Defining Injury

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we define injury. Most often my clients discuss and want treatment for injury only during the pain stage. Very rarely do they consider injury to be a decrease in their range of motion, a shortened stride, a weird though painless sensation in a hand or leg or hip. And, of course, when we ignore those things (when we don’t treat the actual injury) it later manifests as pain. I guess what I’m trying to say is that injury isn’t always initially an uber-painful experience.

If we give our toe a good bash against the leg of a chair it hurts, of course, but later in the day we forget about it – because it has stopped hurting. However, more often than not, there is some residual tissue restriction in the toe area that can later (not necessarily, but possibly) cause mystery foot pain which comes and goes, sometimes for years. Crazy, no? If I didn’t see it so often, I would say yes.

I think this is why I’m so fanatical about self-care and about having clients come in so soon after any kind of unfortunate mishap. In my experience (both as patient and provider), getting in to see your bodyworker within two-six weeks after falling off your bike and cranking your shoulder makes the difference between a three-four session and six-eight month recovery time. It may sound crazy but it’s true. And it makes sense, of course, because everything I say always makes sense . . . the longer injury lives in your body, the longer it has to really work itself into your body. It’s like a burrowing little worm and once it gets to a certain depth, extracting it becomes both complex and uncomfortable.

Anyway, that’s my rationale for defining injury significantly more broadly than is our usual wont to do. What’s yours?

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Isabel Spradlin
Isabel Spradlin
Isabel Spradlin is a Registered Nurse (RN), Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), and abdominal adhesion specialist in Portland, OR. She specializes in educating people about manual treatment (massage) for abdominal pain and dysfunction, especially when it is adhesion related. Please see the "Programs" page to see her offerings.

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