The trauma of any kind results in tissue damage. This damage has characteristic signs and symptoms that gradually become less or disappear as healing progresses. Healing has three phases, all of which can be assisted through massage therapy.
The Inflammatory Response
Injured tissues release chemicals. In response, the body increases circulation to the injured area, bringing white blood cells and nutrients. The injured area and tissues surrounding it become swollen, warm and reddened. The inflammatory response limits function (because it causes more pain) to help the tissues heal.
The Repair Phase
As debris from damaged tissues is removed, the inflammatory phase gradually subsides and the tissue begins to repair and rebuild itself. New blood vessels grow into the area to deliver repair “supplies” and remove waste. Scar tissue begins to form. Although symptoms improve, the injured area should still be protected and not overused, as damage will occur.
In remodeling, a dense network of strong collagen fibers begins to replace the initial scar tissue. The fiber network adapts to the demands placed on it to ensure that the damaged area will move freely and be strong enough to function correctly. In some cases, adhesions form between muscle layers and painful trigger points may develop. Full remodeling may take months or even years.
When you are injured, it is normal to compensate or guard the injured area. An injury to one knee, for example, means you alter your gait and take more of your weight on the other leg. This can stress the “good” leg. Although a normal part of the healing process, compensation can result in pain that can be helped with massage and exercise.
How Massage Helps
Massage helps relieve tense muscles, promotes normal restful sleep and can break up adhesions. Researchers from McMaster University have also found that massage reduced inflammation in study participants who had microscopic tears and inflammation as a result of excessive exercise on a stationary bike.
If you have had an injury, massage can help you heal. Please contact us at Silver Chiropractic and Wellness for an appointment.