Everyone deals with an injury at some point throughout life. Most will occur when adding a new activity to their routine (shoveling snow in the winter), doing something they should not (thinking they are 18 again), or trying to go to heavy to fast. These injuries will heal with RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation, or with a few visits to their chiropractor.
What about the injuries that just seem to always come back, the ones that never completely go away? What causes reoccurring muscle strains or pulls? Why do we seem to always pull the same hamstring or strain the same shoulder? To answer this we need to look at how Active Release Techniques (ART) explains muscle injuries.
When injuries occur the body lays down scar tissue to patch the site of injury. If enough time and care is given to the site than the body will replace this scar tissue with normal, fully functioning muscle tissue. If we continue to stretch, work, use or even eat inflammatory foods the scar tissue will thicken causing the muscles to become shorter and weaker since they can not contract as they should.
You can think of your muscles like roads. When a hole or divot occurs in a road, the city sends out a crew to patch it up. If it is aloud to dry and become part of the road than the road becomes smooth again. If more and more cars drive over the patch the more likely the patch will change shape and need more asphalt to fill the divot. Our muscles work in a similar way.
When our muscles become short and weak tendons become stressed and tendinitis can set in. Range of motion of joints become decreased, strength is lost, and pain can increase and even occur in others areas. The cycle continues over and over, causing reoccurring chronic injuries.
How do we stop the cycle?
Myofascial release techniques like Active Release and Graston. These techniques help heal the tendons and muscles in pain and help eliminate the scar tissue that has developed causing the pain. So, if you have a recurring injury or next time you just pull a muscle find an ART or Graston specialist in your area and scrap the scar tissue before it really becomes a problem.
Yours in health,
Dr. Justin Hildebrand