Soft Tissue Injuries and Healing
In the clinic, I consistently see people who are trying their best to be healthy. This is represented in healthy food choices, a focus on sleep, and a conscious effort to exercise. Despite our best efforts injuries still happen, and we still suffer breakdowns in our health.
One of the injuries that we see often is soft tissue Injury. This includes damages to muscles, tendons and ligaments, which may occur as a result of trauma or repetitive strain. Both are significant in their impact and outcomes in our personal pursuits of health.
Traumatic tissue injuries are impactful and affect our daily lives. These happen from accidents sports injuries, slips, falls and other accidental ways. Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs) occur when we perform a similar activity repetitively, we don’t rest properly, we do too much or do not naturally use the soft tissue.
Regardless of the injury is Traumatic or RSI in origin, the healing process is similar.
Acute Stage – The acute stage starts at the time of injury and lasts about 10 to 14 days. This is when the body is responding to the perceived damage. Sometimes also called the inflammatory phase, the body floods the area with blood, and immune cells to promote healing. Acute trauma often presents as red, swollen or bruised areas of tissue. Whereas RSI presents with tenderness and swelling in the area. During this stage, more severe injuries are diagnosed due to their severity at onset.
During the acute stage seeking care from a qualified health practitioner such as a Chiropractor is essential. Proper and differentiated diagnosis is critical for long term outcomes. This includes physical examination, diagnostic testing as indicated and initial care to relieve the pain and stabilize function.
Improper care or diagnosis in the Acute Stage will promote decreased healing over time.
Subacute or Relief Stage – The subacute Stage starts at about 10 to 14 days and goes for about 6 weeks. By this time the body is well on its way to recovering from the injury. Your immune cells have rebuilt or are rebuilding the tissue, and you have or are regaining use of the affected tissue.
Working with your Chiropractor during this stage will yield better long term results. The idea is to continue to increase mobility while keeping the injury stable.
Rehabilitation Stage – This stage starts at about 6 weeks and goes until the involved tissue is healed. During this stage of healing, we are concerned about strengthening and supporting the systems that were previously compromised and trying to prevent a return of symptoms.
This stage is directly proportional to the blood supply of the tissue. For example, highly vascular muscles heal faster than ligaments that are less vascular. Muscles will complete this stage around 6 to 9 months. Tendons will take 9 to 12 months, and Ligaments can take 12 to 18 months.
Working with a Chiropractor or Massage Therapist at this stage will help to ensure a complete recovery. The clinical goal here is to maximize function and reduce tissue scarring and adhesion. This combination provides the best outcomes.
Life should not hurt. We are here for you 100%.