Inflammation occurs quite frequently in everyday life, a sports injury, a twisted ankle, a sunburn, a spider bite. Inflammation is caused by a traumatic injury to the body. This response (inflammation) is triggered when damage to living tissues have occurred1.

How inflammation works is that over a period of time the body does an appropriate amount of healing and the inflammation will generally decrease and go away. However there are certain instances when this does not happen if reinjury continues to occur (such as a repetitive motions) full healing may never occur and the inflammation will continue.

In fact according to Health Harvard research is showing that chronic inflammation may be the common factor in many diseases7.

Inflammation has five components to and can be thought of with the acronym SHARP. This stands for Swelling (tumor), Heat (calor), Altered Function (loss of function), Redness (rubor) and Pain (dolor).

The inflammatory response is a defense mechanism that evolved in higher organisms to protect them from infection and injury1. Its purpose is to localize and eliminate the injurious agent and to remove damaged tissue components so that the body can begin to heal1.

The response consists of changes in blood flow an increase in permeability of blood vessels and the migration of fluid, proteins and WBC (leukocytes) from the circulation to the site of tissue damage. An inflammatory response that lasts only a few days is called acute inflammation, while a response of longer duration is referred to as chronic inflammation.

Loss of function may result from pain that inhibits mobility or form severe swelling that prevents movement in the area1. This is very commonly seen after a motor vehicle collision where oftentimes someone can barely move or has severe pain with movement, this is due to inflammation in that area.

What are some things that can help decrease inflammation?

Oftentimes a healthcare provider will recommend ice as a way to bring down swelling, heat and to help with inflammation overall3. In conclusion, although icing disrupted inflammation and some aspects of angiogenesis/revascularization, these effects did not result in substantial differences in capillary density or muscle growth2.

A way to help decrease altered function or loss of function would be to slowly introduce proper motion and mobility as a joint moving is not painful3,6. A great example of this is could specific structural chiropractic adjustments, in fact a recent published study showed that spinal adjustments may activate the endogenous anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 in the spinal cord and thus has the potential to alleviate neuropathic & even postoperative pain4. Therefore a chiropractic adjustment can help to decrease inflammation in the spine and may help decrease pain overall which is related to dolor or P for pain.

Decreasing foods that cause inflammation can also help one heal from injury faster. The top five foods to watch out for are:

  1. Sugar
  2. Corn
  3. Wheat
  4. Soy
  5. Dairy

These increase one’s inflammatory response and can cause the body to exhibit inflammation5.


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  4. Song et al. Journal Manipulative Physiological Therapeutics. 2016 Jan;39(1):42-53.
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