Inflammation and Therapies

Inflammation is the body's attempt at self-protection; the aim being to remove harmful stimuli, including damaged cells, irritants, or pathogens - and begin the healing process. In Inflammation the body's white blood cells and substances they produce protect us from infection with foreign organisms, such as bacteria and viruses. However, in some diseases, like arthritis, the body's defense system, the immune system triggers an inflammatory response when there are no foreign invaders to fight off. In these diseases, called autoimmune diseases, the body's normally protective immune system causes damage to its own tissues.

Therapies

Inflammation Therapy is a treatment for chronic disease involving a combination of lifestyle factors and medications designed to enable the immune system to fight the disease. Techniques used include heat therapy, cold therapy, electrical stimulation, traction, massage, and acupuncture. Heat increases blood flow and makes connective tissue more flexible. It temporarily decreases joint stiffness, pain, and muscle spasms. Heat also helps reduce inflammation and the buildup of fluid in tissues (edema). Heat therapy is used to treat inflammation (including various forms of arthritis), muscle spasm, and injuries such as sprains and strains. Cold therapy Applying cold may help numb tissues and relieve muscle spasms, pain due to injuries, and low back pain or inflammation that has recently developed. Cold may be applied using an ice bag, a cold pack, or fluids (such as ethyl chloride) that cool by evaporation. The therapist limits the time and amount of cold exposure to avoid damaging tissues and reducing body temperature (causing hypothermia). Cold is not applied to tissues with a reduced blood supply (for example, when the arteries are narrowed by peripheral arterial disease).

 

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