Nature needs no help, just no interference
Why does an injured body part, a rolled ankle, strained shoulder, lower back injury, get hot and inflamed?
You may recall the term “homeostasis” from high school biology, if not you are forgiven. It refers to the desire your body has to maintain balance. When you are injured your body now undergoes a process to bring you back to a balanced, strong state. We call this healing. And it doesn’t always feel good, nor is it necessarily supposed to until the healing is complete.
So, what’s the deal with inflammation? It’s actually part of your body’s inbuilt healing response. The heat from inflammation is due to an increase in blood flow. Why might your body increase blood flow to an injury? Blood carries oxygen, nutrients and immune cells to the injured site and flushes out the damaged cells to make way for new, healthy ones.
Well what about pain? Pain is an unpleasant signal to reduce movement and weight bearing in the area to avoid re-injury as your body lays down scar tissue. Just like walking on fresh cement will leave damaging foot prints, over-use of an injured area causes more damage.
This understanding that the body is intelligent in its response as it strives toward health is the underlying premise of many health professions, including chiropractic. In cases of chronic inflammation and re-injury the normal process of inflammation and then resolution of that inflammation gets interfered with. This could be because of a lack of rest and therefore reinjuring that freshly laid scar tissue. Or perhaps your diet didn’t support the regeneration of new healthy cells due to lack of adequate vitamin, mineral or protein intake. Or due to a structural imbalance within the spine, more stresses were added to other joints of the body reducing your ability to adapt and heal. For one or more, of many reasons the natural course of inflammation and healing can be delayed. It’s not that your body necessarily doesn’t know what to do, living organisms have been self-healing and self-regulating for millennia, it’s that there is interference to that process.
This being the case the best way to promote health and healing in your body is to assist the complex, natural processes. This is the primary goal of chiropractic; not to tell nature what it should do, but to reduce any interference to the body coordinating what it should do by reducing the stress on the nervous system caused by spinal tension and structural shifts.