CSA Physio Blog

Inflammation: The Upside (and Downside)

Posted on: September 15th, 2019 by Lindsay Walker


Inflammation hurts!

The Upside, and the Downside of Inflammation

An upside to inflammation? You might be thinking: “There’s an upside?  Isn’t inflammation bad?” We use ice to stop the inflammation in a sprained joint; we constantly hear about how inflammation can cause diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, even cancer; and there are foods that are better for you because they are considered “anti-flammatory”.

First of all, what is inflammation?  Basically it’s the body’s response to tissue injury.  The immune system is signaled to help heal damaged tissue, or fight against something foreign.


Think of when you jam your finger, roll your ankle, or even get a small cut.  The area gets red, maybe a little puffy.  This is the body sending good stuff to the area to help it heal.  We WANT this acute inflammation (short term) to happen!

How about when you work the deltoids with those lateral raises, or those quads by doing squats? Your muscle tissue breaks down, and the body initiates the same response.  We also want this inflammation to occur!  In this instance, the end result is even better, because the muscle tissues builds up and gets stronger.

 In essence, we NEED inflammation!


Chronic inflammation is what we want to avoid.  Imagine continually injuring that ankle.  The immune system would be constantly trying to repair the damage.  This happens with auto-immune diseases, as well as long term exposure to some aspects of the environment (ie pollution).  What happens to your body with chronic inflammation?  Put simply, healthy tissues can start to break down.  Worst case – this can also affect your DNA.

Did you also know chronic inflammation may result from poor movement habits and shortened muscles?  Over time, these unhealthy postures and tight muscles can cause pressure on spinal nerves.  This affects the muscles they supply, and onward with this cycle of inflammation.  And what is physiotherapy, if not correcting poor movement habits and shortened muscles?


Let acute inflammation run its course, in a controlled manner.  This means icing a swollen knee, applying compression to a sprained ankle, and resting. You can also take over the counter anti-inflammatories if necessary.  A healthy immune system will take care of the rest.

Controlling chronic inflammation can be as easy as adding or eliminating foods from your diet.  Also managing stress, exercising, and doing things that make you happy can help!  GunnIMS is also a very effective form of physiotherapy treatment which can help change chronic inflammation.

Talk to your physiotherapist about specific inflammatory concerns!  We are always happy to help.  In fact, that’s what I do best.

South Edmonton

10947 – 23 Avenue
Edmonton , AB
T6J 7B9

Tel: 780-988-5803
Fax: 780-988-5804

Email: CSASouth@lifemark.ca

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St. Albert, AB
T8N 1B4

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Edmonton, AB
T6H 0K4

Tel: 780-989-9789
Fax: 780-989-9788

Email: CSA51Avenue@lifemark.ca

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