Acute inflammation is the body’s normal immune response to injury to or infection of body tissues. The inflammation process helps the body contain and eliminate damaged tissue and infectious “pathogens” (bacterial, viral, or fungal) so healing can begin.
Although acute inflammation is a natural and necessary process, accompanying symptoms can interfere with daily activities and quality of life. These include:
Inflammation symptoms like edema and pain sometimes can be alleviated with an over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) like Advil or Tylenol and other at-home remedies. But if these methods are ineffective and symptoms persist or worsen, medical attention and a prescription medication may be warranted.
Many inflammatory conditions have a name ending in “-itis.” Bursitis and tendonitis, for example, involve inflammation of the soft tissues around muscles and bones—most often in the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, or ankle.
Treating bursitis, tendonitis, tennis elbow and other inflammatory conditions involves reducing edema to relieve pain.
Muscle spasms, or cramps, are involuntary muscle contractions. They occur suddenly and are often painful, but usually resolve relatively quickly on their own. Muscle spasms often can be treated at home with massage, stretching and icing/heating. However, if muscle spasms involve any of the following, professional medical attention may be required:
Although most muscle spasms are harmless, some may be related to an underlying medical condition such as nerve compression, inadequate blood supply, or mineral depletion. Treating the condition can resolve the muscle spasms.
Whiplash is a neck injury resulting from forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck—like the cracking of a lion tamer’s whip. The whiplash motion can injure bones in the spine; disks between the bones; and ligaments, muscles, nerves and other tissues of the neck, as well as trigger inflammation. The most common cause of whiplash is a rear-end auto accident but the injury can also result from a sports accident, physical abuse or other trauma.
Whiplash symptoms usually develop within 24 hours of the injury and can include neck pain and stiffness, tenderness/pain in the upper back, shoulder or arms, loss of range of motion in the neck, and headaches (typically starting at the base of the skull). If you experience neck pain, upper back pain, or other whiplash symptoms following a traumatic injury, it is important to get a prompt and accurate diagnosis to rule out fractures or other damage that may be contributing to symptoms.
When you need medical care now, walk into any HealthMed Urgent Care clinic without an appointment and receive prompt, expert attention from skilled clinicians for non-life- or limb-threatening conditions including:
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