Dr. Charlotte Anderson
MSc PT., PhD
Inflammation is how the body’s immune system responds to harmful stimuli. These stimuli can range from pathogens, damaged cells, toxic compounds, or foreign substances, and inflammation acts to remove the injurious stimuli and initiate the healing process. Inflammation can occur at any site in the body, depending on the injury/surgery/trigger. Inflammation is a defence mechanism that is vital to health.
During acute inflammatory responses (0-14 days), cellular and molecular events and interactions efficiently minimize impending injury or infection. This process contributes to the restoration of tissue homeostasis and the resolution of acute inflammation. Uncontrolled acute inflammation may become chronic, contributing to a variety of chronic inflammatory diseases. Inflammation can hence be either acute or chronic.
Uncontrolled acute inflammation may become chronic, contributing to a variety of chronic inflammatory diseases. Chronic inflammation is also referred to as slow, long-term inflammation lasting for prolonged periods of several months to years. Generally, the extent and effects of chronic inflammation vary with the cause of the injury and the ability of the body to repair and overcome the damage.
Chronic inflammation is involved in not just a few select disorders but a wide variety of very serious physical and mental health conditions. Indeed, chronic inflammatory diseases are the most significant cause of death in the world today, with more than 50 percent of all deaths being attributable to inflammation-related diseases.
Inflammation has a major impact on health, healthcare systems and quality of life. It is the trigger behind many chronic diseases and a growing burden affecting health care in Canada and across the globe. Over time, chronic inflammation can trigger your immune system to attack healthy tissue and organs in your body.
When left untreated, prolonged chronic inflammation can increase your risk for diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. Physiotherapy can help. Both in acute and chronic inflammatory conditions and in preventing inflammation from occurring.
Physiotherapists are trained in returning a body to function after injury, illness, disease, or illness. In acute inflammatory conditions, physiotherapists are trained to use different modalities, manual techniques, and treatments to reduce the inflammation and prevent inflammation from reoccurring.
Similarly, in chronic inflammatory states, a physical therapist can be an educator on the reduction of risk and lifestyle Additionally, manual treatment can be beneficial in remedying chronic inflammatory conditions as well as:
- Physical Exercise: In human clinical trials, it is shown that energy expenditure through exercise lowers multiple pro-inflammatory molecules and cytokines independently of weight loss.
- Avoiding smoking and alcohol and reducing stress levels.
- A variety of foods have anti-inflammatory properties. These include foods that are high in antioxidants and polyphenols, such as: olive oil; leafy greens, such as kale and spinach; tomatoes; fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel; nuts; fruits, especially cherries, blueberries, and oranges
- Certain supplements may help to reduce inflammation. Fish oil, lipoic acid, and curcumin are all linked to decreases inflammation associated with diseases eg. cancer and heart disease. Several spices may also help with chronic inflammation and inflammatory disease, including ginger, garlic, and cayenne.
ALPHA Health Services provides physiotherapy and supporting services. Practitioners are experienced, thorough, and knowledgeable in managing chronic and acute inflammatory conditions.