Inflammation: Causes & Effects

Learning about inflammation can make you better prepared to deal with an injury.

Shortly after an injury, the body reacts by triggering a set of processes that help it heal. These processes include the release of chemicals that increase blood flow to the injured area, which leads to redness, warmth, and swelling. This combination helps the tissues heal, but it can also stimulate the nerve endings and cause pain. Inflammation is characterized as being either acute or chronic.

What Is Acute Inflammation?

Acute inflammation—the kind of inflammation that occurs immediately after an injury—is beneficial, because it promotes healing. It is the body's way of reacting to an injury, disposing of damaged tissue and promoting the renewal of healthy tissue. Once the body recognizes that an injury has occurred, it releases chemicals that work together first to widen blood vessels so that more blood can flow to the injured area and then to attract some of the body's natural defense cells to the injured area. Unfortunately, some of these chemicals also increase the sensitivity of the pain fibres in the area, so while the body's self-defence strategies are working to heal the affected area, they are also making it hurt more.

Ibuprofen provides the benefit of fast relief of pain from inflammation.

Anti-Inflammatory Medications

The most commonly used anti-inflammatory drugs are in a category called NSAIDs and it provides the benefit of fast relief of pain from inflammation. Ibuprofen provides the benefit of fast pain relief as well as the long-term benefit of controlling inflammation.