Virtually everyone has experienced inflammation, and those with serious musculoskeletal conditions or recovering from orthopaedic surgery understand that mismanaged inflammation is capable of complicating and prolonging the recovery and rehabilitation processes. ‘Controlling inflammation’ is the established practice among many medical professionals for this reason. At Reparel, however, we are aligning with a new school of thought that seeks to reimagine the role of inflammation in both post-surgical and non-surgical care settings.
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is your body’s natural reaction to tissue injury or trauma; it’s a fundamental and necessary component of healing and recovery. The same way your body’s immune system fights infectious germs and bacteria, it also initiates the inflammation response, flooding the trauma site with specialized cells to initiate blood clotting and limit the potential damage.
Why is Inflammation important?
Inflammation is a crucial first step in the healing process that acts to prevent further damage from occurring at the injury/trauma site.
It’s segmented into 3 phases, the first of which may include the symptoms you’ve experienced if you’ve ever been injured: pain, swelling, redness, heat, and loss of function.
The 2nd phase of this process is the ‘Initial Repair Phase’ where the body begins to repair the injured tissue, and where the application of Reparel™ Sleeves is most important, because:
- The true obstacle to effective healing is not joint inflammation, it is the lack of resolution of the inflammatory response. In other words, an incomplete transition through the 3 stages of inflammation.
- The 3rd and final phase, the ‘Regeneration/Rebuilding’ of healthy tissue won’t be effective if the fluid and dead cells from the earlier phases aren’t removed by the circulatory system
- Poor or inefficient resolution of the preliminary stage can have lasting effects, including the development of chronic inflammatory conditions, tissue degeneration, and consistent pain.
An Outdated Practice
Inhibiting vs Resolving: The ANTI-inflammatory Approach:
- For decades the prevailing attitude in all of sports medicine has been the idea that joint inflammation in all forms is bad, and that we must do whatever necessary to reduce it. However, as noted above, inflammation is extremely important, and delaying this natural process with ice or overly compressive garments (designed to ‘control’ swelling) actually does far more damage in the long run by unnecessarily extending recovery time and increasing the likelihood of further complications.
- The concept of ‘RICE’ (Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation.) as both treatment for athletic soft tissue injuries and a recovery principle for more serious procedures was introduced by sports medicine physician Dr. Gabe Mirkin in 1978 and has changed little, if at all, since that time. However, further research into healing and recovery has challenged this universally accepted idea, to the point that Dr. Mirkin himself said in 2015 “…..have used my ‘RICE’ guideline for decades, but now it appears that both Ice and complete Rest may delay healing, instead of helping.” (http://www.drmirkin.com/fitness/why-ice-delays-recovery.html)
How Does Reparel Facilitate the Process?
Reparel sleeves were designed with this very idea in mind: They work WITH your body’s natural inflammation process to produce an accelerated, efficient transition from the initial phase and into the Repair phase of inflammation. By affecting improved cell function and circulation without vascular restriction, our sleeves reinforce your body’s most effective recovery mechanism while being comfortable enough that you actually want to wear them.