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The Four Phases of Injuries

The Four Phases of Injuries

In general, if an injury is a minor interruption in muscular function, it will generally take a week to repair itself.  For a moderate injury, recovery time can take from 1 week to 1 month which should be examined by a musculoskeletal specialist (orthopedic doctor or chiropractic physician).  For major injuries, more than one month is needed to recover but it is hard to determine exactly how long it will take.

So how do you determine just how bad your injury is?  Well I am glad you asked because this is one of the most overlooked aspects of injuries.  There are four phases of overuse syndrome/micro trauma.  Phase one is determined by when you experience pain.  A phase one injury is when you experience pain, discomfort or tightness after athletic activity.  The pain is not very serious but there is a conscious awareness of the injured site.  These are mild injuries and usually heal within the first two stages of recovery time.  Most of the time, these types of injuries will respond well to anti-inflammatory compounds, ice, active movement, CHIROPRACTIC MEDICINE, and a little bit of time.

Phase two syndromes usually present pain approximately three quarters into the workout or towards the end of activity.  This is when we know that you are past minor injury and the injury is either not healing properly or becoming more serious.  This in also when athletes should seek examination of the injury to determine its severity.  For younger athletes, I recommend to parents and coaches that they should pull young athletes from the activity in an attempt to prevent further more serious injury when this occurs.

Phase three is where we see impaired performance.  The pain is consistent throughout the exercise or workout and athletes usually can not finish their activity.  In this phase, injuries start to get serious.  The danger about phase three injuries is that you will subconsciously start to compensate to relieve stress from the injured area causing further injury by placing abnormal stress in a dysfunctional manner on your body.  We call this a closed kinetic chain reaction.  If you injure your left knee, you will put more pressure on your right leg and hip causing spinal and muscular dysfunction on the opposite side of your body.

Phase four is the most serious type of injury.  In phase four, your body can not function normally, and patients usually need crutches for lower extremity injuries and slings or casts for upper extremity injuries.  These injuries also involve a closed kinetic chain reaction in the body and can be difficult to treat.  This is where I see hip injuries cause shoulder pain and a dropped arch cause migraines if left untreated or undiagnosed.

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