Inflammation and Pain
Inflammation increases sensitivity and that’s a great thing!
Inflammation is a primitive form of defense that is essential to the tissue repair process. Think of the swelling, redness and pain after injury as part of your own internal repair system and be grateful and even proud of it.
This really is fantastic. Imagine if automobiles could do this and repair themselves—a swollen fender from a minor accident and in a few days the fender is fine!
Let’s use a cut finger as an example. There is lots of stuff happening and it is all about repair.
- Blood vessels may be damaged and small nerve endings stretched.
- Small cells (which normally just hang around waiting for trouble) release histamine which makes blood vessels release plasma, which in turn causes more swelling.
- This process releases white blood cells and delivers cells that mop up the mess in the area and, since the skin is broken, fights any bacteria present.
- These mopping up cells are called phagocytes and macrophages. Cells that help scabs form and create scar tissue are also activated. Damaged nerves may also release chemicals that aid the process.
All of this stuff is called “inflammatory soup”.
Inflammatory soup activates danger sensors and this increased sensitivity further protects the injured tissue.
Inflammation also makes joints stiff in the morning, produces sharp pains, redness and warmth. The swelling, which is the most obvious part of inflammation and which worries so many people, is just a by-product of the need to get blood and healing chemicals into the area.