There is no doubt that the human body can be resilient. The body is capable of recovering from amazing amounts of damage, including broken bones. Perhaps because of this, many people feel that physiotherapy treatment can only speed up recovery and if they are not elite athletes then simply letting nature take its course is the best, and most cost-effective choice for them.
Speed of recovery, however, is only one very small measure of physiotherapy success and fails to fully represent how important proper treatment is. Here are a few things about injury healing you may not have been aware of.
1. Scar Tissue is more likely to form without treatment.
Scar tissue can cause ongoing pain and stiffness in skin, muscles and ligaments. Physiotherapy can prevent excess scarring through advice regarding movement, massage and other hands-on treatment.
2. Your ability to sense the position of your body, known as proprioception, is often damaged after an injury and can be retrained.
Impaired proprioception is a major factor in reinjury. If you’ve ever heard someone say “my knee/ankle/shoulder still doesn’t feel 100%” then this could be why. Physiotherapy treatment will aim to restore proprioception as a part of standard rehabilitation.
3. Once healing has finished, your body may not be quite the same as before.
Injured ligaments may be weaker, torn muscles and joints may be stiffer and tighter. While the original pain may resolve, there may still be some residual issues that need to be addressed to prevent reinjury.
4. You may have picked up some bad habits while waiting for the injury to heal.
While in pain, we often change the way we do things, which can lead to the development of poor movement patterns and muscle imbalances. Even though the pain has gone, these new patterns can persist and create further problems down the road.
5. Injuries don’t always heal completely.
On rare occasions, circumstances may prevent an injury from healing fully. The most serious example of this would be a fracture that cannot heal if the bone is not kept still enough. Other factors that may prevent an injury from healing include poor circulation, diabetes, insufficient care of the injury and poor nutrition.
Your physiotherapist can assess your injury and develop a treatment plan that will both restore you to the best possible function and prevent further injuries.