concerned, not only about my back pain, but about my arm as well! A doctor who finally listened about all the pain I was experiencing! I was thrilled.
We set up a treatment plan which included chiropractic care and massage therapy. Before I left, Dr. Wells gave me a list of anti-inflammatory supplements that he suggested I take to help deal with the pain.
OK, I will be honest here, I thought this was nonsense. How could things like magnesium or turmeric help with pain?
He explained to me that a great deal of my pain came from chronic inflammation. By dealing with the root cause of my problems (that darn job that I loved so much) as well as the inflammation, I might be able to avoid surgery on the other arm.
Well, I was absolutely onboard with that! I looked over his list and thought, what do I have to lose?
My End Result?
Everything Dr. Wells told me was true! He recommended an ergonomic chair for my workspace and a few exercises that I could do in my office. I began taking anti-inflammatory supplements and within a few weeks, my pain virtually disappeared.
I can’t say that what happened to me would work for everyone, but I do know, after speaking to other clients, that Dr. Wells has had tremendous success recommending foods and supplements that work as natural anti-inflammatories.
Of course, I didn’t take everything on this list, but these are some of the most effective supplements to fight inflammation.
You can get these from foods as well, but for most people, it’s hard to eat enough pineapple everyday to get enough of the bromelain you need on a regular basis.
Here are the top anti-inflammatory supplements that, in my opinion, everyone can benefit from!
More commonly known as turmeric, this herb is related to ginger and has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. One study recently published in July of 2018 found that curcumin had anti-inflammatory and vasoprotective effects in mice.
Who would have thought that this common cooking spice was an anti-inflammatory? It’s been used for centuries as medicine in many other parts of the world.
You’ve heard that fish oil is good for many things, including the heart and brain, but anti-inflammatory? It’s the DHA that has the anti-inflammatory compounds and the great thing about fish oil is that you can eat salmon 3 times a week or take supplements, whichever you prefer. Personally, I will take the salmon for lunch, thank you.
Sometimes called Holy Basil, this herb has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. It is high in antioxidants, which also gives it the anti-inflammatory compounds. A study performed in 2005 found that this herb was very high in antioxidants that did not break down easily.
The anti-inflammatory with the cute name! This comes to us courtesy of Peru and has been shown in studies (like this one in 2007) to be so powerful that it helped stopped inflammation in those with gastritis and osteoarthritis.
Loved all over the world for its flavor, but it’s only been studied recently for it’s anti-inflammatory compounds. It has also been found to lower blood sugar levels. This study in 2008 found that even essential oil of cinnamon worked as an anti-inflammatory.
Did you know that most Americans are deficient in this important mineral? One of the problems is that it is poorly absorbed by the body. Dr. Wells suggested that I add Epsom salts to my baths since Epsom salts aren’t really salts but magnesium flakes. It’s easily absorbed through the skin and makes you feel great!
I must admit that I’m not a fan of the flavor of green tea (or any tea for that matter) but it has so many health benefits, it’s hard to not be a fan. A review of the studies and literature on green tea show that that special catechins that this tea can treat metabolic syndrome, fight obesity, and has powerful anti-inflammatory agents. Thank goodness it comes in supplement form because you need 5 cups a day to get the good stuff from it!
At the risk of having this list sound like a cooking class, I had to include it here as ginger has been shown in multiple studies to not only be a powerful anti-inflammatory, but it can help to prevent brain diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and MS.
I actually had never heard of walnut oil before but have since discovered that it is a terrific anti-inflammatory and tastes pretty darn good on salads. This 2015 study backs up the claims that walnut oil has strong antioxidant compounds, fights inflammation, and even protects our DNA from damage. All that from simple walnuts. Who knew?
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