Increasingly, we are learning more and more that inflammation is the cause of many issues within the body. Inflammation is a necessary and impressive function of the human body -- but when it’s exaggerated, extreme, or overactive it becomes problematic. With proper knowledge and tools -- like compression gear -- you can curb the body’s inflammatory response to heal properly instead of negatively affect your quality of life.
Inflammation is often framed in a negative light because of the unpleasant symptoms often associated with it. The truth is though, we need inflammation to heal properly from injury and illness. Ultimately, you don’t want to stop inflammation all together -- but rather curb unnecessary inflammation triggers and minimize uncomfortable symptoms.
Along with inflammation comes some symptoms and side effects including:
- Reduced function and/or movement
When people reference reducing inflammation, usually they mean they want to stop the symptoms of inflammation -- not completely halt the body’s response. The great thing about compression garments is that they ease symptoms -- swelling, redness, heat, pain, etc. -- without getting in the way of the body’s natural healing process.
In extreme situations, inflammation can develop into a more severe condition called sepsis. This is when inflammation isn’t successful in fighting a bacteria or viral infection. If you are experiencing extreme inflammation combined with a fever or chills, seek medical attention immediately.
As with any treatment option, please consult with your physical and health team before using compression garments to treat inflammation.
How Compression Can Ease Symptoms of Inflammation
The most prominent reason to use compression products to reduce symptoms of inflammation is its effectiveness in reducing swelling. Edema -- the medical term for swelling in the body -- can result from a wide range of stimulus -- injury, arthritis, bacterial infections, and certain diseases. Edema a critical part of the inflammatory response as it helps to bring more fluid -- more oxygen and nutrients -- to the affected area.
While edema is one way the body works to heal itself, it can also cause pain, discomfort, and limited mobility in the affected areas. Reducing swelling can help ease the pain and discomfort of an injury, illness, arthritis, or other inflammation.
Compression has been shown through multiple studies to be effective in reducing swelling to treated areas. Compression garments like ankle sleeves, knee supports, should supports, socks, and arm sleeves can help increase circulation and flow of fluids to an inflamed area. The compression can help fluids move freely rather than collect around an injury or infection.
Keeps the body warm.
Heat helps to facilitate circulation and helps to keep connective tissue more flexible. When used as a treatment for inflammation, it can help speed healing and reduce uncomfortable or painful symptoms.
Compression garments help to hold in the body’s own heat to keep muscles and connective tissue warm. When used during physical activity, the compression garments’ ability to harness the body’s heat is even more effective -- since the body is producing more heat during those times.
When recovering from an injury, using a compression product as part of your exercise routine could prove helpful. You’re likely to experience less swelling, more flexibility, and you could recover more quickly. Regardless, compression products can help you recover more comfortably -- and that’s important to overall health.
One of the most frustrating symptoms of inflammation is when it affects mobility -- and ultimately your quality of life. Compression can help bring movement back into an inflamed area of the body and get it back on track to healing.
The increased circulation that compression can provide helps to keep oxygen and nutrients flowing to the inflamed area. Proper circulation helps to prevent the fluid collection that causes swelling and stiffness. With everything flowing through the body properly, many people find that compression garments help them maintain movement in an area that might otherwise be too swollen or stiff from inflammation.
Exercise has been shown to help reduce inflammation as well. In as little as 20 minutes today, exercise has been shown to have significant anti-inflammatory effects. Not to mention that exercise, according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, has been shown to reduce blood pressure, reduce risk of diabetes, and even lessen the risk of certain forms of cancer. When you have significant inflammation that limits your mobility, a compression garment could be the support you need to get moving again.
Alternative to NSAIDs.
A common treatment of inflammation is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs. More commonly these over-the-counter medications are known by their brand names like Tylenol (acetaminophen), Advil (Ibuprofen), and Aleve (naproxen). While these drugs are effective and mostly safe when taken as directed, they do have some unwanted side effects.
For example, Tylenol overdoses are common in the US as acetaminophen can be damaging to the liver. Ibuprofen and naproxen has been shown to cause gastrointestinal problems -- especially in long term users.
If NSAIDs users experience negative side effects or just want a drug-free alternative, compression garments could be one form of drug-free treatment. Compression garments can also serve as a supplement to regiment of over-the-counter drugs or pharmaceuticals in treating inflammation. The side effects of compression garments are minimal to none -- making it a preferable inflammation treatment for many people.
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