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Am I doing damage to myself?


Perhaps one of the most common questions I am asked as a chiropractor is “when can I get back to my activity”?  The biggest concern of course is doing more damage by returning too early to your sport or activity, and making things worse.  So how do you know when you will make things worse?

The clear majority of the time, injuries will not create long term damage if they are properly treated and rehabbed properly.  This of course, means getting rid of the pain and fixing the underlying imbalance that created the problem in the first place.

Let’s use knee pain as an example.  Most knee pain is created by weakness of certain muscles, and tightness of others that creates an imbalance in the knee that causes friction and rubbing. The analogy of a blister, where constant rubbing causes inflammation and pain but no long- term damage if the rubbing stops allowing it time to heal fits our example of knee pain.  If you keep creating friction on the blister, it will not be allowed to heal and continue to create problems down the road.

As a chiropractor, my job is to get rid of the inflammation causing the pain, and fix the biomechanical imbalance that is creating the friction in the first place so that the pain goes away and stays away, and allow people to get back to do doing what they love to do.

For people who want to return to activities, they must realize that if ‘the rubbing of the blister’ is still happening, the inflammation will come back if they aggravated it – but if they continue to work fixing the problem it will not create long term damage

So, returning to sport after most injuries will not cause long term damage, but it will likely slow full resolution of the problem down.  Meaning, an injury that might have taken 3-4 weeks to heal with no activity, will now take 6-8 weeks to heal but you get to do the activity you love in the meantime.  It is a trade-off, and you must be comfortable with the long-term risks and rewards.

In general, the longer you have an injury or imbalance, the longer it takes to fix it and get rid of it.  My best advice is to always get aches and pains assessed BEFORE they turn into big problems, as they are always easier to fix and you don’t miss time doing what you love.

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