Inflammation is a word used in healthcare all the time. It is the cause of many diseases, and a symptom of many others.
But exactly what are we talking about when we use the word inflammation?
Inflammation can be described as a tissue response to damage, either a traumatic injury or self induced through diet.
There has been a lot of debate over what causes inflammation over the years. But in recent times it has been widely accepted that a diet containing high amounts of sugar, potatoes, and bread, will cause inflammation through out the body.
A second factor would be an injury such as a car accident or work related injury.
The signs and symptoms of inflammation are usually described in Latin. They are:
- Dolor: “pain”
- Color: “heat”
- Rubor: “redness”
- Tumor: “swelling”
- Functio laesa: “loss of function”
The next thing we need to ask our selves is “What is the best way to treat inflammation?”
A common choice will be over the counter or prescription, which may cause temporally relief.
What prescription medication will not do is eliminate the cause of inflammation. In other words, it just suppresses the symptoms. What’s more, many medications are known to cause liver damage when used long term.
So what can you use?
Natural alternatives to pharmaceuticals include white willow bark, turmeric, and ginger.
But what effect “if any” does massage therapy have on inflammation?
Inflammation and Massage Therapy
When an injury is acute (about the first 36 hours) massage is contraindicated, and should not be performed.
After that massage is the best course of action. Deep tissue massage can manually break up scar tissue, and draw oxygen rich blood to the traumatized area. The reason this is so important is because ligaments and tendons have poor blood/oxygen supply.
Oxygen encourages the body to heal or return to homeostasis.
Inflammation is a problem that we all face at some point in our life.
In a large percentage of cases inflammation can be reduced by a change in diet. If your inflammation is caused by a traumatic injury a manual therapist such as a massage therapist can be a safe, effective, and affordable strategy, to both ease your pain and speed your recovery.