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What Is Involved in the Treatment of Inflammation?

By Patti Kate
Updated May 17, 2024
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The treatment of inflammation may depend upon several factors, including the cause of inflammation and the patient's medical history. Although some cases of inflammation may respond well to the use of Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), some people cannot tolerate these medications and may require alternate treatment. Chronic inflammation caused by arthritis or tendinitis may be treated with ice, heat, massage or physical therapy. Restricting physical activities may be recommended for patients until inflammation has subsided. In some cases, modifying one's diet can also relieve inflammation of painful conditions such as gout.

Inflammation is generally a response to injury or disease, and the primary symptoms are redness and tenderness. The affected area may also become swollen, painful or in some cases, immobile. Before treatment of inflammation is prescribed by a physician, a proper diagnosis is usually necessary.

There are different methods of treatment for inflammation, depending upon the condition or injury that has caused it. For instance, inflammation due to gout may be reduced through dietary changes and limiting the consumption of alcoholic beverages. The patient may be advised to avoid eating foods known to worsen the pain and inflammation, and to help reduce levels of uric acid in the body.

While ice may be recommended for acute inflammation of a joint, treatment of inflammation due to an abscessed tooth may be quite different. In such a case, oral surgery or antibiotic therapy may be necessary. Inflammation of the throat due to a viral infection may respond to a different method, such as increased fluid intake or the use of an antiseptic solution. Treatment of inflammation surrounding the heart may involve the use of medications or antibiotics.

When inflammation is caused by over-usage of a muscle or tendon, a physician may prescribe NSAIDs. Treatment of inflammation with NSAIDs may reduce the pain and swelling, although this may not be an option for some. Anti-inflammatory medications may not be recommended for some patients with gastric problems, due to the risk of side effects such as stomach bleeding.

Rheumatoid arthritis, tendinitis and bursitis are medical conditions that may cause painful inflammation. In some cases, inflammation may be significantly reduced by modifying physical activity that is known to aggravate the condition. Proper ergonomics at work may also help reduce inflammation caused by repetitive motion stress. Learning proper techniques for lifting heavy objects, or taking frequent breaks when working on repetitive activities may be recommended to help relieve inflammation.

Many physicians prescribe physical therapy for treatment of inflammation due to a sports injury. For instance, a physical therapist may help rehabilitate a patient by teaching strengthening exercises. In some cases, massage therapy may also be prescribed to relieve inflammation of joints, muscles or tendons.

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