Understanding Pain: What is Inflammatory Pain?

Did you know that chiropractors work with different types of pain? Pain is a complex and multifaceted experience that can manifest in various forms. It affects millions of people worldwide, often impacting their daily lives and overall well-being.

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.”

Today we will be discussing inflammatory pain.

What is inflammatory pain?

Inflammatory pain is a type of pain that arises due to inflammation in the body. It can be caused by injury or infection. When you damage your body tissues,  your body’s immune response triggers an inflammatory process as a protective mechanism. This process involves the release of chemicals and immune cells to the affected area, resulting in swelling, redness, and warmth.

The presence of inflammation can lead to pain. When the sensory nerves in the area become sensitised, they transmit nociceptive signals to the brain, leading to the sensation of pain. Inflammatory pain can be acute, such as in the case of a sprained ankle, or chronic, as seen in conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

rheumatoid arthritis singapore, inflammatory pain
Did you know rheumatoid arthritis is not just a pain condition? It can also cause dry eyes and mouth and even weight loss.

In chronic inflammatory pain conditions like rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the inflammatory process becomes persistent and ongoing, leading to prolonged pain and tissue damage. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues, primarily affecting the joints.

In RA, the immune system releases inflammatory chemicals, such as cytokines, which initiate and perpetuate inflammation in the joints. This chronic inflammation results in joint swelling, stiffness, and pain. Over time, if left untreated, RA can cause progressive joint damage, deformities, and functional impairments.

Inflammatory Markers

singapore exercise corner, outdoor exercise
Did you know regular exercise has been linked to a decrease inflammatory markers? Studies have shown that markers like c-reactive protein and interleukin-6 are lower in people who exercise regularly. Thankfully for us in Singapore, we have lots of outdoor exercise corners that we can use for free!

Inflammatory markers are substances measured in the blood that indicate the presence and level of inflammation in the body. These markers can be helpful in diagnosing and monitoring inflammatory conditions, including inflammatory pain. Some commonly investigated inflammatory markers include:

  • C-reactive protein (CRP): CRP is a protein produced by the liver in response to inflammation. Elevated levels of CRP is associated with pain.
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR): ESR is a measure of how quickly red blood cells settle to the bottom of a test tube. Increased sedimentation rate indicates the presence of inflammation in the body. It can be elevated in people with inflammatory pain conditions.
  • Pro-inflammatory cytokines: Cytokines are small proteins produced by immune cells that regulate inflammation. Examples of pro-inflammatory cytokines include tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β). Elevated levels of these cytokines indicate an ongoing inflammatory response.
  • Eosinophil count: Eosinophils are a type of white blood cell involved in allergic and inflammatory responses. An increased eosinophil count may suggest an allergic or inflammatory condition.
  • Rheumatoid factor (RF) antibodies: Commonly found in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. Their presence in the blood indicates an autoimmune response and helps in diagnosing and monitoring the disease.

It is important to note that the specific inflammatory markers investigated may vary depending on the suspected underlying condition and the clinical context. Healthcare professionals use a combination of clinical evaluation, patient history, and laboratory tests to assess inflammatory markers and guide the diagnosis and management of inflammatory pain.

Management and Treatment of Inflammatory Pain

Managing chronic inflammatory pain in RA requires a comprehensive approach. Treatment strategies aim to reduce inflammation, control pain, preserve joint function, and improve quality of life. This may involve a combination of medications, such as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and corticosteroids. In more severe cases, healthcare professionals may utilise biologic therapies that specifically target components of the immune system. These therapies can provide targeted treatment and help manage the condition effectively.

Exercise Therapy for Inflammatory Arthritis

square one active recovery, 12-week exercise programme

Exercise therapy is an essential component of managing inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. It offers numerous benefits, including pain reduction, improved joint mobility, enhanced physical function, and overall well-being. Range of motion exercises are important for maintaining and improving joint flexibility, while strengthening exercises help support the joints and reduce pain. Aerobic exercises, like walking or swimming, promote cardiovascular fitness and weight management. Balance and coordination exercises can improve stability and prevent falls, and flexibility exercises enhance muscle flexibility and joint range of motion.

To benefit from exercise therapy, it is crucial to work with a healthcare professional such as a chiropractor who can create an individualised program based on your specific needs and limitations. They will help you choose appropriate exercises, provide modifications when needed, and monitor your progress.

Gradual progression is important to avoid overexertion and prevent worsening of symptoms. By starting slowly and gradually increasing intensity, you can safely improve your fitness levels and manage your condition effectively.

Before starting any exercise program, it is essential to consult with your healthcare provider to ensure it is safe and suitable for your condition. They will assess your overall health, consider any specific considerations related to your arthritis, and provide guidance on how to proceed. By incorporating exercise therapy into your management plan, you can experience the benefits of reduced pain, improved mobility, and enhanced quality of life in your journey with inflammatory arthritis.

Diet Modification for Inflammatory Pain

Dietary changes can play a significant role in managing inflammatory pain by reducing inflammation in the body. Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet is key. These include fruits like berries and cherries, vegetables like leafy greens and broccoli, fatty fish such as salmon and sardines, nuts like almonds and walnuts, and healthy fats like olive oil and avocados. These foods contain compounds that can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.

Increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids is also beneficial. Healthy fats can have an anti-inflammatory effects for your body. You can find omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, as well as in flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. Adding these foods to your diet regularly can help reduce inflammation and manage pain.

A diet high in fiber can help reduce your inflammatory pain. Include whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables in your meals to increase your fiber intake. Research has associated fiber intake with lower levels of inflammation in the body.

It is important to limit or avoid processed foods, which tend to promote inflammation. Refined grains, sugary snacks, and fast food are examples of foods that may contribute to inflammatory pain. Instead, focus on whole, unprocessed foods to reduce inflammation and manage pain effectively.

While dietary changes can be beneficial, it is important to note that they may not provide complete relief from inflammatory pain. To receive personalised guidance based on your specific condition and needs, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian or nutritionist. They can help create a well-rounded dietary plan that complements your overall treatment approach for managing inflammatory pain.

Finding a chiropractor in Singapore for your inflammatory pain management

jesse cai, inflammatory arthritis, neck exercise
Just because you have an inflammatory disorder or inflammatory arthritis doesn’t mean you cannot exercise. In fact, exercise has been shown to help with pain management and improve joint health!

When seeking a chiropractor in Singapore to manage your inflammatory pain, it is important to go beyond traditional adjustments. Inflammatory pain requires a comprehensive approach that includes exercise and lifestyle changes. At our clinic, chiropractor Jesse Cai is not only trained in providing adjustments but also in solution-focused coaching. With his expertise, he can guide you through the necessary lifestyle changes to make a real difference in managing your pain.

To get started on your journey towards managing your inflammatory pain, simply fill out the form below to learn more about our services and schedule an appointment. Our dedicated team is here to support you in making the necessary lifestyle changes and incorporating exercise therapy into your pain management plan. Take the first step towards finding relief and improving your quality of life by reaching out to us today. We look forward to helping you on your path to wellness.


Frustrated by the lack of results-driven and ethical chiropractic clinics in Singapore, Chiropractor Jesse Cai found Square One Active Recovery to deliver meaningful and sustainable pain solutions.

Our goal? To make our own services redundant to you.

*We do not offer temporary pain relief such as chiropractic adjustments, dry needling, or any form of soft tissue therapy.