Dr. James C. Spaulding

Chiropractor - Edinboro, Pa.

Instrument Adjusting Certified
106 Waterford Street • Edinboro Pa 16412 • Send E-Mail
Phone: (814) 734-3422
Understanding Pain, Injury and Healing - Part 2
In Part 1 of this series, we discussed the 3 types of pain, their cause, treatment and likely outcome.

In Part II we want to discuss the healing response and the importance of proper and early care of injuries.

Immediately following an injury, the body mobilizes a response to the damage and begins to move through the three phases of healing.

Phase I lasts up to 72 hours, during which time there is continuous bleeding (often just seepage) of the damaged tissue and is characterized by pain, swelling, redness and heat…inflammation! During this first 48-72 hours one may feel worse each day. The use of ice over the injured area is necessary to keep swelling and inflammation, and thus pain, in check.

Phase II lasts up to 6-8 weeks, during which time damaged blood vessels, muscles and ligaments (soft tissue) are repaired. Scar tissue will replace the damaged normal tissue during this phase of regeneration. This replacement tissue, however, is weaker, stiffer, and more painful. If it is to return to normal (or near normal) movement is crucial. Medical science has learned that the quicker people get moving after injury and surgery, the quicker they get better. Healing is motion-dependent! Chiropractic treatment and strengthening exercises are two important ways to help damaged tissue return to normal consistency and flexibility.

Phase III of the healing response is the remodeling phase. This phase can last up to a year. During this time, scar tissue will “line up” in a more orderly fashion along lines of stress and strain to produce a better quality of healing. Remodeling, like healing in general, is motion-dependent.

Unfortunately, up to 20% of injured individuals will not reach the end-stage of healing (healing will not be complete.) In these cases, the tissue will never be what it was prior to injury, and they will likely continue to suffer with residual problems, including chronic pain.

The reason? As we noted in Part I, replacement (scar) tissue is weaker, less elastic (stiffer,) and more sensitive. Some injured people actually develop super-sensitivity, and can be up to 100 or more times more sensitive than average. These folks are often more reactive to weather (barometric) changes, disruptions in sleep-patterns, and the stress of life. They are also more susceptible to re-injury.

Don’t procrastinate following an injury that persists more than a few days.

Dr. Jim Spaulding is a full-time practicing chiropractor of 37 years. He has written numerous articles on the subject of diet and exercise.

© 2013 Dr James C. Spaulding. All Rights Reserved.