Taking Care of Injuries
There are many important considerations to keep in mind when recovering from injury.
Firstly, it is important to establish how long the injury has been present.
· Is it a recent injury that you can clearly identify when it happened?…. or….
· Is it a niggling injury that has been hanging around for a while, that you thought would go away by itself, but hasn’t?
The importance of working out when the problem started is because the body goes through different stages of healing depending on how long the problem has been there.
Once you have worked out the timing of when the injury occurred, you can start to understand the processes that are taking place to try and heal the damage.
One of the big mistakes that people make in their understanding of recovering injury is the following:
“Because there is no pain, it must be healed”….
In actual fact, pain is only one indicator of the state of tissue repair. Remember: The pain will ease well before the tissue has returned to full strength.
This is our body’s way of letting us get back to doing simple activities without pain, whilst the tissue continues to get on with the job of returning to full strength.
Normally, for a patient who gets the right treatment early, and follows the right advice, we see muscle/ ligament injuries become virtually pain free within 7-10 days after injury. However, the process of tissue healing continues, and is has not reached significant healing until at least 4-6 weeks after injury!
This helps to explain why that niggling injury continues to hang on and doesn’t go away…… because when the initial pain settles, we think it’s healed, we go about normal physical demands….. BUT the injury has only really begun healing, and continues to need care and attention to recover fully.
Healing tissue goes through 3 phases during, and beyond, the 4-6 week period:
- Inflammation: where the area is bombarded with inflammatory cells to kick-start the healing process
- Proliferation: is the formation of the repair material, collagen, which creates the scar tissue
- Remodelling: is the process whereby the scar tissue becomes organized in such a way as to allow the tissue to function as it did before injury
So, it is very important to manage your injury properly, to seek out the right treatment and advice, in order to give yourself the best chance of gaining a speedy and effective recovery!