Arthritis is a condition of inflammation in or around a joint. By understand inflammation, we better understand arthritis. For starters, the word inflammation originates from the Latin inflammare which means “to set on fire.” Inflammation is a term that is centuries old that is used to describe the constellation of dolor (pain), calor (heat), rubio (redness), tumor (swelling) and functio laesa (loss of function). Despite this seemingly straight forward definition, it has not always been clear how to treat and heal someone of the challenges due to inflammation. Therefore, we first need to appreciate the role of inflammation.
Inflammation is an important aspect of our immune system to promote healing for it recruits the body’s defense system in the setting of an injury. However, there is a fine line that may be crossed such that inflammation may attack our bodies as it may promote further injury and disease progression. The question of whether inflammation is helpful or harmful to healing can only be answered after inflammation is defined based on set of events and history that has lead up to its collection of symptoms. Whereas use of anti-inflammatory prescriptions for arthritis are the cornerstone of medical science and clinical practice, their ability to control pain, heat, redness, swelling and loss of function has met with mixed results.
It was a revelation to me when I learned that my left knee inflammation responded to “anti-inflammatory living.” Although I have always appreciated the advice for routine medical checkup, and a balanced lifestyle that incorporates joy, good nutrition, proper exercise, and restorative sleep, it was upon immersing myself and honoring these pillars of health and healing to a greater degree that I have had a profound impact on my inflammation. Today my knee inflammation serves as teacher to me that has forever changed my course on both a personal as well as a professional level. It is truly an honor to be part of the Thriving with Arthritis Week at Canyon Ranch as I can appreciate the challenges of arthritis as well as the hope of balanced living.
Cheers to your health,