Ever wonder why that injury just sticks around long after you think it should have healed?

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Ever wonder why that injury just sticks around long after you think it should have healed?

By Dean Phelps on Sunday, 28th of September    Tag: Injury, Pain Sensitive, Repetitive Injuries, Why Physiotherapy?,

Ill explain the concept of what happens for an injury to lead to ongoing problems and a pain sensitive tissue

Have you made any of these mistakes when injured that lead to that injury just sticking around? Here is why...

Here is three common mistakes people make after suffering an acute injury and why they take longer to get better and continue to niggle.

  1. Pushing on and continuing like its not there
  2. Delaying doing anything about it until it seams worse
  3. I'll just rest and it will get better!

I’m sure at some stage you have fallen into one of these 3 traps, I have done it myself and I'm a physio!

The problem with any of these approaches is that long term its harder to get over.

If you push on, your constantly aggravating it, if you delay doing anything about it chances are you are just ignoring and will push on anyway, aggravating it further. And three, rest helps only for a short period of time, after that it can be counter productive.

So why does this take longer to get over?

Pushing on, ignoring or delaying doing anything about it generally leads to more pain. What happens is that tissue (which is trying to heal) is constantly aggravated and leads to it becoming sensitized and more reactive to the stresses placed upon it. It’s now a ‘pain sensitive tissue’, ts threshold has lowered which means it now flares up quicker, easier and pain can feel more intense or niggle longer then it should.

So you have a few factors in play here. A healing and hypersensitive tissue and nervous system.

All tissue eventually heals, which is what the body does best. But what can take longer is the sensitivity of the tissue and nervous system to wind back down and for that pain to ease or settle. So it’s not always that you’re constantly re-damaging or re-injuring that area even though it feels that way, it’s just that it’s become more sensitive and reactive to minimal and even non-noxious stimuli (touch, pressure, movement).

Now for some people this period of aggravation goes on and on for days, weeks or months until they get sick of it and stop altogether. This can lead to long periods of rest.

Eventually rest leads to deconditioning and weakness. What was an injured tissue or structure (which has now healed) is then placed under more stress because of this surrounding weakness in the neuromuscular system. ‘Pain’ may have settled but when you jump back in quickly and do what you have always done with a weak neuromusclular system, chances are that pain will be back and your comeback has failed. You wont enjoy what you’re doing, suffer a flare up and stop AGAIN!

Next blog I will discuss why treatment and recovery takes longer and what is the best way to avoid the above happening!


Dean Phelps - Head Physiotherapy

Dean is a registered Gold Coast Physiotherapist with undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Human Movement and Exercise Science. His background has developed his vision for Fighting Fit Physiotherapy to focus on optimal health and peak physical performance for every single patient. Utilising his many qualifications, in depth knowledge of the body and passion for exercise he can provide a holistic approach to your treatment and exercise prescription to get the best outcome.


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