You experience inflammation when physical factors trigger an immune response from your body. It’s your body’s natural defense mechanism against stress or intruders, but you don’t want to deal with painful inflammation in your joints after a bike ride or after weeding the garden. Sometimes mild physical stress can trigger an inflammatory response, and that can be uncomfortable and lead you to be less active, which isn’t ideal.
However, if you work to control inflammation caused by physical stress, you can limit or eliminate pain and keep your body yearning for activity. In today’s blog, we share four ways that you can work to limit inflammation caused by physical stress and movement.
How To Reduce Inflammation
There are a number of small adjustments you can make after a workout or physical activity if you want to get out in front of inflammation or work to control any that has set in. Here’s how our team recommends that you work to control inflammation.
- Stretch – Stretching after a workout helps your muscles, ligaments and even your cells relax. Following intense physical activity, your body is stressed and tense. Stretching helps to relax muscles and draw healthy blood to areas, suggesting to your body and your cells that an inflammatory response to the stress isn’t necessary. Take a couple minutes before a workout to prepare your muscles for activity and take a couple minutes afterwards to help them come down from the stress that you just put on them.
- Hydrate – Another super simple measure you can take to combat inflammation following stressful physical activity is to hydrate. Our cells function optimally when they are hydrated, and they work to repair themselves and carry out other essential functions that suggest to our body that a major inflammatory reaction isn’t necessary. If we’re dehydrated, our bodies can’t activate their repair processes as efficiently. Drink plenty of water after a workout, but also make it a point to stay hydrated throughout the day even if you’re not working up a sweat. Take your weight, cut it in half and strive to drink that many ounces of water each day.
- Physical Therapy – Physical therapy is arguably the best way to reduce inflammation on a long-term basis. If your body is chronically inflamed after activity or a workout, it could be a sign that there’s an issue that needs to be corrected. Perhaps your gait is putting excessive stress on your knees when you run, or maybe muscular imbalances are causing one area to handle more pressure than others, which results in an inflammatory response. Your physical therapist can look for deficiencies or other factors that may be contributing to your inflammation, and they can set you up with individualized treatment techniques to help prevent and treat inflammation.
- Controlled Exercise – Since physical activity can trigger an inflammatory response, it may sound odd that we’re recommending exercise as a treatment technique, but exercise can be exactly what you need to regain control over your inflammation. Carefully strengthening your body and stabilizing key structures can allow them to better handle stress. If areas of your body can safely handle more stress, it’s less likely that stress will elicit an inflammatory response from your body. If you’re afraid that exercise and activity will cause an inflammatory response while you’re trying to make your body stronger, opt for limited weight bearing exercises or activities that aren’t as physically demanding, like swimming, cycling or yoga instead of running or weightlifting.
And if you want professional help overcoming your inflammation or getting to the bottom of your discomfort, reach out to the team of physical therapists at OrthoRehab Specialists today.