Fluid in the Joints

Having this crazy arthritic condition is leading to some very interesting new learning for me.  My practitioners are fonts of really amazing information.

One thing I think about almost every time I go for a walk now is what my acupuncturist told me about inflammation.  Physiologically, when there is inflammation in the body, fluid gathers around the inflamed area to protect it.   From a Chinese Medicine perspective, this is why inflammatory arthritic conditions are generally characterized as being caused by a deficiency of yang, or sun-heat.   For whatever reason, the yang doesn’t get driven deep enough into the joint to balance the yin dampness and therefore the inflammatory process tends to linger and become a chronic condition.

This makes total sense to me given what I feel in client’s joints (and even muscle bellies).  Usually in the beginning of treatment of a chronic pain condition there is a feel of fluid around the affected joint or area.  It’s not usually enough to feel like what we usually label as “swollen” but there is a mushier feel to it than I generally consider to be normal, healthy tissue.   Then, as treatment progresses and the inflammation starts to subside, the bony structures or muscle fibers or tendons or what-have-you begin to become more defined, more tangible and distinct.  Now I really understand why!

I know I learned all of this in Anatomy and Physiology but it has never really made sense to me until now.  Now I’m busy thinking about how this understanding of inflammation and its affect on the body can be useful in my yoga teaching.


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Isabel Spradlin
Isabel Spradlin
Isabel Spradlin is a Registered Nurse (RN), Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), and abdominal adhesion specialist in Portland, OR. She specializes in educating people about manual treatment (massage) for abdominal pain and dysfunction, especially when it is adhesion related. Please see the "Programs" page to see her offerings.

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