In the specialty of Pain Management and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, a key focus for all of our patients is to address the inflammation and pain and discover the root cause of the inflammatory response in each patient.
Although separate conditions, inflammation and pain are nearly always associated with each other. Pain is defined by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) as ‘an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage’. Inflammation is the tissue’s immunologic response to injury, characterized by mobilization of white blood cells and antibodies, swelling, and fluid accumulation.
When inflammation occurs, chemicals from the body’s white blood cells are released into the blood or affected tissues in an attempt to rid the body of foreign substances. This release of chemicals increases the blood flow to the area and may result in redness and warmth. Some of the chemicals cause leakage of fluid into the tissues, resulting in swelling. The inflammatory process may stimulate nerves and cause pain.
Radiculitis literally means the inflammation of a nerve root. It is a medical term used by health care professionals to refer to the symptoms when a nerve is inflamed or irritated. Radiculitis could be caused by disc herniation, bone spurs, or other spinal conditions.
When consulting our patients, we encourage and offer education to help patients fully understand the effects of inflammation and what they can do to be proactive in their health.