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Silent Inflammation Causes No Pain – Should Chiropractors Offer a Solution?

Silent, chronic inflammation is due to radical changes in our patient’s lifestyles over the past 25 years, the perfect nutritional storm. Should chiropractors test and offer a solution?

Chiropractic Research Unveils Lifestyle Induced Inflammation!
“Body Mass Index and Musculoskeletal Pain: Is There a Connection” is published research by David Seaman, DC and can be found at Seaman Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 2013,21:15.

Seaman contends that back pain, is the most common complaint that patients report to physicians and two-thirds of the population has an elevated body mass index (BMI). He further states that recent studies indicate that an elevated BMI is associated with back pain and other musculoskeletal pain syndromes due to the presence of a chronic systemic inflammation state, suggesting that the relationship between BMI and musculoskeletal pains be considered in more detail.

Dr. Seaman includes 153 references in his article and concludes by saying that it is incumbent upon the chiropractic profession to identify patients at risk.

Seaman ends his paper by saying: “Identifying adiposopathy and the metabolic syndrome can have a substantial public health impact as patients may only present with musculoskeletal pain and yet have the chronic inflammatory chemistry that promotes heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases.”

Chiropractors Must Test For Both Types of Inflammation
In my opinion, Seaman’s published research paper alone makes a strong case why every chiropractor needs to include Lifestyle Medicine Screenings in their practices. Chiropractors need to test all patients for both acute “classic” inflammation and silent “chronic” inflammation.

As you know, classic or acute inflammation is typically associated with pain and is comprised of heat, pain, redness and swelling. This type of inflammation drives patients to us and we easily know exactly how to test, measure and treat it.

However when a patient has inflammation without associated pain, i.e., silent, chronic inflammation, the most dangerous kind, most patients and doctors also do nothing about it until it attacks organs for years accumulating enough damage to produce a visible chronic disease. When enough organ damage occurs, it begins to hurt, and then patient’s go to doctors.

Most physicians at this time will prescribe drugs to treat the symptoms of the chronic disease, but typically still do nothing to treat the underlying cause. While this is good for drug companies, they have a customer for life, it’s not good for the patient because the underlying cause is still there, the constant presence of silent, chronic inflammation.

According to Barry Sears, PhD., excess body fat to the point of becoming obese is a form of silent, chronic inflammation induced cancer that can either be benign or malignant.

The Role of Poor Lifestyle Choices in Silent, Chronic Inflammation
You can’t tell the levels of silent, chronic inflammation in patients by simply looking at them. By having them fill out a metabolic health and back pain survey and look to see if they answer positive to the key questions, it’s quite likely they probably have high levels of silent, chronic inflammation. This can prompt you to conduct further “objective” testing.

The common chronic diseases of Western Civilization are due in large part to lifestyle changes that have increased the levels of body fat and silent, chronic inflammation. Since no pain is associated with silent, chronic inflammation, one way chiropractors can measure the driving force behind it, high levels of toxic acidic fat, is to “objectively” measure four metabolic risk factors, Saliva pH, (Acid/Alkaline Balance), Body Cell Mass, (Body Function – Living Cells) Extracellular Mass, (Body Structure – Non-Living Cells) and Fat Mass (Body Inflammation & Chronic Pain Status).

The First Sign and Best Solution
The first clinical sign for many people that have silent inflammation is metabolic syndrome, a cluster of metabolic risk factors that include, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, high insulin, high fasting glucose, increased blood pressure, increased waist circumference, and a shape like an apple.

Before a patient has full-blown metabolic syndrome it’s best to provide them a chiropractic lifestyle medicine screening and begin a program of improving their lifestyle choices.

The best solution to silent chronic inflammation is the same factors that caused it in the first place, the need to change their poor lifestyle choices. What is required to combat these effects, is an anti-inflammatory chiropractic lifestyle medicine program in tandem with regular chiropractic care.