If you are consulting a chiropractor, it may be because you are experiencing inflammation in your joints. But, what is inflammation? We think of it as a bad thing. Whilst this can certainly be true, it is not always the case. Inflammation is the process your body goes through to fight things that are harming it (such as infection, injury or toxins). Damage to the cells causes a release of chemicals that trigger the immune system to respond.
An acute injury to the body can result in acute inflammation. This is an important process in the body’s attempts to repair and minimise damage. There are classic signs that can be associated with inflammation.
Loss of function/movement
Acute inflammation enables the injury to heal and protects it during this process.
Problems arise when inflammation becomes chronic. This can occur when the inflammatory process lingers or occurs in a place where it is not needed. The constant response and release of chemicals leaves the body in a state of high alert which cannot be sustained. This can lead to other signs and symptoms that can have an effect on wellbeing. More importantly it is thought to implicate in disease processes. These include autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease and cancer.
There are some signs which may seem subtle but could give a clue to the presence of chronic inflammation. These can include
Fatigue: if you are tired all the time despite having an adequate amount of sleep at night.
Aches and Pains: Ongoing daily pain may represent chronic inflammation from conditions such as arthritis
Nasal Stuffiness: can be seen in the response to allergens such as pollen
Digestive problems: chronic inflammation can cause bloating, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps or indigestion. Food allergies can be a causative factor as can inflammatory bowel conditions such as Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis.
Swollen glands: The Lymph nodes are located throughout the body and are the starting point for an inflammatory response. Enlarged glands are commonly seen in acute inflammation: you can commonly feel glands in your neck when you have a sore throat. They should reduce back down to their normal size after the acute episode has passed. Constantly swollen glands may represent chronic illness.
If you have any concerns about signs of chronic inflammation, it’s always best to seek medical advice