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A popular topic in health and wellness the past few years is inflammation and how to control it. First off, what is inflammation? Inflammation is a naturally occurring response of body tissues after they are injured. The fundamental signs of inflammation are:
• Loss of function
• Recurrence of acute inflammation
Acute inflammation is necessary after injury as it is the body’s method of preventing further injury to the area and jump starting the healing process. We need inflammation within the body to heal tissues. However, too much inflammation can become a problem. This is where familiar procedures such as the P.R.I.C.E. protocol are valuable.
• P – protect the area from further injury (stopping exercise, sport, or using crutches or a brace)
• R – rest , allowing an injury time to recover is vital – rehab exercises can be started fairly soon after an injury so this isn’t complete rest, only rest from activities or motions that may further damage the area
• I – ice is to help manage the swelling and pain (we need some swelling, this provides increased circulation which contain cells that repair damaged tissue, if this is decreased too much with ice then the healing process can be delayed)
• C – compression aides in controlling the swelling (use an ACE or other elastic bandage)
• E – elevate injured area at or above the level of your heart to help minimize swelling
The P.R.I.C.E. protocol is most effective when performed off and on for about 48-72 hours after the initial injury. A cycle would be about 15 minutes on and then off for an hour and repeating 3-4 times per day. This allows the healing process to continue without too much delay.
Just doing the P.R.I.C.E. protocol properly at the early injury stage can avoid further damage, prolonged healing process and chronic inflammation.
In some cases, recurring injury, overuse, or with a poorly healing injury, chronic inflammation can occur. Chronic inflammation can create issues with scar tissue, adhesions, and conditions such as tendonitis or bursitis. Some things that help chronic inflammation and injury are:
• Active Release Technique – breaks down scar tissue and adhesions and increases functions
• Passive Modalities – decrease levels of pain with therapies such as ultrasound and e-stim and accelerate healing with cold-laser
• Corrective Exercises – fix any imbalances that are occurring in the body
• Healthy Life Style – get rid of bad habits like smoking and poor diet, and if you have diabetes keep your blood sugar in balance, these can make complications with chronic inflammation much worse
• Anti-Inflammatory Foods such as cruciferous vegetables, (broccoli and cauliflower), fatty fish (salmon), spices (turmeric, ginger and garlic), berries (blueberries, cranberries), nuts (walnuts, almonds), and olive oil will help decrease inflammation throughout the body
The Inflammation process is designed to help you heal. Don’t let inflammation work against you. If you have an ongoing problem with it, make sure to contact your health care provider.
Written by Dr. Chandler Turnipseed – Johns Creek Chiropractor