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  • colinliggett

The Lymphatic System, Chronic Inflammation, and Pain.

Updated: Mar 31

dysfunctional lymph?

Is inflammation the cause of your chronic hip pain, sore back, or aching shoulder? Clinically, I note the effects of chronic inflammation with clients daily. I see it causing neck pain, decreasing the range of motion in the shoulders/hips, and chronically tightening hamstrings. It can cause point-specific pain in the knee and lower back fatigue etc. In short, if it's chronic pain, tightness, or weakness, I've seen it caused by inflammation.

The ability to assess and treat the Lymphatic System is one of the reasons I can resolve chronic symptoms when many other therapies have failed.

Chronic inflammation was nicknamed the "Secret Killer" back in 2004 by Time magazine. It has been linked to cancer, arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and heart disease.

Key points:

  • Inflammation caused by a dysfunctional lymphatic system can inhibit muscles, causing pain and further inflammation.

  • Inhibition of muscles can be resolved in a few minutes of specific treatment.

  • There are 3 litres of lymphatic fluid that get returned to the bloodstream daily.

  • The lymphatic system is part of our immune system.

Chronic inflammation often has a widespread and random effect on our muscles and organs. I will often test about 30 muscles throughout the body to find maybe 10 of them inhibited (weak). Once I assess the lymphatic system (a proponent of the immune system) and find the tests indicative of lymph nodes not functioning correctly, I can have the lymph nodes up and running effectively in a few minutes, and - presto! - Many previously "weak" muscles have instantly become strong and functioning normally again.

The immune system is responsible for controlling the inflammatory response. Acute inflammation protects our bodies against invading organisms and controls the healing response to cuts, sprains, strains, post-surgery, etc. However, our high-stress lifestyle can significantly inhibit the immune system's ability to function correctly, altering its ability to turn off this acute response, which results in continuous low-grade chronic inflammation regionally or systemically in our body.

The lymphatic system is vital in supporting the cardiovascular and immune systems. It has a part in controlling blood pressure, and it can directly attack infections and alert the whole immune system into action.

Excess fluid in our tissues that does not get drawn back into the capillaries at the venous end of our circulatory system is known as lymph fluid. It is identified as lymph fluid once it gets absorbed into lymph vessels. The Lymphatic system brings about 3 litres of lymph fluid back into the bloodstream daily (which is more than half of our total blood volume).

Lymph nodes (within the lymphatic system) monitor and check lymph fluid as it filters through them back to the bloodstream. They contain lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) that either release resident macrophages to destroy foreign bodies or activate the general immune system outside of the lymph nodes if they need extra support.

The spleen is the largest lymphatic organ (located in the left abdomen); it acts as a blood filter, controls the number of red blood cells and blood storage in the body, and helps to fight infection.

There are about 600-700 lymph nodes in the body. Most are deep within our bodies, but there are superficial clusters that SMR can check for correct function (Note as an RMT I cannot diagnose, tests are considered indicative due to clinical experience). They include the lymph nodes behind the knees, the inguinal lymph nodes (at our groin/inner thigh, superficial to our adductor muscles), the axillary nodes (around the armpit), below the jaw (your Dr. checks here when you're sick), and at the back of our head. These can all be checked for correct neural drive function directly through clothes.

If any of the lymph nodes test positive for dysfunctional neural drive, it is indicative that chronic inflammation is likely the root of the problem. Thankfully, I have many techniques to negate incorrectly functioning lymph nodes.

As an RMT, I am not allowed to make a diagnosis. RMTs can, however perform tests from which we can create hypotheses on why symptoms are present and treat them accordingly. Clients find it fascinating to be part of the process of realizing that specific muscles are not performing correctly. They witness the fast feedback loop of treating something (e.g. a lymph node), then retesting and finding the muscle is now functioning correctly. I am obsessed with the puzzles of the body - I love what I do!

If you have been suffering from chronic pain and haven't been able to find a solution, Vancouver SensoriMotor Repatterning can help, and it won't take a whole bunch of your time or money!

about the author:

Relocating from Ottawa to Vancouver, Vancouver Sensorimotor Repatterning Clinic is the world's only SMR clinic

Colin delights in taking on chronic pain cases that have stumped other practitioners. Many symptoms associated with chronic pain can be resolved in three sessions. Colin also works with professional/high-level athletes to optimize their performance.

bookings can be made here... online bookings page

Inguinal lymph node highlighted in blue.

Axillary lymph node highlighted in blue.


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