Soft Tissue Injury? What are the Healing Phases?

Soft Tissue Injury? What are the Healing Phases?

Article by John Miller

How to Manage Your Soft Tissue Injury

Soft tissue injuries are commonly categorised depending on the time frame since injury and the healing processes occurring at that time.

Acute – Protection Phase

A soft tissue injury is termed as acute from the initial time of injury, and while the pain, bleeding and swelling are at their worst. Your body’s aim at this point is to protect your injury from further damage. The usual time frame for your acute symptoms to settle is two to four days post-injury, but this can vary depending on how you treat your injury.

Acute Soft Tissue Injury Treatment

Sub-Acute – Repair Phase

A soft tissue injury is termed sub-acute when the initial acute phase transitions to repairing the injured tissues. This phase commonly lasts up to six weeks post-injury when your body is bust laying down new soft tissue and reducing the need to protect your injury as the new scar tissue etc., begins to mature and strengthen.

Sub-Acute Soft Tissue Injury Treatment

Late Stage – Remodelling Phase

Your body does not magically stop tissue healing at six weeks post-injury. Healing is a continuum. Your healing tissue is reasonably mature at six weeks post-soft tissue injury, but as you stretch, strengthen, and stress your new scar tissue, it often finds that it is not strong enough to cope with your increasing physical demand.

When your body detects that a repaired structure is still weaker than necessary, it will automatically stimulate additional new tissue to help strengthen and support the healing tissue until it meets the demands of your normal exercise or physical function.

The period between six weeks and three months post-injury is commonly referred to as the remodelling phase.

Chronic Phase – Ongoing Repair and Remodelling

Beyond three months is the chronic phase and probably refers mainly to pain that lasts more than 3 months. However, your soft tissue is constantly being injured by your daily activities and workout, only to magically repair and remodel the tissue to meet your specific exercise demands.

How Does Treatment Vary Depending on the Phase?

Your treatment will vary depending upon the needs and demands of your injury. Your physiotherapist is highly skilled in diagnosing and treating soft tissue injuries and the best techniques for your specific injury and phase of healing.

What Causes Post-Exercise Muscular Pain?

What Causes Muscular Pain?

You know the feeling… dreaded “stiff and sore muscles” a day or two after you’ve done a little more exercise than usual.

Shortly after exercise begins, a mix of lactic and carbonic acids builds up in muscle tissue. These acids are waste products of muscle contractions. Don’t worry. These acids are normal. To produce “energy”, muscles burn stored glycogen. Lactic and carbonic acids are by-products of this metabolic process.

The good news is that most of these acids convert back into glycogen and are restored in preparation for your next bout of exercise. Pain and muscle fatigue can exist until the acid levels in your muscles return to normal.

How Does Massage Help?

Massage helps to eliminate the irritation caused by these acidic wastes. Research shows that massage can increase muscle recovery much quicker than rest alone.

Why is Massage So Useful When You Exercise?

Regular exercise causes many body changes. One improvement is the increase in blood vessels to the muscles to meet the demand for more oxygen and nutrients. This circulation increase helps to eliminate the waste products and toxins that build up with exercise. Importantly, it can take several weeks to develop improved muscular circulation.

Until the blood supply increases, you will have trouble with oxygen and nutrients supply. This allows toxic wastes to back up and stagnate. You will experience soreness, pain and stiffness. Many exercise enthusiasts regard aches and pains as the inevitable price to be paid. This is usually not true.

What about Muscle & Joint Stiffness?

Massage eases muscle and joint stiffness. Using massage strokes to reduce muscle tension and passive movement to stretch the connective tissue found around joints massage will improve your performance. Massage also lengthens muscle and tendon units to help prevent injuries from occurring in the first place.

What about Soft Tissue Injuries and Massages?

Massage aids recovery from soft tissue injuries such as sprains and strains. Tissue repair accelerates by increasing circulation in the injured area. Massage therapy can help speed, improve recovery, and reduce discomfort from soft tissue injuries.

Massage is Drug-Free Treatment

Massage is a drugless therapy. Headaches, insomnia, neck and back pain, digestive disorders including constipation and spastic colon, arthritis, asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome and muscular aches and pains are just some of the problems that can respond to massage therapy.

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