Let's talk about injuries and the ways we've beat up our bodies over the years - sprained ankles, pulled hamstrings, concussions, sports injuries - virtually every human has experienced an injury of some kind at some point in their life (and some way more than others). Perhaps you have even noticed that not all injuries are the same, but sometimes what makes them different is really mysterious. Have you ever fallen and hurt yourself to find that you felt good as new after a few days, but that old knee injury from years ago still bothers you?
There are a few variables at play whenever you experience an injury. Let’s break it down quick by understanding what happens when an injury occurs.
A common way someone experiences an injury is due to trauma, either something big like a car accident or something small like stubbing a toe. Injuries can also occur from weakness and dysfunction in the body. If there is a condition that’s causing muscle or ligament instability, the body can likely experience an injury doing normal, everyday activities (hey doc, I went to put on my shoes this morning and then my back spasmed... sound familiar at all?)
When an injury occurs, there are several mechanisms that begin the healing process. Blood cells rush to the scene to begin neutralizing potentially infectious cells, clotting (if necessary), healing, and repair. Sometimes adrenaline is released for the purpose of giving you the energy needed to get out of the way of further harm. This is evident with those injuries where you don’t feel pain until a day or two later.
All injuries need time to heal and often that means the injured area requires a rest period. One way the body ensures you provide this rest period is by sending pain signals to your brain to remind you not to use the area as you normally would while it’s still injured for fear of injuring it further. In response to the pain signals, the brain might often establish another protective mechanism such as a limp. If you aren’t physically able to put weight on an injured joint, there is a higher chance it will heal better without further injury. A joint will fully give out if it senses too much weight is on it when a limp is present.
There is something else to consider in the healing process. If the body is under stress, it is not in a place to heal. It cannot be in fight or flight mode and healing mode at the same time. When the body releases adrenaline after an injury, it’s to get you to a safe place as soon as possible to begin healing. If it senses it is still under stress, it won’t be able to heal. It doesn’t matter if this stress is caused from being hunted by a bear in the wilderness, a work deadline, financial issues, or feeling worried about a loved one. Stress is stress. If a body part is used before healing has completed, it can continue to overstress the area and lead to further injury. This can happen when the full pain of the injury is being masked by the continuous release of cortisol and adrenaline from the stress. Although your mental stress may have nothing to do with the current pain or injury, it can be affecting your body's ability to heal & repair.
What happens when an injury appears healed but then always gets reinjured?
Have you chocked it up to just having a "bad ankle"? Maybe it's just a coincidence? Or are you just unlucky?
Good news - none of those are likely! What we often see is an old brain pattern that wasn’t corrected or 'reset' after healing. Normally, when an injury occurs, the brain will protect it by creating weaknesses so you aren’t likely to use it. Then it is supposed to assess when the injury is no longer present and reverse those injury patterns to allow full strength of that previously injured area. But sometimes the brain doesn't receive all of the messages that the injury is healed and will occasionally trigger old injury patterns during normal use. Things that will block these messages are emotional stress, inflammation, and joint dysfunction aka misalignment, just to name a few.
Here is what we commonly hear from a patient: "I rolled my ankle walking on flat ground. This is the 3rd time it's happened. And it's the same ankle I sprained as a kid." There was seemingly no reason for the ankle to roll or the person to trip other than the injury pattern being triggered and resulting in a temporary weakness of the joint.
How to change this pattern and start healing new + old injuries:
Chiropractic and Neuro Emotional Release technique (NET) are excellent at healing new AND old injuries and resetting injury patterns. A chiropractic adjustment improves function in the nervous system which will allow more accurate messages sent between the brain and body. An adjustment will also properly align a joint in the spine or extremities that was misaligned from the injury and wasn’t able to realign on its own. NET can help remove the emotional stress in the nervous system, triggering fight or flight response and stress hormones that slow or prevent the healing process.
Injury Recall Technique (IRT) changes the brain patterns of old injuries and recalibrates the neurology so it doesn’t continue to malfunction. This is important to get checked because you may experience unnecessary injury at some point, such as rolling a perfectly healthy ankle on flat ground. The only way to know if there is an unresolved injury pattern is to have a chiropractor check using IRT. It’s quick, simple, and painless to assess for and resolve.
Dr. Lydia and Dr. Connor are both trained in full-body chiropractic adjustments, Neuro Emotional Release technique, and Injury Recall Technique. Occasionally, we find patients have reoccurring injuries from longstanding instability and will also need rehab/exercise program after its neurological reset to strengthen the area. All rehab & exercise is provided by the doctors or co-managed with physical therapists.
Pain is a guide for when the injured area is ready for use again
Mental stress from any part of your life may be slowing or preventing the healing process
Injuring the same area repeatedly indicates patterns of instability, weakness and/or stress
Injury patterns in the brain may be to be 'reset' through new neurological information provided by an adjustment, NET, or injury recall technique session
To schedule an appointment with House of Chiropractic and get an assessment for chiropractic, NET, and IRT, you can schedule a consultation here.