Every week I meet at least one new client that put off coming to physiotherapy for an injury. These clients will often say things like: “I thought it would get better on its own”, “It just doesn’t seem to want to heal”, “I’ve had injuries like this before that resolved without therapy” or even “I thought I could push through it but things are only getting worse!” Some of these clients only waited 3 months, some waited 6, some even waited years! All these clients thought things would resolve without help, but unfortunately they did not.
There are 2 major reasons that waiting for an injury to go away or heal on its own may not work. They are as follows:
- Your injury isn’t healing properly
- Healing isn’t the reason your injury or pain won’t going away
What about healing?
Many therapists, researchers and doctors will tell you that most injuries will heal in about 6-12 weeks. More severe injuries will of course take longer, but for the most basic and simplest of injuries the timeline of 6-12 weeks is accurate. There are 3 basic stages to healing, and it is important to understand these stages as it serves as a guide to know when an injury is healing properly or not.
The stages are as follows:
- Inflammation: This stage can last 1-7 days, but with most injuries it is a maximum of three days. This is the stage where most are familiar with the swelling, bruising and severe pain that occurs immediately following their injury.
- Proliferation: Proliferation literally means growth, and this is where true healing actually occurs. This stage typically lasts 2-3 weeks and begins once the inflammation stage has completed. This is the stage where your body puts down new tissue (scar tissue) at the injury site to build back the strength and integrity of the damaged tissue.
- Remodeling: This stage typically takes 3-6 weeks, but in more severe cases (like surgery) it can last longer than a year. This is where your body replaces the first tissue it laid down in the previous stage with a more resilient and robust tissue.
If one of the first two stages persists longer than the common timelines, it is likely that a more severe injury has occurred and a visit to your doctor or physical therapist is essential. Do not wait until you are well into the 3rd stage as these injuries can result in a “misalignment issue”, where tissues heal incorrectly or at incorrect lengths and then they become more difficulty to treat and resolve. Time is absolutely of the essence when it comes to injury.
At South Cowichan Physiotherapy we understand the importance of timing when it comes to injury. Don’t wait to book an assessment with us if you’ve suffered a recent injury. We will help optimize and speed your recovery.
Stay tuned for my article next week where I discuss those injuries that should have healed but don’t seem to go away!
Certified Neurokinetic Therapy® Practitioner
Certified Concussion Rehabilitation
Certified Rocktape® Doc
Want to learn more about how Eric can help you? Then click here