“It’s always hard to deal with injuries mentally, but I like to think about it as a new beginning. I can’t change what happened, so the focus needs to go toward healing and coming back stronger than before.” – Carli Lloyd
Injuries can occur anytime for any number of reasons. Stepping off a curb, bending over to pick something up, or simply overworking a muscle, all of these actions can cause an unexpected muscle or related tissue injury.
If the injury is mild to moderate and doesn’t require extensive medical treatment or surgery, it will most likely heal over time and be forgotten. However, there are times that, while an injury may be forgotten, it hasn’t completely gone away.
In addition, when surgery or other medical treatment is involved with a far more severe injury, the likelihood of subsequent pain and dysfunction issues is increased accordingly.
Long After the Pain is Gone
It is not unusual for muscle injuries to continue plaguing an individual long after the initial injury has healed. And this issue is far more common if some type of surgical treatment was done as this often results in fibrotic, or scar, tissue on or near the muscles and connective tissues.
According to the National Institutes for Health (NIH),
“Muscle injury causes functional impairment. The healing process takes time and fibrotic tissue can result. Recurrence and delayed recovery remain as unsolved problems.”
A significant part of injury recovery and muscle treatment is identifying and locating these types of tissues and applying appropriate techniques for releasing them.
A Typical Approach With Pain and Performance Solutions
While previous injuries are not at the root of every recurring or chronic pain issue, it is a common enough occurrence to warrant this as a likely possibility. Consequently, at the beginning of every session, we will gather a medical history.
This is accomplished through asking a series of extensive questions related to surgeries, accidents, broken bones, physical trauma, involvement in sports, and job history. Once this history is compiled, we will then conduct some relevant assessments of range of motion or muscle tests for the region of the body that is experiencing pain.
Upon completion of a history and the related assessment, we then apply a technique using palpation, or touch. By manually feeling the major muscle groups of the body we are able to determine which muscles are tight, or hypertonic, and which are in a more normal, or hypotonic state. Healthy muscles are never fully relaxed and they retain a certain amount of tension, or muscle tone, that can be felt as resistance to movement or pressure applied with the hand.
Following a sufficient amount of palpation, we can then develop a “mental map” that delineates which tissue structures are abnormally tight. This “map” allows us to establish a theory for what conditions are causing the pain or discomfort.
Treating Underlying Causes and Correcting Movement Patterns
This theory is then rigorously tested through a series of challenges. If the theory passes the scrutiny of testing, we then proceed with an appropriately prescribed treatment, which often involves treating an excessively tight tissue structure using Active Release Techniques®, or ART®, followed by reinforcement of a proper movement pattern using NeuroKinetic Therapy™, or NKT™, so that the problem doesn’t return.
As we’ve noted, most muscle injuries will usually heal over time. However, if treatment of that injury created scar tissue, or the natural healing process resulted in restricting fibrotic tissue growth, these can cause dysfunctional movement patterns that then lead to muscle pain in other areas as a result of muscle compensation.
Essentially, a compensation pattern or dysfunction can be described as an alternative or dysfunctional neuromuscular movement the body develops when normal neuromuscular movement is no longer possible or is too painful.
Sometimes this alternate movement pattern is quite apparent.
Running after having suffered a severe ankle sprain, for example, can become painful in the knee, hip, or lower back as a result of a compensation pattern. The body’s normal gait mechanics may be altered unwittingly as a result of hypertonic tissues.
However, muscle compensation patterns can be subtle and difficult to identify. This is why a visit to Pain and Performance Solutions can be your first step to complete injury recovery.
Injury Recover With Pain and Performance Solutions
When you come to your first appointment, we want to learn about your present discomfort as well as any history of discomfort. Recovering from an injury through techniques such as ART® and NKT™ begins with an understanding of when and how your pain started.
A full examination will help us determine which form of treatment is best suited to get you on your road to recovery. Your trust in us is key, as is your honesty. Ultimately, getting your body healthy and working properly is the only way to achieve total recovery.