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Health & Medical UnderGround >> Swelling is bad? Why?


12/18/07 10:30 PM
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jkd_guy
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Edited: 18-Dec-07
Member Since: 01/01/2001
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Here is my understanding of an injury (sprain, twisted ankle, etc) Blood rushes to the area, and the area swells. The blood is there to start the healing process. Now, if this is true, then why do people recommend icing the area after an injury, or taking a NSAID, or compression, etc ? The common recommendation is, RICE first, then heat after 48 hours to get the blood flowing there to help heal it. If the blood going there is good, then why dont we try to increase the swelling, like heating the injury right away? I do know that prolonged swelling (swelling for weeks) is bad, Im not referring to that. Thanks
12/19/07 4:12 AM
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Bolo
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Edited: 19-Dec-07
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In all the years of BJJ I've done, I've injured every part of my body. I stopped icing long time ago because I never felt and difference in healing time when I compared the times I did ice versus the times I did not. My opinion is that swelling causes pressure to be put on the nerves in the area which increases the discomfort. People put ice to decrease the pressure and numb the nerves so it doesn't hurt as much. I don't feel that ice serves much purpose besides that. I felt that swelling was a natural reaction of the body towards injury and had a purpose.
12/22/07 11:11 AM
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jkd_guy
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Edited: 22-Dec-07
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Interesting...
12/23/07 4:52 PM
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PeterIrl
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Edited: 23-Dec-07
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My understanding is that if you've just damaged a muscle/joint etc, you don't want a lot of blood rushing in there straight away, causing greater loss of mobility and more damage(like in the case of pulled muscles etc..)
12/30/07 11:29 PM
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Jove
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Edited: 30-Dec-07
Member Since: 09/17/2003
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If tissue is damaged, blood vessels also are damaged , so blood and fluid leak out of the damaged vessels, torn tissue, and pools up, stagnated, in the area. That's what turns all the pretty shades of purple, blue, and green in a few days. Since the leaked-out blood is stagnant (not circulating) then it is not helpful, and indeed it prevents fresh blood from circulating into and out of the area. So the ice decreases the leakage and pooling-up (stagnation) of blood from the damaged vessels. Blood circulation is helpful, but fluid collection & stagnation (swelling) not. That's just my guess, not to be taken as fact....
1/1/08 8:47 PM
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HELWIG
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Edited: 01-Jan-08
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I think the general consensus is that the body's swelling process now in the face of modern medicine is considered to be excessive.

People now generally KNOW theyre injured and will stay off of it as much as they can. Having an immobile limb thats swollen and more painful than necessary doesnt do you any good.

This would seem to be the opposite of the idea behind prolotherapy though which some people have been touting as a legit treatment. AKA sclerotherapy I believe.
1/2/08 12:22 AM
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PeterIrl
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Edited: 02-Jan-08
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Damn you and your big words... and also those smaller, hard to pronounce words!!! :-)
1/2/08 12:30 AM
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jkd_guy
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Edited: 02-Jan-08
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>"This would seem to be the opposite of the idea behind prolotherapy though which some people have been touting as a legit treatment" Im not sure if thats entirely accurate. Yes prolotherapy wants blood there, but thats normal. Normal thinking is: ice for 24-48 hours to minimize swelling, then heat to get the blood flowing there. Prolotherapy is used to get even more blood there, so that the tendons/ligaments, which dont usually receive that much blood, will get enough.
1/2/08 1:18 PM
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HELWIG
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Edited: 02-Jan-08
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So prolo is more about getting the blood to places with poor blood supply than simply having the same area go through the process of swelling again?
1/2/08 1:48 PM
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jkd_guy
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Edited: 02-Jan-08
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Well, swelling is a by product of blood going there...isnt it? So its the same thing. But thats my original question...if blood going to the hurt area is good (and we know it is, since common thinking all says to heat the area after a few days) then why minimize swelling. But it makes sense that swelling is also 'bad' fluids, and not just blood, so thats why you want to minimize it.
1/2/08 9:10 PM
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JRSFITNESS1
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Edited: 02-Jan-08
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It's important to note that there are three stages of healing, and inflammation is the first stage. Inflammation is a very necessary process and appropriate response in the acute phase of an injury. In the initial stages of an injury inflammation is a chemical message for a few different processes to begin. When tissues are injured and they bleed something needs to be done to control the bleeding...that something is clotting. The very initial stages of inflammation aid in the clotting process to control blood loss and begin to form a barrier to the environment in the case of open wounds to aid in preventing infection. If not for inflammation we could bleed to death from a bloody nose. Next the chemical message changes and inflammation signals the body to have specific cells migrate to the site to aid in the immune respone, producing new tissue to replace damaged tissue, and making changes is vascular tissue as healing begins. Without inflammation the body would never get the signal to begin the healing process to damaged tissue. So, that's the good things about swelling, now the problem(s). The body is not well suited to know how to regulate the inflammatory response. If there is inflammation present then the body cannot progress to the last two stages of healing. So, even when it may be time for the body to progress to the next stage of healing it can still spend a prolonged time in the inflamation stage. Also, within these tissues are nerves that are sensitive to pressure. When the pressure increases the nerves respond by sending a pain signal to the brain, so, inflammation hurts. Best in Health and Training, J. R.
1/4/08 2:43 AM
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JasonE
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Edited: 04-Jan-08
Member Since: 12/28/2007
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In general, RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) is the standard approach to acute injury care. It's designed to minimize the initial inflammation by reducing blood flow to the area. This is supposed to speed the healing process. Aaron Mattes, creator of Active Isolated Stretching (AIS), recommends working the injured area immediately if tears and breaks are not indicated. He has worked with many professional athletes injured in competition, only to have them return to competition the next day. Movement is the body's way of flushing the tissues, as the pumping action of skeletal muscle helps facilitate venous return and lymphatic flow. AIS uses this to advantage, seeking to minimize inflammation by facilitating removal of fluids as quickly as they accumulate. That said, I haven't had an opportunity to apply it to an acute injury of my own yet, so I have to go by what more experienced AIS practitioners have shared with me. Jason Erickson www.CSTMinnesota.com

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