Cryo & inflammation
WHAT IS IT?
Inflammation is the biological process whereby the body’s white blood cells are released into the blood or tissue, and work to protect the body from any foreign substances. The release of chemicals increases the blood flow to the areas of injury or infections, which causes swelling, warmth and often pain.
The function of inflammation is to eliminate the initial cause of injury, to clear the necrotic cells and damaged tissue, and to initiate tissue repair.
Acute vs Chronic inflammation
Acute inflammation includes short term, localized effects, meaning it works at the specific place where problems exist. The signs and symptoms of acute inflammation include redness, swelling, heat, pain and occasionally a loss of functioning. During acute inflammation, chemicals known as cytokines signal the body’s immune cells, hormones and nutrients to fix the problem area. Examples of acute inflammation may include a cut, sprained ankle or even a sore throat.
Chronic inflammation can have long term and whole-body effects and according to John Hopkins Health Review can lead to the development of an array of diseases. White blood cells may swarm but have nothing to attack. They may eventually begin to attack internal organs or other healthy tissues and cells. If inflammatory cells stay within the blood vessels for too long, they promote the build-up of plaque. The body views the plaque as an unknown and foreign substance, so it works to remove the plaque from the artery walls. If the plaque becomes unstable and ruptures, a clot may form, blocking blood flow to the heart or brain, provoking a heart attack or stroke.
According to the national cancer institute, over an extended period chronic inflammation can cause DNA damage which can lead to some forms of cancer. Individuals lifestyles, habits and environment can contribute to chronic inflammation.
Therefore, it is so important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, in order to keep inflammation in check. Chronic inflammation has been linked to diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, heart disease, strokes, and digestive disorders.
Cryotherapy for inflammation
Along with a non-inflammatory diet, there are many other things that can be done to ensure inflammation within the body stays at a minimum and does not play a part in individuals’ everyday life. Numerous studies have shown that cryotherapy works to reduce both acute and chronic inflammation.
Cryotherapy works by causing the blood vessels to constrict, therefore reducing the blood flow to a particular area. Furthermore, inflammation and swelling to the site of injury is further reduced. Cryotherapy aids in temporarily reducing nerve activity, which works to reduce the pain associated with inflammation and swelling. Cryotherapy causes the release of norepinephrine, which works to reduce short-term pain from injuries.
Cryotherapy can improve acute conditions as well as chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and chronic back pain.