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Have you ever been injured and wondered if physiotherapy can help? Or have you thought to yourself “I’ll just rest a bit and it should heal on it’s own”? Then a week goes by, and then two weeks, then before you know it, it’s been over a month and you are still dealing with the same pain.

To better understand when you should seek the advice of a physiotherapist, let’s look at how the body heals itself. There are 4 stages of healing post-injury: the acute stage (protection phase); subacute stage (repair phase); late stage (remodelling phase); and final stage (ongoing repair and remodelling). The acute stage lasts anywhere from 2 to 4 days. This is when your body tries to protect you from further damage as you experience the initial (and often worst) pain, bleeding, and swelling. These symptoms are your body’s way of telling you to take it easy! In the subacute phase, your body transitions to repairing injured tissues. This phase lasts up to 6 weeks. In the late stage, your body continues to repair, however, you should be experiencing less pain in this stage and are able to place increased load or weight through healing tissues. This stage can last anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months. During the final stage, which can last 3 to 12 months, you will be focusing on improving the quality of new movement and preventing re-injury. Not every injury requires treatment into the final stage. In fact, the sooner you seek treatment, the less likely you are to require a lengthy treatment plan.

Unfortunately, many people wait until the end of the subacute stage or even the late stage before they seek treatment from a physiotherapist. If you are still experiencing a lot of pain or swelling a week after injury, or if your quality of life has diminished in any way (less or disrupted sleep, pain with usual sports or workouts, difficulty or pain with activities of daily living), then you likely need to seek the guidance of a skilled physiotherapist. Seeking early treatment can also benefit you if you continue to experience repetitive injuries, you have new or unusual pain while recovering, or if you are in constant pain. Physiotherapists are trained to assess and diagnose your injury and guide you through recovery with manual (hands-on) therapy and injury-specific exercises. They treat musculoskeletal injuries such as shoulder and knee pain, neck and lower back pain, numbness and tingling in the arms or legs and so much more. Physiotherapists also work well with complementary health care professionals including chiropractors, registered massage therapists and osteopaths.

When you have your health you have a million wishes; when you don’t, you only have one wish (Atumn Calabrese, BODi). In almost 25 years of practice, I have heard so many wishes: I wish I could walk without pain; I wish pain didn’t wake me at night; I wish I could return to soccer, and hockey (insert sport here). A skilled physiotherapist can help you to achieve your physical rehab goals and wishes. Make them a part of yourhealth care team.

 

 

By: Maryann Fabrizio, PT