Inflammation and Pain

Inflammation can be an important element in the initiation and maintenance of painful conditions.  It is also, however, a very helpful and necessary component of our bodies’ reaction to tissue injury.  Following an injury, inflammatory chemicals and cells help clot blood, fight infection, and start the healing process.  When inflammation is excessive or prolonged, however, it can also lead to injury or sensitization of the nervous system, beginning with the nerves in the area of injury and inflammation.  When this occurs, a painful and chronic condition can develop.

 

Inflammation can be decreased, or modified, by various medications, healthy dietary decisions and supplements, and other lifestyle choices such as the avoidance of excessive alcohol or smoking. See the Healthy Diet, Nutrition, and Supplements page of this website for information on dietary choices that can influence levels of inflammation in our bodies. Your physician can prescribe anti-inflammatory medications such as: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, naproxen and others; oral corticosteroids such as dexamethasone (Decadron), prednisone,  methylprednisolone (Medrol), and others; tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors such as etanercept (Enbrel) and others; and drugs from other less commonly used classes. See the Medication Management of Pain page.