Friday, 8 August 2014

Suffering from re-occuring injuries & cant work out why? Best take a read

My favorite analogy in rehabilitation is that "people treat their bodies like cars and only get them fixed once they have broken down". 
Over the years I have met all sorts of people from sportsman to gym goers and office workers, they all complain to me about re-occurring injuries. Some of the most common examples of these 're-occurring issues' are listed below;

  • Ankle inversions when running or playing sports such as football
  • Lower Back pain
  • Calf Strains
  • Shin Splints
  • Knee pain
  • Neck & Shoulder pain
Regardless of what type of symptoms people suffer from, in most cases they are not willing to invest in getting their injuries rectified. Poor understanding & lack of knowledge prevents individual's from realizing the importance of getting these problems solved immediately, most punters believe that time is a great healer & the body will get better....but will it? of course it won't,

It does frustrate me when I see people complain and grumble to me about their injuries, requesting my advice yet in most cases they are not willing to take ownership for themselves and are happy to go and spend £60-80 on a pair of fashionable non functional trainers or go out for a expensive night on the town rather than seek rehabilitation.

Its time to wake up
If your car breaks down & starts to fall apart or becomes too expensive to run you exchange it or buy a new one. You cannot do this to your body, it suffers day in day out and in most cases you are not  maintaining it.

The aim of this BLOG is to support the last few paragraphs & to do this i will use a model known as the Cumulative Injury Cycle.

Tissue Trauma
Occurs when force or load is applied to the tissues of the body (muscles, ligaments, tendons), which they cannot withstand.
Trauma can be caused;
Progressively-  Raging from weeks, months to years through poor posture such as hunching whilst sitting at a desk, or training the same muscles without rest, repetitive movements (the list is endless).
Traumatically- via a direct impact such as a hard tackle in sport, a twist of the ankle while running or a fall.
Following trauma or general exercise the tissues break down under stress & the body commences a repair process. Using protein in your diet the tissue progressively grows back stronger (hence the need for rest, In marathon running the cardiac tissue can break down by up to 15 percent).

When tissue is damaged the body goes into a alarm phase, a release of histamines stimulates nerve endings to tell the brain that there is a problem. The sub-acute inflammatory response generally lasts up-to 72 hours, within this period you can expect to see the following;
  •  Swelling  (caused by chemical release)
  •  Redness/ bruising (caused by bleeding)
  •  Heat (caused by increased blood flow)
  •  Pain on Function (Tissue is damaged & the pressure caused by pressure from fluid release
The Cardinal Sin 
Once the pain on function settles, people believe the problem has been solved when in fact the damaged ligaments & muscle are only at 30% their potential strength 3 weeks post injury. The people that suffer regular injuries tend to sneak back to sport within a week or two, quickly breaking down again and yet wander why they can't stop suffering the 'same injury'

Muscle Spasm 
Inflammation triggers a muscle to spasm as a protective response to prevent further damage. It can last a few days to a week but will restrict the ability to move the muscle through range which leads to a loss of flexibility & joint range of motion. You will start to move differently to produce a movement by way of compensation placing 'STRESS' on other structures.


The image to the right shows how adhesion's or 'knots', 'trigger points' are formed. These act like roadblocks within the tissue preventing it from stretching fully during functional movements. It is essential that these are addressed immediately to regain normal muscle firing patterns. Stretching will only improve the length of the surrounding tissues, the knots are left unaffected & will remain until they are treated accordingly. 
A knot can be formed within 7 minutes of holding a poor posture

Scar Tissue
Scar tissue is also laid down to help re-enforce the strength in the weak/baby tissue. Scar tissue does not get aligned like other tissue it is rather haphazard & does not give to stretch which can lead to further issues with flexibility & movement patterns.

Altered Control & Muscle Imbalance
The pain you feel causes changes to the way in which your brain interprets the position & movement of the joints & muscles affected by injury which leads to altered control.
Relative flexibility occurs which is how your body tries its hardest to achieve movements by any means necessary, an example being; someone who suffers with tight calves has to lift their heels to do a full squat or has to pivot more from the hip to alleviate for the loss of range at the ankle, putting strain on the lower back.

In summary
The injury cycle continues in a vicious circle leading to chronic problems that starts to affect other parts of the body.
I am a Remedial Masseur/ Rehabilitation specialist with years of experience following the exposure to hundreds of progressive/ acute injuries. I can work with injured tissue & apply contemporary techniques/rehabilitation to regain full function & prevent injuries from coming back;

Please inbox me for further advice or to book in.

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