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How to Thrive With Function: The Way Your Body Heals After an Injury

By Sara Butler

Healing After an Injury

If you were to ask the chiropractors at The Joint Chiropractic what they think the most amazing thing about the body is, they would likely respond with the body’s ability to heal itself. Most chiropractors don’t see themselves as medical practitioners who fix problems you are having, but simply doctors who help to support the body to do what it was made to do: heal.

With that understanding, you can begin to see how -- when you become injured -- you may heal in order to function, but you won’t heal in order to thrive. With the help of a chiropractor to remove any joint imbalances, you can heal and you can thrive. Sure, simple things such as exercise may help, but it won’t solve the underlying issues.

Here’s what you need to know about how the body reacts after injury and how seeking the help of a chiropractor can help your body get back in line.

Injuries: More Than Slips and Falls

When most people think of injuries, they think of having an accident that leads to a disability or pain. While it may be true that slipping and falling on the ice or tripping up a set of stairs (you know you’ve done it) can lead to aches and pains, a lot of the injuries that truly hold people back are from overuse.

Overuse injuries are defined as damage to muscles, tendons, ligaments, or bone that result from repetitive stress. Yes, that’s stress from sports activities like training for a 10K or taking a workout class, but it also includes injuries that involve far less sweat such as sitting at your computer keyboard every day or cleaning your house.

It’s these injuries over time that can lead to pain and discomfort and ultimately make it difficult for your body to fully heal and thrive.

What Happens When You’re Injured?

Understanding how the body reacts to injury is important. Remember, its main goal is to heal itself and it attempts to begin that process pretty much straight away with these phases of healing:

  • Inflammation - You likely recognize this part of healing, the inflammation stage. In this stage, blood clots form in the injured area that causes the initial inflammation to kick in. The body then begins a process that enzymes release that make the clot stronger, drawing fluid into the tissue. This all results in swelling, redness, and warmth, which are the telltale signs of inflammation.
  • Repair - The next phase seeks to repair the tissue that was damaged through more chemical signals. The body produces cells that replace the damaged ones as well as collagen that forms scar tissue.
  • Remodeling - In this phase, the muscles around the damaged area need to be stimulated to help improve function and stimulate growth. That’s why, after a brief initial healing phase, it’s never a good idea to simply stay stationary or you won’t be able to fully recover.

If you have a joint dysfunction in any of these areas, then the signals that your body uses to complete these processes may not be able to fully get through. This impairs your body’s ability to fully heal because it simply cannot communicate fully with different areas of the body.

How a Chiropractor Can Help

One of the most common reasons that overuse injuries develop is because of imbalances in the body. Chiropractors can help to identify these imbalances and address them. They can recommend exercises that can help and perform hands-on chiropractic adjustments to help overuse injuries from reoccurring -- and help your body to fully heal in the process.

In the healing process, chiropractors can also help to increase the range of motion through chiropractic adjustments. This allows the body to move more freely and allows it to move more naturally. Tight muscles will hold you back as you move through your everyday life and that can eventually lead to injuries.

Finally, chiropractors can help the body to heal faster. Chiropractic adjustments allow the body to be in the correct alignment, encouraging communication between different parts of the body and the central nervous system.

What About Stretching?

While the chiropractor may certainly suggest stretches as part of an overall plan, stretching on its own will not heal a person fully after an injury. Just as with the healing process, if there’s a joint imbalance that is impacting communication in the area, then stretching may make it feel better for a while but won’t restore communication in the body fully.

In order to heal fully from any type of injury, your body needs to be working as it should. This means that there are no joint dysfunctions to disrupt the communication between the different parts of your body and your central nervous system -- and that’s something the chiropractors at The Joint are happy to help you achieve.

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