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  • Writer's pictureNashville PT

What Is Inflammation?

man grabbing swollen knee

Today, we want to talk to you about something that might seem a little intimidating but is actually a fundamental aspect of your body's healing process – inflammation. It's a word that gets thrown around a lot, and we're here to clear it up for you.

What Is Inflammation, Anyway?

Inflammation is your body's way of protecting itself. Imagine it as your body's personal superheros that swoop in to save the day when you're hurt or under attack. It's a normal and vital response to injury and infection. Without it, wounds, injuries, and infections wouldn't heal.

Why Does Inflammation Happen?

When your body recognizes an injury or an invader (like bacteria) or there's been an injury to any of your tissues (like a sprain or strain), it triggers the inflammatory response. It's like sending out the alarm to your body's defense team. This response includes the release of chemicals and white blood cells that fight off the intruders as well as helping to begin the healing process.

So, What's Happening in Your Body?

Here's a simple way to understand it: think about when you get a splinter. It hurts, right? But that pain is your body's way of telling you that something's wrong. Your body then sends inflammatory cells to the area. These cells fight off any potential infection and begin repairing the damage.

The Phases of Inflammation

Inflammation typically has two main phases:

1. Acute Inflammation: This is the immediate, short-term response to an injury. It's what causes the redness, heat, swelling, and pain you might feel after a sprained ankle or a cut. It's your body's way of saying, "Hey, we need help over here!" This phase can last a few hours to a few days.

2. Chronic Inflammation: Sometimes, the inflammatory response doesn't shut off like it should, and this leads to chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is more subtle and can last for months or even years. It's often associated with conditions like arthritis or ongoing issues like heart disease.

Why Does This Matter to You?

As a physical therapy clinic, we deal with inflammation a lot. When you're recovering from an injury or surgery, your body naturally goes through these inflammatory phases. The initial inflammation, which might be a bit uncomfortable, is a crucial part of the healing process. Your body is doing its best to repair itself. We'll do our best to make sure everything is moving along and progressing as it should while you're healing.

How Can We Help?

Here at Nashville Physical Therapy & Performance, our expert therapists understand these processes inside and out. We know how to manage inflammation effectively during your recovery. By using techniques like manual therapy, specific exercises, and modalities, we can help you feel more comfortable and speed up your healing process.

Remember, inflammation is not your enemy; it's your body's natural response to healing. If you're dealing with pain, an injury, or a condition that involves inflammation, don't hesitate to reach out. We're here to help you understand your body better and ensure a smooth road to recovery.


- Heng, M. M. (2014). Inflammation: the cornerstone of cancer, mutation or repair? Mutation Research, 761, 6-19.

- Serhan, C. N., & Savill, J. (2005). Resolution of inflammation: the beginning programs the end. Nature Immunology, 6(12), 1191-1197.

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