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The Truth About Inflammation

What is Inflammation?

When your body encounters an offending agent (viruses, bacteria, or toxic chemicals) or suffers an injury or trauma, it activates your immune system. Your immune system sends out its first responders: inflammatory cells and cytokines (substances that stimulate more inflammatory cells). These cells begin an inflammatory response to trap bacteria and other offending agents or start healing injured tissue. The result can be pain, swelling, bruising, or redness.

In some cases, inflammation is essential; without it, injuries could fester, and simple infections can become more serious. However, when inflammation occurs, it is a sign that there is a trigger causing this response. It is important to intervene when inflammation occurs.

Inflammation can be Acute or Chronic.

Acute inflammation: The response to sudden body damage. When acute inflammation occurs, your body sends inflammatory cells to the injury or site to start the healing process.

Chronic inflammation: Your body continues sending inflammatory cells to the body part(s) or site even when there is no outside danger.

Local or Systemic Inflammation?

Local inflammation is inflammation that occurs in an isolated area of the body, as opposed to systemic inflammation, which can affect the whole body.

Local Inflammation:

Local inflammation always occurs in relation to trauma. The inflammatory response occurs when tissues are injured by bacteria, trauma, toxins, heat, injury, or any other cause.

Systemic inflammation:

Systemic inflammation is a condition in which there is inflammation throughout the whole body. A systemic inflammatory response may be caused by an infection, trauma, surgery, ischemia (lack of blood supply to a part of the body), sensitivities, allergies, or certain conditions, such as an autoimmune disorder.

Treatment for Inflammation:

For acute inflammation, rest, ice, elevation, compression, and good wound care often relieve the discomfort in a few days.

If you have chronic inflammation, your healthcare provider may recommend supplements, vitamins, or medication.

Certain vitamins (Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D) and supplements such as zinc, fish oil, and curcumin may reduce inflammation and enhance repair.

How Physical and Occupational Therapy Programs Can Help Inflammation:

Inflammation can affect your quality of life. Fortunately, several different kinds of Physical and Occupational Therapy programs have proven to be effective in reducing inflammation, decreasing symptoms, improving function, and helping you get moving again!

Our Occupational and Physical Therapists can create a custom program tailored to your affected joint(s) to help reduce pain, decrease inflammation, and prevent further destruction or deformity, with the goal of improving the overall function of the joint, surrounding tissue, and the body as a whole. The patient’s condition, affected area, and cause of inflammation will determine the exact treatment plan.

Possible therapeutic interventions include:

🖐️Manual Therapy- Hands-On Manual Therapy Techniques such as soft tissue release and joint mobilization can help to combat inflammation by gaining movement while reducing pain and encouraging blood flow.

🏃Exercise- When carefully selected, certain exercises can help to reduce swelling, decrease pain, and minimize the risk of injury while performing everyday tasks such as: loading and unloading groceries, stocking your cabinets, and brushing your hair.

🩸Modalities- An example of a modality that can help includes Ultrasound. Ultrasound can help to increase blood flow in a localized area and reduce swelling.

📖Education- Your therapist can provide you with important information as to how to prevent a recurrence in the future.

Visit our website to learn more about how F.I.T. PT can help you!

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