Old injuries can play a painful role in our futures. Unfortunately, the injury has happened – that can’t be erased. Time continues forward and life continues on. The body may have completely healed from this injury or it may not have. Regardless, the brain has experienced this and has now created stronger nerve pathways to this area of injury.
The stronger nerve pathway is similar to learning to write with your right hand vs. your left. The dominant hand gets the training, leading to stronger neurological connections. This works in your favour in this case, but not in the case of injuries.
In the case of injuries, the stronger pathway means that you are able to feel things from that area of the body much easier. And because it is associated with an injury from your past, it is most likely a thing your body wants you to avoid. The brain perceives this information as threatening or dangerous, leading to pain. Often it is a similar pain as the old injury was due to the memory / pathway.
Interestingly, even when the pain is extreme, the old injury may be safe / not newly injured. The pain can be a way for your body to scare you into avoiding hurting it again – a warning mechanism. A Chiropractor who knows your body and your injury patterns can help you navigate this painful time and encourage you towards recovery.
Back injuries can be especially prone to create suffering in the future due to the amount of nerves travelling through the area and their complexity. Stronger nerve pathways – stronger connection for the brain to connect to the injury. Learning how to address these injuries is very important at any stage of healing and recovery.
What can you do about old injuries when they hurt?
As a Chiropractor, I help people manage with their old injuries every day in my Caledonia practice. By analyzing the movements and reflexes of their body as a whole, it is possible to determine the best way to guide the patient towards their normal again.
What can you do about old injuries on the better days?
During the better days, it is important to continue working on good healing habits. This may be specific to the injury or more general towards healthy behaviours. Chiropractic is an amazing way to improve and work on an old injury, even when it is not painful. Often times this is referred to as maintenance care. The patients acknowledge an area of problem within their body, and so do efforts to maintain its ability to function, move, and to try and avoid more recurrences.
Another important aspect is to help the brain relearn from the area of the old injury. This includes learning to properly move the area and learning to trust nerve information coming from that area again.
How can you help the brain relearn from the area of the old injury?
Even touching an injured area in the past gently can create an intense amount of pain. It is important however to learn how to trust this information coming to the brain from the old injury as not dangerous. Chiropractors are very good at helping people learn how to trust their old injuries again. I talk with patients about this topic often in my practice.
There is a subconscious aspect to an old injury. This can be addressed at the injury location or at the brain directly. Using meditative techniques or hypnotherapy techniques can be helpful. One of our Caledonia Naturopaths, Dr. Kirsten Almon, incorporates hypnotherapy aspects into her practice.
I have even used mantras, or repetitive phrases, to assist me with trusting my body as it was healing and recovering from old injuries. I would say “My power is on, my body is healing” while feeling in great pain and discomfort, having trouble moving.
How do you learn to properly move the area?
There are many ways to do this depending on the injury. In Chiropractic, we are always analyzing a person’s movements and reflexes. In doing so, we often can identify improper ways they are doing things, or improper patterns. The Chiropractic adjustment is done to help change the bad pattern and to help create new ones. This requires repetition due to the brain holding on to old movement habits. Identifying the bad habit with the patient is important as well, so that they can learn to avoid creating it or do behaviours that would help move towards a new pattern.
I hope this has given you confidence to work on your old injuries from a new perspective. Work on it in good and bad times at the injury location, but also from the nerve pathways / brain.