Inflammation happens as part of the body’s natural healing process after an injury occurs and is an attempt at self-protection. Swelling and heat can cause a reduced range of movement and some pain for several weeks. One way to deal with painful inflammation is through an expert physiotherapist. Physios can help treat these symptoms using their experienced skills.
Some common injuries we see which produce inflammation and swelling are:
There are a number of techniques used including; heat therapy, cold therapy, electrical stimulation, traction, massage and acupuncture.
Heat therapy increases blood flow and makes connective tissue more flexible. It temporarily works to decrease joint stiffness, pain and muscle spasms whilst helping reduce inflammation and the building up of fluid in tissues. Normally, heat therapy is used to treat inflammation – including various forms of arthritis, muscle spasm, and injuries such as sprains and strains.
Cold Therapy may help numb tissues and relieve muscle spasms with the application of cold packs. This is commonly used when pain occurs due to low back pain or inflammation that has recently developed. The physiotherapist limits the time and amount of cold exposure to avoid damaging tissues and reducing body temperature causing hypothermia.
Massage and acupuncture are also techniques used at Cairnhill Physiotherapy. Acupuncture is a method used to treat pain and swelling. It’s a holistic approach we would use alongside other physiotherapy techniques. The tiny needles stimulate underlying nerves which help your body release chemicals to suppress pain and help natural healing.
Pain is sometimes beneficial to the healing process as it prevents the individual from using the injured area and further damaging it. However, with exaggerated swelling, nerves can become irritated through compression and the influx of chemicals and hormones to the area, ultimately causing more pain.
The most common home treatment is ‘RICE’, which stands for:
Rest: Rest the injury to prevent further damage.
Ice: Cold compress the joint to reduce the effect of increased blood flow, stopping further bleeding and swelling in the area.
Compression: Provide support to the damaged structures to prevent swelling.
Elevation: Lift the injury above the heart to reduce blood flow and swelling.
Contact Cairnhill Physiotherapy today to book a session with our physiotherapists.