A: There are three phases of healing for most musculoskeletal injuries, and the appropriate use of ice/heat can promote or hinder healing.
Acute Inflammatory phase (48 – 72 hours): Ice or cryotherapy. Swelling, inflammation and pain trigger the cascade of wound healing. Cold constricts vessels to limit swelling and numb pain sensations.
Regeneration Phase (Three days – eight weeks): Heat or thermotherapy. Pain subsided, swelling noticeably reduced. Laying down of new tissue and formation of scar tissue. Heat increases circulation and cellular metabolism to increase oxygen and nutrients to promote healing as well as remove debris and waste products.
Remodeling Phase (Eight weeks and beyond): Heat or thermotherapy. Restoring flexibility and range of motion. Tissue is more extensible and pliable when warm.
Chiropractic care is essential in all phases of healing. Spinal and extremity adjustments maintain proper joint alignment that will reduce pain and inflammation in the acute phase and facilitate the proper laying down of new tissue in the regeneration phase Additional adjustments are beneficial during the remodeling phase to assure that the joints are moving through a full range of motion as the injured tissues remodel. Chiropractic care should be incorporated into the rehabilitation of any injury to the musculoskeletal system to maximize healing and prevent additional complications.
Information provided by Jodi K. Kuhse D.C., D.I.C.C.P., Luellen Chiropractic, 608 Greene St., Suite C, 993-1117.