Chiropractic Treatment of Soft Tissue Injuries in Maple Grove
A special thanks to Brent Tieri, D.C., a Maple Grove, MN Chiropractor, for providing this article.
When many people think of chiropractic, they think of adjustments made to the bones or joints of the spine. Though this is somewhat accurate, they often forget about the soft tissue component of healing and the importance of the chiropractic adjustment in this process.
Chiropractic treatment has shown to be an incredibly powerful tool in the treatment and healing outcomes of soft tissue injuries. When looking at the typical medical approach to soft tissue treatment, the initial reflex is to turn to medications such as muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatories, and pain relievers. This not only fails to aid in the healing process, but simply serves as a mask for the underlying symptoms that the body is trying to communicate to the brain. What is truly supported by the literature in treatment is passive mobility to increase joint motion, as well as external stress and force placed on the joint and the soft tissue in a direct vector.
In fact, putting motion into healing tissue is perhaps the very most important piece of the puzzle when it comes to injury treatment. How scar tissue forms is an important indicator for whether or not an individual is in for a lifetime of chronic pain or will make close to a full recovery. This is a huge contributor to why so many people have chronic injuries that appear to come and go and never get truly corrected.
There’s a lot of misunderstanding regarding soft tissue injuries, perhaps due to the previous treatment protocol that doctors and therapists alike believed in regard to soft tissue repair. The most common mistake in soft tissue treatment is that injured tissue will simply heal on its own in roughly a 4 to 8 week period. I frequently hear that damaged tissue will heal to 100% with no long-term residual effects and that no treatment is required. This myth is often spread by insurance companies who have vested financial interests in worker’s compensation claims as well as auto accident claims. This unfortunately is a huge mistake and sets a person up for a lifetime of recurring aches and pains.
The Stages of Healing
When looking at treatment methods it’s always important to remember that physiology is the ultimate factor in determining healing. There are a number of stages within the healing process that are necessary for your body to be at its best, and typically following any soft tissue injury it will take roughly one year for that tissue to reach its maximum capacity. This maximum capacity can be influenced by outside treatment and can be increased if the proper steps are taken.
- Stage I: The first phase of healing is known as the acute inflammatory phase. This phase occurs during the first 72 hours of the healing process. During this phase there is bleeding of the damaged tissue, vasodilation, increased inflammation in the area, as well as an increased immune response that occurs at the site of the injury. During this phase it is most beneficial to use an ice pack to reduce the amount of inflammation to the area.
- Stage II: The second phase of healing lasts from approximately 72 hours to 6 weeks post-injury. This phase is known as the regeneration phase. This is where cells called fibroblasts lay down collagen protein between the torn tissues to once again create solid tissue. This is commonly known as scar tissue. Now, we all have heard of scar tissue before and we all realize that it’s not exactly the same as healthy normal tissue. This tissue is roughly half as flexible as healthy tissue and is much more susceptible to injury in the future. The most confusion happens during this phase of recovery because at this point many people feel better and as a result think that the tissue is fully healed. Not only is the tissue not healed, but it’s still a long way from maximum recovery.
- Stage III: The remodeling stage is the third and final phase of the healing process. During this phase the tears or jars that occurred within the soft tissue injury are remodeled in the direction of stress and strain. Also, it appears that the tensile strength of the collagen is quite specific to the forces imposed on it during this phase. This is why there is such a need for very specific chiropractic adjustments. It is essential for allowing the tissue to heal to its maximum capacity, including both strength and flexibility. Once again, this full process takes one year from the date of injury. Chiropractic adjustments specifically put motion in tissues so that they configure and align properly along with the direction of stress and strain, which in turn produces the desired end product of healing.
At Total Spine Health and Injury Center, we focus on long-term correction versus short-term pain relief. Most often, getting people to simply feel better is easily attained, however, full healing and maximum health is what truly takes time. It takes time for your body to once again be its best! In our office, we utilize techniques including Chiropractic adjustments, massage therapy, intersegmental traction, heat therapy, neuromuscular reeducation, and rehabilitative exercise. If you or someone you know is in pain and wants to get to the cause of their problem, check out the services that we offer at Total Spine; we look forward to helping you take your health to the next level!
By Dr. Brent Tieri, D.C.