Pain and Inflammation

If it seems like the medical community is speaking more and more about inflammation, that’s because they are. While inflammation is important in recovering from an injury, chronic inflammation is unfavorable to the body and can be responsible for further damage to a myriad of organs and tissues.

This post will focus on defining what inflammation is and how it serves an essential role after injury. It will also outline some of the causes of chronic inflammation, followed by treatment options. In particular, we’ll tell you how Cawley Physical Therapy can offer you preventative physical therapy in NEPA so you can ward off inflammation before it becomes a real problem.

The Three Stages of Inflammation

Inflammation plays an important role in healing tissues after injury or infection. Inflammation serves as both a protective mechanism to prevent further damage to an injured area and as a deliverer of vital healing agents. Inflammation can also clean up the body by removing damaged cells and toxins.

Here are the three stages of inflammation.

Acute Inflammation

The first stage of inflammation, the acute stage, occurs after an individual is first injured. The acute stage of inflammation involves sending extra blood and fluids to the damaged area. These contain white blood cells, proteins, and other essential components involved in healing. The inflammatory response mops up toxins and damaged cells to remove them from damaged tissue.

Classic signs of the acute stage of inflammation include redness and a sense of warmth from the increased blood flow to the area, swelling from additional fluids and the blood, and pain and loss of function so that an injured individual will avoid using the area. That could lead to further damage.


Subacute is the second stage of inflammation. This is when the body uses the healing material it received in the acute stage both to repair damaged tissue and grow new tissue. During this stage, swelling and redness diminish, although bruises are likely apparent, and full range of motion has not yet been restored.


This is the last stage of inflammation. The swelling, redness, warmth, and bruising from the previous inflammation stages are no longer present. Full range of motion is restored, although a dull, achy pain is likely felt at the end of the range of a movement.

An individual may also feel a dull pain while at rest. Depending upon the type of injury, this last stage may last weeks, months, or even years.

Chronic Inflammation

Chronic inflammation can occur just about anywhere in the body. Atherosclerosis, which is characterized by inflammation of the arteries, is one such example, along with other illnesses such as arthritis, tendonitis, and bursitis.

A myriad of seemingly unrelated issues can also aggravate chronic inflammation. Emotional or physical stress can aggravate chronic inflammation, as can a poor diet that is high in carbs, processed food, and inflammatory fats such as linoleic acid.

Skin can become inflamed and irritated by chemicals and synthetic fibers, and if inhaled, chemicals can also irritate and inflame respiratory tissues. Food allergies, digestive issues, hormonal imbalances, and insulin resistance can contribute to chronic inflammation.

Reducing Inflammation

Initially, patients may find relief from the pain caused by inflammation by using NSAIDs or acetaminophen. However, it’s not uncommon for chronic inflammation sufferers to want to find more effective treatments to manage or even eliminate their inflammation for good.

A healthier diet that includes fish or fish oils, eggs, and other supplements such as honey, bromelain, or methylsulfonylmethane can play an essential role in reducing inflammation for some people.

Exercise can also help to reduce inflammation by increasing the range of motion, increasing blood flow to inflamed areas, and strengthening muscles to provide support for adjacent inflamed tissues. Some patients have reported that acupuncture treatments can help with their pain, as well.

Lastly, physical therapy treatments such as traction, muscle stretching and strengthening, and learning how to sit, stand, and walk properly can help inflammation sufferers avoid aggravating irritated and inflamed areas. In turn, that helps the body to heal. For instance, if you suffer from chronic knee pain, you may be surprised to learn the ways that physical therapy can help.

Cawley Physical Therapy Can Help with Your Inflammation

If you’d like to know more about how physical therapy can help with inflammation, please contact Cawley Physical Therapy today. We will set you up with a physical therapist in NEPA who will evaluate your condition and develop a plan just for you.

The right kinds of exercises can prevent or reduce inflammation in your body. All it takes is a simple phone call. You can reach us at 570-208-2787 or email us at