Inflammation vs Swelling
While these 2 words are often used interchangeably, “swelling” and “inflammation” are in fact two distinct terms. People have been led to believe that all inflammation and swelling is bad, the body routinely “overreacts” to injury, and we need to intervene by applying the R.I.C.E (Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation.) protocol and take anti-inflammatories.
Inflammation is a protective response from the immune system to an injury, infection, or irritation. In the case of injury, the inflammatory response includes an increase in blood flow to the area to provide in influx of fluid, proteins and white blood cells to the site of tissue damage. This is a very important step to supply the tissue with all of the nutrients and resources necessary to heal quickly. Generally, attempts to prevent or mitigate the acute inflammatory response in most cases should be avoided.
Swelling is the accumulation of fluids, cells, and other substances and waste products around the injured site following the inflammatory response. Swelling is sometimes so severe that it creates pain in the area of the injury and restricts movement of the affected part of the body. While this is common in severe injury, this can cause unnecessary pain and complications. Treatment or interventions can be taken to reduce these results and may include alternative heat/cold, kineseotape, lymphatic drainage techniques and most importantly, gentle, pain-free movement. Then, of course, schedule an appointment with your local HealthSource Chiropractor to properly rehab the injured tissue.