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What is Inflammation?

Mom and son riding bikeInflammation is one part of the body’s response to injury and it involves a strong immune component. This is important in case there is a wound that has introduced a foreign body, bacteria or virus.

It is quite an amazing way for the body to deal with this type of injury. The problem however is that the inflammatory system is a somewhat ‘blunt instrument’. It can be triggered by a large number of stressors to the body, many of which do not require an immune reaction.

The inflammatory response can then become much bigger and more involved than was necessary and can create further injury as a result.

In short, the body reacts to a wide range of stressors such as toxins, trauma, infection, a dietary reaction, allergy, poor physiology (e.g. lack of motion) and new research includes psychological stress too.

Once initiated the body will release a chemical that has an effect on the local tissues and this triggers the release of a secondary chemical. This secondary chemical, again, has an effect on local tissues and triggers the release of a third chemical. This process of cause and effect is referred to as a ‘chemical cascade’ and the inflammatory response uses this process.

Ways to Reduce Inflammation


Chiropractors have a well-established reputation for helping to reduce pain very quickly. The inflammatory processes are part of this. By restoring good joint movement, helping align the posture and stimulating and reducing irritation to the nervous system, the body can restore control of the inflammatory process and allow efficient healing. Of course, inflammation can be part of pain caused by a combination of inflammation as well as nerve irritation and muscle spasm which chiropractic care can also assist quickly.

Chiropractors will identify the cause of the inflammation and help reduce it. This is essential in reducing the overall long-term damage of the injury.



Another efficient way of reducing inflammation is movement. If you know someone who has had a knee or hip replacement, immediately after the surgery they are told to stand and walk on the new joint. This is because movement of damaged tissues pumps out the chemicals of inflammation.

For this reason clients with severe pain mechanisms who have deep inflammation (too deep for the cooling effect of ice) are given cat arch exercises or hoola hoop exercises. Both these exercises move the injured area in a supported position and allow the client to work to the edge of pain. In doing so, a maximum range of motion is achieved without further aggravating the area.



A more effective way is to use ice. Ice closes down the local blood supply thus reducing the number of chemicals reaching the site. In fact ice is one of the most effective ways to reduce inflammation and has few side effects if used correctly.



Chronic inflammation of all types including IBS, lower back pain and arthritis respond well to dietary changes. This is a huge topic; for more details please email us or ask at reception for an information sheet.



One of the chemicals of inflammation is histamine. You will have heard of an anti-histamine which is a drug that halts the effect of histamine. It blocks the cascade by preventing histamine from causing the release of the next chemical in the chain, thus halting the inflammatory effect.

The effectiveness of anti-inflammatory medication has been shown to be very limited when dealing with lower back pain and sciatica. It plays no part in resolving the underlying injury or in reducing re-injury.

Chiropractic care has been shown to be highly effective in addressing and reducing inflammation. Call on 01603 764777 for help and advice.


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