Many times when a person goes to
the Chiropractor he or she is under the impression a hone is out of
place and pinching a nerve. He or she believes that if the hone is
put back in place the problem will be permanently fixed. This could
not he any farther from the truth. On most occasions, the pain is a
result of injury to the soft tissues of the body. Soft tissues are
basically everything lout the hone. This includes muscles,
ligaments, tendons, joint capsules, discs, nerves and fascia. After
being injured, soft tissues heal by a relatively complex process,
involving three phases.
PHASE ONE -
INFLAMMATION. Normal soft tissues
have a crisscross pattern that gives them strength in all
directions of force. When soft tissues are torn, their fibers are
disrupted in a manner similar to the tearing of a piece of paper.
Once these tissues have torn, they will heal in three distinct
phases. The first step is the acute inflammation phase, also known
as swelling. This phase and swelling will last for about 72 hours
after an injury. During this phase, the tissues continue to swell
causing more pain and discomfort to the injured area.
PHASE TWO -
REGENERATION. The second phase of
healing, called regeneration, begins about three days after an
injury. During this phase, the tears in the tissues begin to
accumulate small protein cells called collagen. These cells create
a glue that fills the gap in the tissues caused by the tear. This
laying down of the collagen glue during the regeneration phase
will take six to eight weeks to complete. After this phase no more
glue will be laid down. The glue is what will become scar tissue.
When the glue is making scar tissue in the injured area it is
being laid down in a weaker more irregular pattern and not in the
stronger, criss-cross consistent pattern. After all the glue is in
place and the scar tissue has been formed, the healing process is
still not yet complete.
PHASE THREE -
REMODELING. The final phase is the
remodeling phase. This phase takes up to 12 months. During this
phase, the irregular pattern of scar tissues will line up in the
proper direction to create a better quality of healing. Therefore,
remodeling is a motion-dependent phase, that governs the quality
of healing in the tissues.
The problem is that in some people not all of the scar tissues will
properly remodel and, therefore, will never totally heal, leaving
residual problems in the tissues. There are three main problems that
result from soft tissue injuries that do not heal properly.
The first problem is the scar tissues themselves. Scar tissues are
deficient in the criss-cross pattern that makes the tissues strong.
This is similar to the crisscross pattern of cloth. If cloth were
made in a haphazard pattern, our clothing would be unable to hold up
to daily wear and tear. The same is true in the scar tissues of the
body. This means there is less a person can do before they
experience a flare-up of pain and spasm.
The second problem is that scar tissues are less elastic or stiffer
than the original tissues. These new scar tissues are so poorly
aligned that when they are stressed the fibers do not move the way
they should. In addition, these scar tissues tend to become "glued"
together. Because of the poor alignment and the gluing together, the
scar tissues become stiffer, weaker and less resilient.
The third and most important problem is that the scar tissues are
more pain sensitive than the original tissues. There are two reasons
for this increase in sensitivity. The first reason is there are more
nerves found in scar tissue than in normal tissue making them more
sensitive to pain. The second reason is these nerves are not
completely healthy. They are more sensitive to the normal chemicals
that make our nerves work. This is similar to a car alarm system
that is set too sensitively, so that someone lightly brushing
against the car causes the alarm to sound. The same scenario happens
to people with this condition when normal activities cause them to
have pain. These nerves have been found to be up to one thousand
times more sensitive than normal nerves. People with this condition
are able to predict weather changes because they can detect the
small changes in the barometric pressure of the atmosphere.
How DOES CHIROPRACTIC HELP?
When there is an injury to the
spine from cither major traumas, such as whiplash-type injuries, or
from the minor traumas of day-to-day life, it is the tissues in and
around the joints of the spine and body that are torn. Chiropractors
find the areas of the spine and body that have increased stiffness
and are less elastic. The Chiropractor identifies these areas as
joints that have been injured and have lost their mobility due to
the stiffer scar tissue that has formed in the joint. This prevents
the joint from working properly. Chiropractors attempt to gently
move those scarred tissues using a technique called an adjustment in
an effort to help the scarred tissues remodel better. Without motion
the tissues will not remodel properly. The goal is to get the best
healing possible. Without proper motion, we cannot obtain the
optimum remodeling needed for the best healing.
Chiropractic adjustments help to create more motion in the fibrous
scar tissue, which allows more of the scar tissue to remodel. This
means the patient will have a better quality of healing with less
chance of flare-ups of pain and spasms during times of increased use
or stress on the tissues that have been injured. Chiropractic
adjustments move joints through their entire range of motion
allowing all of the injured tissues the chance to properly remodel.
This encourages for the best healing which will allow the patient to
have the least amount of weakness, the least amount of stiffness,
and the least amount of soreness with a smaller chance of flare-ups
of pain and spasms from everyday activities of daily living.