Do we have medical treatments and cures that will accelerate your body’s ability to heal faster than scientifically possible? We regularly get questions about certain new and novel treatments that are supposed to “have me back running in half the time” or “have me skiing after ligament injury weeks or months before the doctors told me to”. To answer the question simply, NO, we don’t have that. Unfortunately none of us can radically accelerate the body’s ability to heal, but we do have scientifically based techniques and systems for optimizing healing. Let’s look at what really can be done with physical therapy or other interventions. First we can address swelling and edema which tend to limit the body’s ability to heal. When you have a backlog of fluid surrounding a joint blood flow may be restricted. Blood flow is the only way healing occurs. Next, it is vital to optimize mechanics. We are experts at assessing how a joint moves and the forces involved in any activity whether it is walking, running, skiing, cycling, throwing, etc. There are many factors to consider when assessing mechanics, in short, this involves the joints surrounding the area injured, muscular control throughout the entire limb and trunk muscular control. It is also vitally important to alter a person’s habits. What someone does day in and day out including how they sit, how they stand, how they sleep, what they eat, or whether or not they smoke all play a role in how fast someone heals. By bringing these factors to light individuals are able to see what the contributions of their daily habits are to their overall healing. The person is then able to choose what is done in an effort to optimize healing. A fourth component is hands-on or manual therapy. This is one of the most vital components in healing. Most research shows that a combination of manual therapy, exercise and postural changes make the biggest difference in optimizing healing. Hands-on treatment can be anything from soft tissue mobilization for swelling, manual stretching of the joint, joint manipulation and mobilization of scar or stiff connective tissue you. Other things may include hands on guided movement of a joint through a range of motion. Often times the joint has pain with motion when used in a normal manner, but when a particular force is imparted into it a pain pattern changes or goes away.
Simply put, when tissue is placed in an optimum environment it heals at the fastest rate possible. Things we do or don’t do take that tissue into or out of the optimum environment. The more we realize there are no magic bullets or secret techniques that only a few select people possess the more we will realize that healing is under our own control.