The Process of Inflammation & Repair at Cellular Level & Its Implications for Sports Massage Practitioners

The Process of Inflammation & Repair at Cellular Level & Implications for Sports Massage Practitioners

Despite maintaining a well balanced body through exercise, rest and physical therapy, injuries can occur. Injuries can include injured tissue such as skin, muscles, ligaments or tendons. The bodies natural response to tissue damage is shown by inflammation, a defensive system within the body, (Tortora & Anagnostakos, 1987)
The healing process is complicated and can take several months or more to complete. Anderson & Hall – 1997, described the inflammation and repair process as “the healing of soft tissues is a three phase process involving acute response, repair, and regeneration and remodelling.”

Understanding the healing process can enable the sports massage practitioner to provide an effective treatment; encouraging and accelerating the healing process, and if treating an athlete, can allow them to return to training quickly and safely.

The 3 phases of Inflammation & Repair

The three phases are:
• Bleeding/Inflammatory phase (acute response)
• Proliferation
• Re-modelling

Figure 1. shows diagrams detailing the phases of inflammation

The bleeding/inflammatory phase

Also known as the acute phase, this is the immediate period following an injury. Signs of inflammation include redness, heat, swelling, pain and in some cases loss of function. Redness and heat are due to increased blood flow . Blood rushes to the site of inflammation so as to supply immune cells to fight the source of inflammation Explain the reason for these signs ie what causes heat etc.
Swelling is caused by a collection of fluid within a joint or area of soft tissue. It is a result of the initial bleeding caused by the trauma of injury. Pain is due to release of chemicals that stimulate nerve endings
Defensive substances, such as white blood cells called neutrophils and...