Understanding the Different Types of Injury

 Injuries -blah! Nobody likes them. The only upside is that we’ve had the pleasure of  meeting  most of you through an unfortunate injury which then led you into our office (see Silver-Lining). The wonderful part of this work comes from all the great people we meet and the ability to put them back out into the world pain free (we hope!)  To do this we must treat each injury that comes through the door differently. Believe it or not, the uniqueness of each injury is part of the treatment. If each injury were the same, then you would not need a therapist. A therapist must dissect the problem and find it’s root cause in order to put the body back into a healthy state.  When looking for the root cause of injuries we will classify the problem in three very distinct ways.  Over the next few months we will explore each of these aspects in more detail, but for now let’s set forth some clarity, shall we.

We separate injury into three types: Trauma, Overuse and Repetitive Strain (we will leave out Structure for the time being)

All sound the same? Well in actuality they are all very different and happen through very different timelines. Understanding this difference can significantly change the WAY in which you heal.

Trauma – First let’s start with the least complicated.  Trauma is impact to the body. Trauma happens when an event occurs that overcomes the body’s adaptability, or breaking point. Usually this is an outside force that enters the body causing tearing and rupture of the tissues, joints and bones. Common examples of this are ankle sprains, whiplash and hard falls.  The treatment for this type of injury is to 1) Allow the tissue to fully repair and 2) Address the ‘guarding’ pattern that was set during the traumatic incident.  Once this guarding pattern is eased, the body will heal much quicker and more fully. This is as much of a ‘nervous system session’ as it is ‘damaged tissue’ session. You need to address both the inhibition AND the tissue damage for the body to clear the trauma.

Overuse Injury – Overuse is working too hard.  An overuse injury comes on when we push our body past it’s limits to an extreme.  Usually this comes about from excessive training – weights, sprints, hills etc. Common examples of this type of injury are strains that won’t heel, hamstring and calf pulls, IT Band injury and Rotator cuff trigger points.  There are often trigger points that refer pain into ‘lines’ of pain through the body. This kind of injury can come on slowly as a tightening of tissue, only to then reach a breaking point where pain becomes intolerable.  This kind of Injury responds well to traditional deep tissue massage and trigger point therapy. This kind of injury is also easily kept at bay with regular bodywork, rolling and stretching.

Repetitive stress injury – RSI is about body shape. This kind of injury is tricky.  It comes on when the body has to stabilize itself in a specific position for long periods of time. Examples of this are: using a computer, driving a car or sitting and standing without breaks.  This often begins as a diffuse ache without a definite injury site. It will usually involve the whole arm, leg, neck or back. Pain can begin the hands and travel up to the neck  The stability pattern will often impede nerve lines and cause another pathology to the body.  These injuries often have a significant environmental issue that needs to be addressed – the chair, car seat or position of the arm.  Treatment is difficult and can take many sessions to locate the primary source of the problem.  Most importantly, these injuries are alleviated with regular fluid movement – breaking the cycle of stability. Our role in these injuries it to get the body moving well so the regular exercise feels good.

Here at Midline we take pride in getting a good history from our clients, so that we know what kind of issue we’re dealing with. Whether Traumatic, Overuse or Repetitive Stress, we have the knowledge and expertise to address the differences in each of these pain scenarios.

I will follow up with more about these types of injuries in subsequent newsletters…enjoy!

Brian Johnson, Owner
Midline Integrative Health

At Midline we are constantly exploring various ways to address pain and dysfunction.  Every case is different, both in history and outcome. Let us know how we might help.