This is a short video to explain the most important things you need to know about inflammation in joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments.
Every musculoskeletal injury goes through 3 important stages of healing which are inflammation, repair and remodelling. Inflammation is the body’s emergency response and begins immediately after an injury to fight the most dangerous effects. This causes swelling, redness and pain for 3 to 5 days.
With inflammation no time of the day or night is pain-free. If rest or changing position reduces your pain then the injury has moved to the repair stage. On a cellular level, inflammation attracts specialized cells called fibroblasts, which spin webs of connective tissue to bind the wound together, similar to the scab on a scratch wound. This limits the flow of fluids, protects the injury and begins repair.
Food supplements can be used to help this process by supplying the body with the nutrients it needs to heal and keep the inflammation at a healthy level. These include Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, found in vegetable oils like flaxseed and fish oils, and antioxidant nutrients such as Vitamin C, E, Selenium and bioflavonoids.
The standard treatment for acute injury is Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation, also known by the acronym “RICE”. Rest prevents further irritation and injury. Ice and compression reduces swelling and elevating the injury above the level of the heart allows the swelling to drain. RICE is generally done for 3 to 5 days after an injury, but it can be used whenever the inflammation flares up.
Gently moving the affected area can be helpful if it doesn’t increase the pain or create more injuries. For example, patients coming out of knee surgery often have their leg strapped to a machine that is moving their leg in circles as if they were riding a bicycle.
Anti-inflammatory medication can be taken If the pain becomes too much to sleep at night or if it carries on for too long, but these should be taken with care because they interrupt the natural healing process and they have side effects like stomach ulcers, liver and kidney damage. Most importantly, if you are unsure about your injury it is important that you see a doctor as soon as possible.
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