Many moons ago, I was a fairly competitive gymnast. Granted I wasn’t destined for the Olympics, but I still believed I trained like it; 5 days a week, 3 hours a day.
By the age of 12, I had sustained a stress fracture in my L5 vertebrae and a substantial disc bulge in L2. In layman’s terms… my back hurt, a lot. Always. I recall receiving a doctor’s note to deliver to my coach requesting that I not tumble (aka flip around) for a week. The week off didn't provide much relief so I started rotating Advil and Aleve like Tic Tacs around the clock with minimal relief.
I grew up in a pretty healthy household where my mom was ahead of her time in the nutrition realm. We didn’t have any sugar in the house aside from maple syrup, which I would try and sneak into “cookie” batter; applesauce sweetened cookies didn’t get the job done. In hindsight, I was exposed to the idea that you are what you eat, and that food is medicine.
However as a teenager, I was able to get away with eating junk food at friends’ homes, school hot lunches, and sneaking off to Wendy’s for a #5 with a chocolate frosty. Had I known then what I know now, I may have consumed a lot less pro-inflammatory junk food, and found substitutes for popping 8 Aleve a day.
In my opinion, there is always a time and place for prescription drugs, but personally, I’m not a huge advocate of liberal use. There is a plethora of food and supplements that help to support anti-inflammation and can be a powerful tool to mitigate injury. Here are a few of my favorites from over the years of self guinea pig-ing.
Anti- inflammatory foods:
Anti- inflammatory supplements:
Promote healing mélange: