3 Phases of Healing: How to Get the Best Outcome After an Injury

July 26, 2023Kolton Opdahl
InjuriesPhases of Healing

In today’s blog we will discuss the 3 Phases of Healing: How to Get the Best Outcome After an Injury. Recovering from an injury to a soft tissue, such as a muscle or tendon, takes time. Being patient with your body after an injury can be frustrating. You may have questions such as: How long does it take? How can I expedite the healing process? How can I get the best outcome for my injuries? We won’t be able to get rid of your pain with today’s blog, but we can provide you with more knowledge on your injuries and what you can do. The 3 phases of healing will be described in detail so you will understand what your body is going through and what you can do to assist it.

What You Need to Know About Each Stage of Healing

When experiencing pain, it’s natural to desire relief, and there are many option that can serve as a solution for various types of discomfort. These injuries can consist of soft tissue damage, such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia. During the healing process, these tissues go through three distinct phases: the acute inflammatory phase, the repair phase, and the remodeling phase. Each phase requires a different treatment approach, and regenerative medicine can help accelerate the healing process.

Inflammation Phase of Healing

Let’s talk about the phases of healing. During the first 24-72 hours of an injury, an inflammatory response has begun at your injured area. This can include swelling, muscle spasm, and guarding. Most people associate this phase with pain. If you are experiencing pain in an area of your body, then you are most likely in the inflammation phase. If it persists, then chronic inflammation results and then chronic non-healing or poorly healing tissue is the outcome. At Opdahl Regenerative Medicine, it is our duty to help move you through the inflammation as quickly as possible in a natural manner by using your body’s natural repair process.

Repair Phase of Healing

The second, in the phases of healing is the repair phase. This phase typically lasts 6-8 weeks and can begin shortly after the first 2-3 days. Often it will overlap with the inflammation phase. During this time, your body lays down new tissue within the injured area and repairs nerve connections to damaged tissue. This is also the time when undesirable scar tissue may begin to form. During the Repair Phase it is our primary goal to:

  • Acceleration of the repair and strengthening of damaged tissue
  • Prevention of excessive scar tissue buildup, which can lead to recurring injuries
  • Help in overall recovery, no matter how severe the injury is
  • Decrease pain
  • Increase delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the injured area
  • Increase range of motion

Remodel Phase of Healing

The Remodeling Phase is the complete restoration of healthy function to the injured area, and may take as long as 3-12 months after your injury. Don’t be fooled into thinking you are healed just because you no longer have pain. Connective tissue heals over time. During the Remodeling Phase, we are correcting faulty spinal mechanics to achieve complete restoration of connective tissue health. The benefits provided by physical therapy include:

  • Thickening (strengthening) of damaged tissue to prevent recurring injury
  • Reduction of scar tissue buildup (accumulation of scar tissue can lead to recurring injury)
  • Restoration of full elasticity and flexibility to muscles and joints
  • Improving faulty mechanics of your joints and removing compensation patterns
  • Improved blood circulation and oxygenation to the entire body
  • Minimize development of chronic pain
  • Maintaining your range of motion
  • Work retraining or work simulated activities that help you stay on the job or return safely

What is the Best Treatment Option For Each of the Phases of Healing?

The process of healing can differ from person to person, meaning that recovery time may vary, and one person may recover faster than another. As a result, Joint and Arthritis Pain Relief provides customized treatments based on the individual’s stage of healing. We are almost through, 3 Phases of Healing: How to Get the Best Outcome After an Injury. The following outlines the prescribed treatments for each phase of healing:

Treatments During the Inflammation Phase

During the acute phase, our primary objective is to alleviate pain and inflammation. The following treatments are commonly recommended for acute injuries:

  • Rest: It is advisable to take it easy to prevent further damage.
  • Ice: There are various ways to use ice to treat an acute injury, such as ice massage, cold gel packs, cold packs worn over the affected area, and even using ice cubes in a bag. Frozen peas can also be used as an alternative.
  • Compression: Applying an Ace bandage or an elastic compression sleeve can help to reduce swelling by putting pressure on the affected tissue.
  • Elevation: Raising the injured body part can aid in decreasing both pain and swelling.

Treatments During the Repair Phase

During this phase, the collagen that is produced can be prone to stretching and tearing, which can lead to a wide range of symptoms. Therefore, the physical therapy provided in the initial few weeks may incorporate any of the following treatments:

  • Regenerative Cellular Therapy
  • PRP Injections
  • Prolotherapy Injections
  • Physical therapy
  • Chiropractic
  • Massage therapy to improve flexibility
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Nutritional assistance to facilitate the repair of soft tissues
  • Orthotic therapy to address any imbalances

As the pain subsides during the repair phase, we encourage patients to gradually increase their activity levels.

Treatments During the Remodel Phase

During this stage, many of the treatments mentioned earlier are still continued, and additional treatments may be added. For instance, functional exercises and activity levels are often increased at this phase. Athletes may also be able to resume their sports activities during this time.

3 Phases of Healing: How to Get the Best Outcome After an Injury

Individualized Care Plans

Customizing treatment plans to suit individual patient needs is crucial to our approach. We take into account the patient’s specific problem and the stage of their healing process.

For instance, a 14-year-old soccer athlete with sudden low back pain would receive a different treatment approach than a 55-year-old with a 10-year history of neck pain.

Our ultimate goal is to facilitate our patients’ return to their work, sports, or daily activities as soon as feasible.

It is essential to keep in mind that health is a continuous journey, not a fixed destination. Hence, obtaining the best healthcare can yield significant benefits in the long run. Thanks for taking the time to read todays blog, 3 Phases of Healing: How to Get the Best Outcome After an Injury.

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