Everyone at some point experiences some kind of injury. Injury can be the result of a traumatic event (e.g. sporting injury) or from repetitive stress on a particular structure/body part (e.g. tennis elbow or postural strain). Generally speaking, the time it takes for an injury to heal can be dependent on the nature and the extent of the injury. If the injury is severe it may take longer to heal, compared to a minor injury which might take less time to resolve. Other factors like age, activity and systemic health may also hinder healing times.
Nonetheless, it is important to address an injury sooner rather than later. BUT WHY?!
Well, the human body is equipped with mechanisms that switch on in the presence of an injury. In the case of a musculoskeletal injury, we may typically see:
- Pain inhibition of deep stabilising muscles
- Reflex inhibition of postural muscles
- Protective global muscle spasm
- Reduced local joint protection & sense of joint awareness/balance
- Muscle wasting due to disuse
- Altered movement
If an injury is not seen to, it can lead to long term muscular imbalances and altered joint mechanics of not only the injured body part, but also body parts nearby. We call these secondary compensations or compensatory patterns. This is why it is important to follow a consistent exercise rehabilitation program that is specific to your injury. Not only does this ensure that you strengthen the affected areas appropriately and safely, but it also ensures that secondary compensations to the original injury do not become an issue later on! In other words, the sooner you address your injury, the better. And the more consistent you are with your exercise, the better the results will be!
Written By Dr. Jena Chang (osteopath)