Exercise is essential for workers such as firefighters and paramedics that have physically-and emotionally-demanding jobs, and is mandated by most departments.
According to a study by the University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, 30% of the strains and sprains that firefighters and paramedics experienced, happened as they were working out. Seventeen percent of injuries, and almost half of time off work for injuries, were caused by strains and sprains resulting from workers carrying individuals.
Pain and inflammation “feed one another”. Pain triggers more inflammation and inflammation leads to more pain. It is not clear how the body senses pain, nor biochemically, the exact events that lead to the sensation of pain. We know however, that pain signals from our back or limbs travel along nerve cells to the spinal cord and up to the brain, and that inflammation in the spinal cord and brain is either the direct cause of pain, or a major contributor to pain sensations that we experience.
When muscles and tissues are injured, immune cells respond by entering the area and releasing cellular factors (e.g., cytokines) that will up-regulate inflammation as a way to help the body heal.
However, it is as important for the body to decrease its inflammatory responses after a challenge is met, as it is to increase the response in the first place. Decreases in inflammatory responses, down-regulation, result from the production of different amounts of anti-inflammatory cytokines and their ratio to pro-inflammatory cytokines that cause inflammation. It all about the appropriate balance of immune responses, immune homeostasis.
(Please watch for the next posting discussing natural methods of helping the body achieve immune homeostasis, and recover, and heal faster.)