Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft Tissue injury?
Pulled a “hammy” at football? Sprained your ankle? Suffered a whiplash injury in a car accident? These and many other accidents involve injuries to the soft tissues of the body.
What are soft tissues? Soft tissues include muscles, tendons, ligaments, joint membranes, connective tissue (fascia), nerves, and blood vessels. These can be injured in a fall, sprain, or a crash, but can also be adversely affected by lifestyle factors including lack of movement, poor diet, and the aging process.
When injured, soft tissues go through a healing process made up of several phases:
Inflammatory phase: can last from 3-6 days. In this early stage we experience pain, redness, increased temperature, and swelling.
Regeneration/ Repair phase: from around day 5 for up to 6 weeks. In this phase damaged soft tissues are replaced and repaired, and the pain and swelling lessen.
Remodelling phase: from around 3 weeks to 12 months. The soft tissues “remodel” to support the demands placed upon them. This process, when directed intelligently by progressive movement or exercise results in less likelihood of re-injury.
Osteopathic treatment spends a lot of time focusing on your soft tissues. The choice of treatment approach will largely depend on the current stage of healing.
In the inflammatory phase the goal is to create an optimal healing environment by promoting circulation (blood and lymphatics) to and from the injured area.
In the repair and remodelling phases your osteopath works to introduce tensile forces that will direct the repair process to establish strong and resilient tissues. Specific therapeutic movements/ exercises may also be recommended to further assist the process.
Throughout all phases your osteopath also works to make sure that the surrounding areas are moving well and are not placing unnecessary strain on the injured area.