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What Is Inflammation?

When you think of arthritis, you think of inflammation. Inflammation is a process in which the body’s white blood cells and chemicals help protect us from infection and foreign substances such as bacteria and viruses.

When tissue is injured, the body’s defense system (immune system) triggers an inflammatory response when there are no foreign substances to fight off. In these cases, the body’s normally protective immune system causes damage to its own tissues.

The most common form of arthritis called osteoarthritis (also known as degenerative arthritis) is a bit of a misnomer. It is not believed that inflammation plays a major role in osteoarthritis. Other painful conditions of the joints and musculoskeletal system that are not associated with inflammation include fibromyalgia, muscular low back pain, and muscular neck pain.

What Are the Symptoms of Inflammation?

The symptoms of inflammation include:

  • Redness
  • Swollen joint that’s tender and warm to the touch
  • Joint pain
  • Joint stiffness
  • Loss of joint function

Often, only a few of these symptoms are present.

Inflammation may also be associated with general “flu”-like symptoms including:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Fatigue/loss of energy
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle stiffness

What Causes the Symptoms of Inflammation?

When inflammation occurs, chemicals from the body are released into the blood or affected tissues. This release of chemicals increases the blood flow to the area of injury or infection and may result in redness and warmth. Some of the chemicals cause a leak of fluid into the tissues, resulting in swelling. This process may stimulate nerves and causes pain.

What Are the Results of Joint Inflammation?

Increased blood flow and release of these chemicals attract white blood cells to the sites of inflammation. The increased number of cells and inflammatory substances within the joint can cause irritation, wearing down of cartilage (cushions at the end of bones), and swelling of the joint lining (synovium).

How Does Inflammation Affect My Recovery?

Tissue is damaged when there is a trauma to the back or neck. Trauma can be anything from an automobile accident to just lifting something wrong. The body begins by causing the muscles to tighten up, to help splint the damaged area. The body then starts to bring in fluid to further splint the area. In order for the damaged tissue to heal and restore the normal motion of the joints, the body must “clean up” the fluid and chemicals released into the area. This takes time.

How Does Chiropractic Help This Process?

Chiropractors work to gently restore the proper motion and alignment to the joints in the spine. When the joints are aligned, the body will be able to heal properly and more efficiently. Dr. Steven Pierce, a Jacksonville, Texas, Chiropractor has been providing gentle Chiropractic care for the treatment of injuries to the back and neck for 29 years. Call today. We are here to help.