DEEP FREEZE | What is inflammation and how to treat it

Many of us have, at some stage, experienced pain and inflammation due to either injury, health conditions or disease. Inflammation is the body’s response to injury and/or offending agents such as viruses, bacteria or other toxic agents.  The immune system sends out its ‘first responders’ – inflammatory cells and cytokines to either go ‘fight’ or to begin  the healing process.  

There are 2 types of inflammation:

  1. Acute inflammation
    This is when the body reacts to injured or damaged tissue. The inflammatory cells sent to the injured area starts the inflammatory process and healing of tissue.
  2. Chronic inflammation
    This occurs when there is no real site of injury or offending agents but still the body keeps on sending inflammatory cells. An example of this – rheumatoid arthritis. Inflammatory cells attack joint tissue even though there is no danger or injury. This can cause severe damage to the joint tissue, pain and deformities.

Symptoms of acute inflammation, due to increased blood flow and number of cells at the injured area, include:  

  • Red skin at the site of injury
  • Pain or tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Increased temperature at the site of injury 

Chronic inflammation symptoms are harder to distinguish, but can include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Joint stiffness
  • Skin rash

Treatment options for inflammation differ greatly, depending on the cause of inflammation.

For acute inflammation, treatment normally involves the following:

  • Rest! When there is injury, healing can only happen if the injured site is not placed under any more stress.
  • Ice or cooling products such as Deep Freeze will assist with the decrease in swelling and temperature.
  • The injured site might have to be elevated to assist in the reduction of swelling.
  • Compression garments such as bandages might be needed to contain the swelling and support the injured area.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are sometimes necessary to help prevent excessive inflammation.
  • Steroids will only be given when the inflammation is life threatening.  Examples of this include allergic reactions.

Treatment of chronic inflammation is more complicated as it is often related to an underlying immune disease. However, the inflammation is often treated in the same manner as acute inflammation, just over longer periods of time.

Sore and tender areas are rested, often treated with a cooling gel such as Deep Freeze and sometimes can also require dietary changes. There are also many non-oral products available for the treatment of inflammation.

Article written by EPT – The Ultimate Sports Recovery Experts