What is inflammation?

Inflammation is a natural process that your body activates to respond to foreign substances. This process is in place to protect our bodies from threats such as toxins, viruses, and bacteria. It’s the reason why you might experience swelling or bruising after an injury. Sometimes inflammation persists despite the absence of foreign invaders, which is referred to as chronic inflammation. In such cases, the inflammation is not beneficial to the body and can cause pain and other disease processes.

How does it affect your body and joint/back pain?

Chronic inflammation plays a role in most major diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. One of the most common reasons for visits to a chiropractor is to manage arthritic pain, which is also strongly linked to inflammation. You can learn more about the types of arthritis and understand the risks of osteoarthritis in our blogs.

So, how do we manage inflammation?

Dietary changes are a great first step to managing inflammation. The key is to consistently choose the right foods and limit the ones that trigger it.

Foods that cause inflammation

  • Refined carbohydrates (see our post on what carbs to avoid)
  • Fried foods
  • Soda
  • Red meat
  • Processed meat
  • Margarine
  • Safflower, sunflower, soybean, and corn oil
  • Dairy

Foods that fight inflammation

  • Green tea
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale)
  • Nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts)
  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna)
  • Fruits
  • Garlic
  • Onions

There are other lifestyle factors that can impact inflammation including smoking, chronic stress, excessive alcohol consumption, and obesity. For more tips on how to manage inflammation, click here.

Have questions about how inflammation is affecting your pain? See your community chiropractor.



1Foods that fight inflammation. Harvard Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation. Published June 2014. Updated August 13, 2017. Accessed February 13, 2018.

2Wareham L. Anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory foods. Naturopathic by Nature. http://naturopathicbynature.com/anti-inflammatory-and-pro-inflammatory-foods/. 
Published February 13, 2013. Accessed February 13, 2018.