If there is continuous assault on your body, there can be a continuous inflammatory response. Think of something piercing your skin. As long as it’s there, it’s likely your body will continue to fight it with inflammation. Or if you’re constantly exposed to a personal allergen (environmental, food, etc.), that can also happen.
The same premise applies to what can be called mechanical problems (most orthopedic problems). When a joint is not moving well, it can produce inflammation as a primary response, or there can be inflammation secondarily. Same goes if a nerve is not moving well. I don’t typically see tight or injured muscles directly causing long-standing inflammation, but they could secondarily.
The crux of the matter is: you can treat the inflammation or you can treat the source. Sometimes you’ll want to do both, but unless there’s a strong argument to do so, I prefer focusing time and energy on the cause. It can take work sometimes to find the source considering all the facets of the human body, but there is a reason someone has never-ending inflammation - and it’s usually fixable. When it comes to the musculoskeletal system, it’s usually joints not moving well, which we address with specific movement. -- Laura
Inflammation is rarely the main cause of complaints. And before any symptoms are addressed with pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories or injections, a quality clinical exam must be performed. Typically a mechanical problem will be found - which is treated with targeted movement. While inflammation may indeed be present, it almost always resolves once the real mechanical cause is resolved. Inflammation is usually therefore a symptom (not a cause).
If a patient does not respond to mechanical care, chemical (anti-inflammatory) care may be indicated. I have suggested anti-inflammatory measures in just 4-5 patients in the past couple years. So if your knee keeps swelling, for example, the question is why. A joint disturbance (derangement) can easily cause consistent inflammation. So can any number of problems.
I clearly remember one patient years ago who had years of knee pain with episodes of swelling that got so bad she had it drained many times. An avid runner, she was sidelined. The issue was coming from her low back and after 5 visits of different movements, her knee was good to go. Once her muscles had their electricity restored in the spine they could control to the knee so it didn’t reactively hurt and swell. -- Laura
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