Information on inflammation and pain in the body or on the skin.
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What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is the process by which the body’s immune system responds to injury, infection, irritants, damaged cells, burns and other harmful stimuli. It can occur on joints, the skin or in organs. Basically, the body’s white blood cells and antibodies protect itself against foreign substances and also helps to begin healing and repairing the damage.
The body’s white blood cells release chemicals into the blood or tissues which causes warmth and redness. Swelling occurs because the chemicals have leaked fluid into the tissues and the pain is caused by the inflammation stimulating the nerves. When you sprain your ankle, the injury causes pain and swelling The pain acts as a signal to inform you that your ankle was damaged while the swelling acts as protection to prevent you from moving it.
Inflammation is typically characterized by redness, swollen joints that are warm to the touch, loss of joint function and joint pain and stiffness. Inflammation may also be associated with "flu-like" symptoms such as fever chills, headaches, loss of appetite, fatigue, low energy and muscle stiffness.
Acute inflammation is when the body initially responds to harmful stimuli by an increased movement of blood to the inflamed tissues. Chronic inflammation refers to a prolonged inflammation that is marked by simultaneous healing and destruction of the tissue.
Sometimes the body’s immune system may unintentionally trigger an inflammatory response when there are no harmful substances to fight off. If this occurs, then the body’s immune system causes damage to its own tissues resulting in diseases known as autoimmune diseases.
What Causes Inflammation?
Diseases associated with inflammation include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Tendonitis or bursitis
- Chronic inflammation
- Inflammatory bowel diseases
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Chronic prostatitis
- Autoimmune disease
- Transplant rejection
Help for Inflammation
Treatment of inflammatory conditions or diseases depends on the type of disease, severity of symptoms, medical history and overall health. There are several treatment options which include medications such as analgesics and NSAIDs (aspirin, ibuprofen) to relieve pain and reduce swelling. Other treatment options that may be recommended include heat therapy, cold therapy, traction, electrical stimulation, physical therapy, massage and acupuncture.