How to Heal Musculoskeletal Injuries
Have you ever had a pain in your shoulder and not known what to do about it? It is just painful enough to keep you from doing certain things but not enough to keep you from moving it at all. It’s getting worse. You’re beginning to experience difficulty pulling a shirt over your head. Now you move it less because it hurts. If you don’t get some treatment you may find yourself unable to move your shoulder at all.
Everyone eventually has a musculoskeletal injury. They twist their knee, or bend over to pick something up causing their back to freeze up, or spend too many hours on the computer, leading to carpal tunnel syndrome. While each injury is unique in some ways, they also have similarities.
Injuries occur because for one moment you weren’t paying attention to what you were doing, you were trying to overdo it, or your muscles got out of balance. In order to heal the injury, you do the opposite of what caused it. Stop overdoing it, pay closer attention to what you are doing, and find a way to get your muscles in balance.
It is rare that I recommend icing an injury. Ice stops the natural inflammation the body creates to bring healing. I only find it to be effective when you have so much swelling and redness that the pain is intolerable.
From the Chinese medicine perspective, injury causes energy blockage. Chronic pain happens when the energy blockage isn’t dealt with. Acupuncture is a wonderful way to treat/cure an energy blockage. Last year, Jason (my ex-husband) twisted his ankle badly while working. He came to the office immediately for acupuncture. The acupuncture in his case was early enough to prevent him from having to walk with crutches for weeks.
The key to healing an injury is to become familiar with the muscles that are involved in moving the affected joint. Simple mechanics dictate that the stronger muscles will pull more on a joint than the weaker muscles. In order to heal an injury, you need to strengthen the supporting muscles of that joint and make sure it is receiving even force from all involved muscles. Shoulder and neck injuries occur because we tend to lean forward most of the time with our activities, causing the muscles at the front of the shoulder and chest to be somewhat stronger than the muscles in the back. Gently strengthening the back muscles will allow more balanced movement. It is always necessary to do some kind of corrective exercise for healing. If you don’t know how, find a good physical therapist or Pilates instructor to guide your movements.
Body chemistry such as hormones and neurotransmitters contribute to chronic pain and musculoskeletal injury. If you investigate more deeply you will also find a connection to some emotional or spiritual process.