The Inflammatory Phase of Healing

This is the fourth in a series of maybe 5 or 6 blogs discussing the various types of tissues and healing.
If you’ve been following along the whole series I am either a very interesting writer, who is discussing a very interesting topic, or you must be very bored!
When tissues heal, they go through three (3) phases:
A. The Acute Inflammatory Phase,
B. The Reparative. or Proliferative, or Regenerative Phase,
C. The Remodeling Phase
For tissues to heal and resolve they must go through each of these three (3) phases. How quickly and efficiently they go really depends upon you.
Let’s start with the first phase, The Inflammatory Phase.
Initially, the tissue is injured. The vasculature leaks and a number of chemical compounds known as Pro-Inflammatory Mediators are released into the tissue. This process signals to the body and its defenses that the tissue has been injured and inflammation ensues. With this, there is swelling, redness, heat and of course… pain!
SIDE NOTE: Many of the foods we eat signal these same Pro-Inflammatory Mediators and cause destructive inflammation in areas of the body that were not traumatically injured!
The tissue has literally been torn and is leaking. The tissue must seal up, as it were, and stop the leakage of blood and other chemical compounds. From this, you can see that this would NOT be the time to stretch.
Think about a cut. Would you continue to stretch that laceration while the tissues were trying to come knit themselves back together? No. The wound needs to close up.

But keep in mind, as bad as this all sounds it is VERY important because this process kills any invading bacteria, and breaks down the injured tissue so the immune system can break down and get rid of the injured tissues.


The problem is, left unchecked this process will NOT resolve and it will continue to destroy the tissue at the injured site- INCLUDING ALL OF THE GOOD, HEALTHY, UN-INJURED TISSUES. This is why icing and managing the injury is so important in the beginning. We only want so much inflammation to kill off the injured tissue, but at some point, this needs to stop. In fact, the Inflammatory Phase is the signal that starts the ANTI-inflammatory phase. This is when the tissue starts to repair itself and heal.