Muscle Injuries and How a Chiropractor can help
When you cut yourself, you can distinctly see whether or not that part of your body (for example, the finger) is healed. You SEE the cut, the scab forms, it falls off and there is the scar underneath.
Unfortunately, as we do not have X-ray vision, when we injure something inside our body such as a ligament or muscle, while we may feel it, we cannot see it.
So… what actually happens when we injure a muscle. What does the body do to heal itself?
“What distinguishes a healing skeletal muscle from a healing injury in bone is that the skeletal muscle heals by a repair process, whereas the bone heals by a regenerative process.”
When you tear a muscle, the gap between the fibres fills with a haematoma (commonly known as a bruise). There is inflammation and blood. Inflammation is a normal physiological process and is NEEDED by the body to heal. Granulation tissue (scar tissue) starts to form a scar. New blood vessels bring more blood flow to the area thus helping the healing process.
Approximately 10 days after the trauma, the maturation of the scar has reached the point at which it no longer is the weakest link of the injured muscle. However, a relatively long time is still needed until the strength of the muscle is completely restored to the pre-injury level.
So, if you think by resting for a week after an injury is sufficient time to return to 100%- you would be wrong. However, having said this, movement is still an essential part of the healing process, so sitting around doing nothing is also not the answer.
So, what do I do if I tear a muscle?
Firstly, it depends on how bad the tear is.
Imaging via ultrasound or MRI may be useful in assessing the severity of the injury and your chiropractor will determine if this is necessary after conducting a thorough examination of the injured area.
All the chiropractors at the Walkley Chiropractic Group are trained to perform appropriate tests to assess the nature of any muscle strain or ligament sprain and then not only treat the injury but give you appropriate rehabilitative exercises.
The diagnosis in itself often puts the worried mind at ease. So, in short, when you have a soft tissue injury, present to the Walkley Chiropractic Group and have one of our clinicians assess you.
Do I rest?
Again, it depends on how bad the injury is. Full rest is not normally recommended.
Instead, think to yourself, while I need to do something I need to make sure that what I do is not going to aggravate the condition. For example, if you have injured yourself doing the gardening- it is NOT a good idea to go and do MORE gardening.
Although immobilization has been shown to result in beneficial effects in the early phase of muscle regeneration, it also has several clinically undesired effects. For example, inactivity has been shown to be associated with a significant wasting of the involved muscles, excessive scar tissue and a substantial weakening of the injured skeletal muscle.
Again, the chiropractors at the Walkley Chiropractic Group are trained and willing to advise you on what physical activities you should be engaging in given your current injury and importantly when to start different phases of your rehabilitation exercises.
Why see a chiropractor about your injury?
To put it simply- if you do not hold a degree in this area then you are probably not knowledgeable enough to discern the extent of your injury. Dr Google is not appropriate and often leaves you more worried and confused than you were before.
While all the chiropractors at the Walkley Chiropractic Group have 5 years of university training, many have extra qualifications in sports injuries and rehabilitation to help you successfully recover from any muscular or ligament injury you may have or are ever likely to suffer in the future.