Inflammation = Healing : Dr. Mommy Health Tips

Inflammation = Healing : Dr. Mommy Health Tips

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A special thank you to Dr. David P. Sutherland for contributing this article

When tissue injury occurs, whether caused by trauma, viral or bacterial infection, heat, or any other occurrence, changes begin to occur in the injured tissue. Vasodialation (enlargement of the blood vessels), leakage of large quantities of fluid in the surrounding area, clotting of the fluid, and swelling of the cells, are just a few of the responses of the immune system. A walling off effect occurs which delays spread of the toxic substances, then Pac-man like cells called macrophages come in to eat the damaged tissues. Eventually the body absorbs the dead and dying tissue cells, and then healthy cells are left behind.

If inflammation is healing, why do we take anti-inflammatories?

Simply put, because of pain. The swelling, which occurs from inflammation, also causes heat and pain. Anti-inflammatories suppress the innate ability of the body to perform the process of healing described in the previous paragraph, but because they also suppress pain we are generally satisfied. Anti-inflammatories are necessary in many cases, much like antibiotics are necessary in severe cases of infection; however, just like antibiotics, there can be many side effects. Remember, when we take anti-inflammatories, we always lessen the body’s ability to heal.

What alternatives do we have to anti-inflammatories?

There are many doctors out there who will give you a list of nutritional and/or supplemental alternatives, from garlic or ginger, to more exotic, harder to pronounce dietary adjuncts. And though all of these have been found to be helpful, I have never experienced anything that has worked better, or quicker, than cryotherapy (ice, ice baby), especially, for musculoskeletal conditions. Not only is ice inexpensive and readily available (soft ice packs, bag of frozen corn or peas), but also it’s targeted and has no systemic side effects. When done properly, 10-12 minutes for small body parts (neck or extremity joints) and 15-20 minutes for larger body parts (mid-back and lower back), ice therapy can give quicker and better results for symptom relief, without interfering with the natural ability of the body to heal itself.

When should I use heat and/or exercise?

When your cold, and when you’re out of shape respectively. Although heat feels good, it can only increase inflammatory pain. If heat is used (dry or moist heating pads, hot tub or shower), always use ice therapy 20-30 minutes later or you may pay the price the next morning. As for exercise, who would jog on an inflamed ankle, or massage a swollen neck. Exercise, including supervised physical therapy, should never be used while the body is in an inflamed state; however, it should always occur after inflammation has been stabilized.

Dr. David P Sutherland, is a Doctor of Chiropractic in Tampa, FL.  He loves educating and teaching everyone about the wonderful mechanism called our body and how we can help it to heal itself.  He has been in practice for over 15 years and enjoys helping others and spending time with his family. (Yes, this is also Dr. Daddy)

Posted by Dr. Mommy Health Tips on Sunday, October 11, 2009 at 10:14 pm Filed under Facts, Featured, Guests · Tagged with alternative medicine, anti-inflammatories, Dr. David Sutherland, Dr. Mommy Healthtips, garlic, Guest Writer, healing, health tips, heat or ice, ice for therapy, inflammation, treating inflammation, what is inflammation

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