Inflammation – Friend ?
Ice and anti inflammatories such as Ibuprofen are the typical go to first aid treatments for acute injury ( severe with sudden onset ) and joint inflammation. However, it is important to remember that inflammation is a natural and very necessary product of the bodies self healing mechanism. The inflammatory process involves a very complex chain of events. Put simply it brings cells to the damaged tissue to repair it, followed by others to clear away unwanted debris. An extremely clever process.
One of the underlying principles of Osteopathy that Osteopaths base their treatment on, is that the body has it’s own self healing mechanisms in a quest to repair itself.
“ The body has it’s own medicine chest “ – A. T. Still, the founder of Osteopathy.
Inflammation is a great example of the bodies ability to self repair. So why do we try and stop the process by taking anti inflammatories ?
Inflammation – Foe?
Whilst inflammation is a natural process required for self healing, in certain situations it can cause problems.
Excessive inflammation around a joint following injury, such as a sprained knee, takes up space within the joint preventing movement and causing pain to structures it is compressing. Likewise, an injury to the joints of the neck or back can cause inflammation that can become a chemical irritant to the nerve root exiting that joint. This can further cause pain into your arm or leg associated with the nerve it is irritating. Another example of unwanted inflammation is Inflammatory arthritis, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis. This is one of many autoimmune joint disorders, where the body attacks it’s own tissues, and inflammation can be very destructive to the joints.
So how can Osteopaths Help?
Osteopaths can assess how much inflammation there is and whether it is appropriate by asking the right questions and examining the relevant joints. They can then use gentle techniques to help support the inflammatory process or dissipate the inflammation if required. We find Acupuncture very helpful in reducing inflammation. Advice on ice, heat and anti inflammatory medication will also be given as well as exercises to enhance treatment outcome.
Look out for our next post on treating ankle ligament sprains. Here we provide a more specific example of how Osteopaths at The Monkton Farleigh Osteopathic Practice support the inflammatory process with their treatment techniques promoting faster and effective healing.
Thanks to Professor Tim Watson, whose lectures have helped our understanding of optimising tissue repair.