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Fighting Inflammation with PT

May 21, 2023

Fighting Inflammation with PT


Chronic inflammation causes muscle loss and mobility limitations, including the frailty syndrome in older adults, which can lead to a myriad of other problems, including death.


Physical activity is a powerful countermeasure to combat chronic inflammation and its deleterious effects in older adults.


To recap, there are two types of inflammation:

  • Acute inflammation: The response to sudden body damage, such as cutting your finger, or hitting your knee against something. To heal tissue damage, your body sends inflammatory cells and fluids to the injury site. There may be pain, redness and swelling at the injury site, but healing takes place over time and inflammation subsides.
  • Chronic inflammation: With chronic inflammation, your body continues the inflammatory response, even though the acute danger has passed. Chronic inflammation can be caused by an auto-immune condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis, or chronic stress, obesity, or exposure to toxins. It's thought that this chronic state of inflammation can lead to numerous health problems, including heart disease, arthritis, depression, Alzheimer's disease, and even cancer.


Physical activity is a powerful anti-inflammatory tool that physical therapists use not only to fight chronic inflammation but also to combat the production of proinflammatory cytokines. These are the chemicals your body produces that keep the inflammation in your body going.


Physical therapists play a crucial role in reducing or eliminating inflammation by changing the load or stress on a tissue through various techniques that improve motion. By addressing the underlying biomechanics and movement patterns, physical therapists can help alleviate inflammation and promote healing. Some of the strategies employed by physical therapists include:


Manual therapy: Physical therapists use hands-on techniques, such as joint mobilization, soft tissue mobilization, and massage, to help improve joint mobility and tissue flexibility. These techniques can help reduce excessive stress on the injured tissue, decrease pain, and promote optimal movement patterns.


Therapeutic exercises: Physical therapists prescribe specific exercises to strengthen weak or imbalanced muscles, improve joint mobility, and increase overall flexibility. By addressing muscular imbalances and movement dysfunction, these exercises can help distribute load more evenly across the tissues, reducing the stress on the inflamed area and supporting the healing process.


Gait and movement analysis: Physical therapists analyze the way patients walk, run, or perform other functional movements to identify and correct abnormal movement patterns that may contribute to inflammation. By adjusting posture, foot placement, and other biomechanical factors, therapists can help reduce the load on injured tissues and promote more efficient movement.


Education and activity modification: Physical therapists educate patients about their condition and provide guidance on how to modify daily activities and exercise routines to reduce stress on the injured area. This may include suggesting ergonomic adjustments, proper lifting techniques, or alternative exercises that place less strain on the affected tissue.


By combining these strategies, physical therapists can effectively reduce or eliminate inflammation by changing the load or stress on the injured tissue and improving overall joint mobility and function. This approach not only helps alleviate symptoms but also addresses the underlying biomechanical issues that may have contributed to the inflammation in the first place, promoting long-term joint health and preventing further injury and inflammation.


Our RESOURCES web page has some great resources to on painful conditions that might be contributing to inflammation: Resources | Superior Physical Therapy (thesuperiortherapy.com)


Check out these simple stretches to help reduce back and hip pain and get started reducing inflammation today!


Click here:  Hip Flexor Stretch Exercise Works Quickly to Relieve Your Pain - YouTube

Or watch it below:


Also check out these foods that fight inflammation: Foods that fight inflammation - Harvard Health


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