Brain Inflammation

Inflammation is a complicated topic, and inflammation of the brain even more so.  When an injury occurs such as direct trauma or cut, our bodies are very adept at providing self-healing, by sending certain chemical markers to the area, and recruiting different types of white blood cells to help heal the area. Secondary effects of this may include swelling, redness, and pain, which are all adaptive in the right context.  These are the very symptoms that one would want to avoid repeating painful stimuli.  However, when inflammation becomes more chronic, as is the case and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, lupus, and many others; inflammation becomes less adaptive when your body begins to attack its own organs and cause pain and other symptoms out of the context of danger.

Only recently have researchers began to discuss inflammation in the context of the nervous system.  Within this system, just as it is in the rest of your body, there are a series of lymphatic cells surrounding the blood vessels of the brain.  These are the very cells that create lymph nodes surrounding blood vessels throughout the rest of your body, this is the reason when having an allergic reaction or infection, he will have swollen lymph nodes.  With this phenomenon occurring around the nervous tissue of the spinal cord and brain, this of course serves to protect your brain and nerves from infection.

This new finding has some interesting implications in regards to certain chronic diseases.  It is most recently being studied in the context of long COVID syndrome, and is certainly applicable to other diseases that cause brain fog such as chronic fatigue syndrome.  See my previous article regarding ME/CFS and Long COVID. There is some thought that certain infectious diseases such as the COVID virus and mononucleosis may have long-lasting effects on these neuroglymphatic cells, which may explain why some people may have brain fog, depression, and migraines for months to years after certain infections and exposures.  Because osteopathic medicine has developed many hands-on techniques to address lymphatic drainage, including in the brain with Cranial Osteopathy, it can be inferred that manual therapists have an important role to play in treating patients with these complex brain inflammatory disorders.  Any minimally invasive treatments that can help those undergoing unfortunate chronic brain fog and depressive syndromes will certainly be important as the number of patients with ME/CFS and long COVID are continuously increasing.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s