Occasionally, a patient will ask me which nutritional supplements or vitamins I take. Of course, it makes the most sense to get the majority of nutrients from a healthy diet. Which would you rather do—take a fiber pill, as well as vitamin C,K, and A supplements, or eat a serving of broccoli? That’s really an intuitive choice (for everyone except my son Noah who would prefer anything over a vegetable.) I hope that my patients are selecting the latter route toward good health.
There is one supplement, however, that I incorporate into my daily routine and I believe its inclusion is very important. This supplement is fish oil, which is derived from the tissues of oily fish. Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
Incorporating fish oil supplements in a daily health regimen has many advantages, including:
• Improving cardiovascular health;
• Protecting the body from stroke;
• A lowered risk of certain cancers, including those of the breast, colon, and prostate;
• Improved brain function; and
• Better mental health.
A major benefit of fish oil supplements is an improvement in the ability to reduce inflammation throughout the body. It’s important to understand that inflammation stimulates the nerves and causes pain. While inflammation is an important tool in fighting infection and injury, it is the body’s most primitive weapon and it requires a lot of energy to maintain. The resources of your body are taxed by chronic inflammation.
Fish oil has anti-inflammatory properties that, when regularly consumed, can be helpful for patients suffering from chronic inflammatory diseases and disorders. For example, we know that arthritis is inflammation and pain in the joints of the body. Arthritis can be an extremely debilitating disease, the treatment of which generally involves the use of anti-inflammatory drugs. The significant risks of these drugs (which include kidney failure and coronary heart disease) are well known.
While fish oil is not necessarily a panacea for arthritis sufferers, the supplement’s anti-inflammatory properties can greatly decrease inflammation and pain while benefiting (instead of damaging) the rest of the body.
Inflammation, Pain, and the Mind/Body Connection
Inflammation classically presents as pain, heat, redness, and swelling. With my patients, I set the goal of treating the inflammation itself by addressing the injury or problem causing the reaction in the first place. As long as inflammation is present in the body, the damage caused by this process will continue.
In my work, I think a lot about pain and the mind/body connection. Being truly desirous of a pain-free life is the first and most important step in eliminating pain; taking proactive steps toward this goal is big part of harmonizing the psychological and the physiological functions of the body. This can include eating a nourishing diet, exercise, and, yes, taking fish oil supplements.
Our facility also incorporates a number of practices aimed at reducing pain and helping patients live longer, healthier lives. Our first step is to understand the locus of pain (where your pain is coming from) and create a treatment plan to address the area of injury as well as eliminate pain.
At Monmouth Spine and Rehabilitation Center, we offer both traditional chiropractic care as well as the latest and most revolutionary practices. We incorporate western and eastern medical philosophies, including the use of physical therapy, massage, and acupuncture, in our treatment plans. Please visit or call our Red Bank facility to learn more.