Image credit((Source: “Man stepping on banana peel about to experience injury,” Creative Commons License via Pixabay »))
If you’re dealing with chronic pain due to injury, Hands On Healing in Montgomery, Alabama provides hands-on treatment services to relieve and prevent further dysfunction.
For many who deal with chronic pain, it can be difficult at times to narrow down a likely culprit in one’s daily life.
When there is seemingly no connection between a person’s daily life and their discomfort, we as therapists will spend a good deal of time discussing a client’s past injuries, often making connections to current dysfunctions that seem almost completely unrelated.
In certain cases, problems can stem back 10 years or more. These types of long standing problems can be a major limiting factor for improving daily health and living a pain-free life.
In many of our previous blog posts we have mentioned that proper postural alignment and movement health are inextricably tied together.
This proper balance of structure and function serves as the underpinning of healthy prevention of tissue damage, which when left unchecked, develops into pain and dysfunction.
When the body suffers a traumatic incident, it undergoes a complex process of balance and compensation that allows us to continue functioning, despite any potential ramifications of pushing through an injury.
This compensation system is basically a survival mechanism in its simplest form, designed to serve only as a temporary system, allowing us to escape the trauma that injured us, and begin properly treating our body in order to heal.
It’s at this exact moment that we often make the mistake of improperly caring for our injuries.
Whether it be deliberate, subtle, or unnoticed, prolonged compensated movement behavior causes one to suffer recurring problems.
Poor movements are the building blocks of overuse injuries and likely the culprit of chronic pain.
Overuse injuries are cyclical, wherein dysfunctional and compensated movement patterns damage tissue and lead to pain.
In response to pain we compensate again, and the process starts all over. Another great analogy is a pain-tension cycle.
These issues with cyclic pain and dysfunction can often be the Achilles Heel in a client’s medical treatment process.
There are many types of overuse injuries.
Given the options most medical doctors and orthopedists have at their disposal, surgery and medication are often prescribed in hopes of calming a patient’s pain, with the idea that tension will improve if there is less pain.
Even seeing a physical therapist for treatment of movement dysfunctions, there still can be an unknown/passive muscle tension left behind allowing the problem to continue.
Whenever possible, it’s best to combine treatment methods.
At Hands On Healing, we use a multi-strategy approach including:
By employing multiple treatments for an injury, the problem is far less likely to return.
Any hands-on session involving a history of injury, whether that injury be long-standing or very recent, requires that a therapist take specific approaches with treatment to maintain a client’s progress.
An injury occurs in stages (See Figure 1, click to enlarge) labeled as:
This is a fairly common practice for many different fields of therapy, and with each stage of an injury, different methods or techniques are employed to promote optimal results from treatment.
Once an injury has occurred, the body immediately begins sending a barrage of cells to the damaged area to start the healing process.
This flush of cells is referred to as inflammation, drawing in all the blood and nutrients necessary for tissue to begin reforming.
During the acute stage of injury, hands-on massage techniques are contraindicated, since bodywork methods are specifically meant to draw blood and fluid to the areas that are being treated.
This is quite possibly the biggest mistake that the average person will make during the acute injury stage, simply not allowing the body to begin proper recovery and healing.
All too often, a client will seek out treatment only days after twisting an ankle, or perhaps suffering a car wreck, and they will want to get some form of physical treatment to calm things down and feel less pain.
However, bodywork methods encourage blood flow and stimulate the immune response of the body, meaning that applying hands-on techniques to an acute, or even sub-acute injury, will only compound the body’s inflammation and worsen a client’s condition.
Myofascial techniques and structural bodywork truly shine when working with chronic conditions.
In these circumstances the body has already formed scar tissue to reform and strengthen the injured area.
Scar tissue is often very ischemic, or lacking healthy blood flow, which limits the body’s ability to completely reform the area back to full health, and fascial release helps to promote and increase the body’s blood supply to restricted tissues.
Recovery is by far the most overlooked component of relieving the body of pain and regaining a sense of wellbeing.
In every case of dealing with injury, even small levels of damage incurred from exercise, the body must be given a chance to properly recover.
When the body is not allowed to completely recover, injury is compounded on top of already existing conditions, and the body never fully heals.
It’s through proper recovery that the body begins to see results.
We as therapists expend a lot of energy trying to remind clients not to push their healing process and allow the body to do what it does naturally.
If an injury has already occurred, then it’s best to take a conservative approach to allow the body to begin healing. If used safely, anti-inflammatories can help take the edge off the pain, alongside the use of RICE:
RICE will also help to kick-start the healing process.