Inflammation, Sprained Ankles, and Sensitivity

Inflammation is a buzzword in the healthcare community. It is now believed to be a primary source of many chronic health problems.


In Med school, we learned that inflammation - especially muscular inflammation - is a normal bodily response to an injury. I, unfortunately, learned this the hard way. I severely sprained my ankle on an outdoor pick-up basketball court as I was driving to the hoop for a slam-dunk...well, maybe not a dunk at all since my vertical leap is about six inches on a good day, and I am 5 foot 10 inches tall (on a good day).


After an acute musculo-skeletal injury (such as my sprained ankle), the body responds by sending chemical messengers to the site, causing a “soupy gel” to invade the site. This inflammatory gel surrounds the injury and, if set up properly, can start the healing process. For example, a broken bone is flooded by inflammatory gel that starts to set up bone healing.


When I sprained my ankle, I did not know the proper thing to do, so I did all the wrong things. I kept playing on it, I did not elevate it, and I went home and put heat on it. By the next morning, I had a huge inflammatory softball-sized lump around my ankle which finally convinced me to go to the ER for an x-ray. The x-ray was negative; just a horrible ball of self-induced inflammation. My ignorance of managing proper inflammatory healing turned a 1-2 week injury into a 3-4 month healing process.


One thing that was crystal clear: my inflammation was super painful. It was super sensitive. Musculo-skeletal inflammation in all forms (tendinitis, bursitis, arthritis, injuries) are painful. Acute injuries are mildly painful immediately after but are intensely painful after 4-6 hours (with the accompanying swelling); by the next day, inflammatory pain may be excruciating.


Segue to spiritual and relational matters. Sensitivity to the Lord - to Jesus and the Father - is of extreme importance in knowing them. Just like in a marriage relationship, sensitivity to the needs of the spouse will be instrumental in a healthy, happy, thriving marriage. In spiritual matters, sensitivity to God is a good thing and can come by cultivating intimacy with the Lord through spending time in prayer, worship, Bible study, fellowship with others, and in other ways. This is good sensitivity.


I have also noticed that it is possible to become spiritually-relationally sensitive in a bad way, an unhealthy way. I have noticed that when I am offended, I am extremely sensitive regarding the offended issue or regarding the person that has offended me. This offensive inflammation is painful and causes me to be super sensitive; it’s just that my sensitivity and pain will lead me to move in a direction that will not cause health and healing. It will produce negative results.


A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city… (Proverbs 18:19)


Sensitivity by inflammation or by intimacy, tenderness, and forgiveness. I have learned that if I am overly sensitive about an issue or to a person, it might be that I am discerning the situation clearly, or it might be that I am offended.


I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone

out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)



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