Think about the last time you found yourself battling a stubborn cold, experiencing an allergic reaction, or getting a sudden paper cut. You likely experienced some pain, redness and swelling in addition to your initial symptoms, which are signs of inflammation. This temporary inflammation occurs when your immune system activates to fight off things like viruses, bacteria, and physical damage. Activation of your immune system is how the healing process starts.
While inflammatory cells typically help heal the body and fight infection, they can also cause many issues if they start firing off on healthy cells and connective tissues. In this post, we will explore what happens when inflammation becomes a chronic condition and how to manage it to improve your overall health and wellness.
Types of Inflammation
The body experiences two types of inflammation: acute inflammation and chronic inflammation. To understand when inflammation can be troubling, let’s dive into the difference between the two:
- Acute inflammation is what happens when your body experiences a trauma, whether it’s a sudden onset of a virus or a scrape from a fall. The immune system sends out inflammatory cells to start the healing process and fight off what is causing symptoms and pain.
- Chronic inflammation occurs when your immune system starts sending out inflammatory cells, even when there are no signs of viruses or injuries to heal. The inflammatory cells will start attacking healthy tissues, which can cause chronic pain, swelling, and even permanent damage in affected areas of the body.
What Is Inflammation and How to Recognize It
At the first sign of trouble, your immune system sends out inflammatory cells as a defence mechanism, which is what kickstarts the healing process; however, inflammation can become an issue if your body keeps sending inflammatory cells after an infection or injury has fully healed. If inflammatory cells have no harmful agents to fight off, they will start attacking healthy cells and muscle tissues.
Here is how to recognize whether you could be experiencing acute or chronic inflammation:
Acute inflammation is temporary and a normal body reaction. Symptoms of acute inflammation can range from pain and swelling to redness, and heat around affected areas, which subside once the body has healed.
Common symptoms of chronic inflammation include fever, fatigue, abdominal pain, chest pain, stiff joints, muscle tension, and skin conditions. Chronic inflammation is associated with many serious health conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, cancer, and other auto-immune disorders.
Inflammation is also caused by certain lifestyle factors, such as excess alcohol consumption, severe stress, too much or too little exercise, and more. It’s helpful to understand how you can manage inflammation symptoms naturally and with medical professionals’ help.
How to Manage Inflammation
At Urban Massage and Wellness, we are committed to our client’s health and wellness, which is why we are sharing ten tips on how to manage inflammation so you can move through life with ease and peace of mind.
1. Book a massage at St. Albert’s best massage therapy clinic.
Our licensed massage therapists at Urban Massage and Wellness can use a variety of massage techniques to relieve symptoms of inflammation, which can lead to reduced pain, improved range of motion, and improved circulation. For example, a deep tissue massage applied with moderate pressure could help ease muscle tension.
2. Try lymphatic drainage massage for chronic pain.
If you suffer from inflammation due to fibromyalgia, your massage therapist might suggest a manual lymphatic drainage massage. This technique uses a light amount of applied pressure and directional movements to various parts of the body where the lymphatic system can be accessed.
3. Consider changing your diet.
If you eat a lot of processed foods, refined carbohydrates, or cured meats, making mindful adjustments to your diet can help combat inflammation. Some anti-inflammatory foods include organic fruits & vegetables, grass-fed beef, soy free poultry, nutrient dense bone broth, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats such as grass-fed butter & pure olive oil.
4. Drink less alcohol and more water.
Drinking more than a few ounces of alcohol throughout the week can increase your risk of developing chronic inflammation due to excess sugar intake, extra calories, and dehydration. Consider limiting your alcohol intake to keep inflammation at bay and drinking lots of water to keep your body hydrated. We recommend adding a small pinch of high quality sea salt to your water to increase electrolytes.
5. Take care of your body.
Fuel your body with water, anti-inflammatory foods, and regular exercise. Moving your body for as little as 20 minutes each day can help keep your muscles, joints, and bones healthy while boosting your metabolism, immune system, and mental health.
6. Do what you can to stress less.
When you are experiencing high levels of stress, your body is in survival mode, which can be a trigger for auto-immune disease. Try to lower stress levels by practicing mindfulness exercises like meditation, journaling, or therapy. Going for a regular massage can also help reduce anxiety and stress by giving your mind and body time to relax.
7. Kick unhealthy habits.
We have mentioned limiting your alcohol intake, but we also recommend quitting smoking to reduce your risk of developing chronic inflammation due to the harmful ingredients in cigarettes.
8. Ask your doctor for medical advice.
While the benefits of massage focus on relieving muscle tension, joint pain, and stress-related symptoms, we always recommend consulting with a physician first if you have been experiencing prolonged symptoms of chronic inflammation to rule out any auto-immune diseases or other medical diagnoses.
9. Manage inflammation with Red Light Therapy.
Over-the-counter medications tend to mask symptoms rather than address the root causes of pain and inflammation. PhotoBioModulation, AKA Red Light Therapy, delivers near infrared light deep into the body’s tissues to optimize cell function. This action releases nitric oxide which relaxes the inner muscles of the cell increasing blood flow and reducing blood pressure leading to reduced pain and inflammation in the body.
10. Boost your vitamin intake.
There are plenty of natural supplements that have been known to reduce inflammation, including vitamins A, C, and D, as well as spices like ginger, turmeric, and garlic. We recommend talking to your natural health practitioner about what would work best and be safe for your body.
Manage Inflammation with Massage in St. Albert
Inflammatory conditions can feel daunting to manage, which is why our team at Urban Massage and Wellness is here to help you improve your overall health with massage therapy. Book your next massage in St. Albert online today to start managing your inflammatory symptoms.