Acute Pain Management

Some helpful advice at this stage of your care include:

  • Ice (10 minutes on, 20 minutes off). This is suggested for the first 24-36 hours following injury or pain
  • Alternation of ice and heat (10 minutes ice, 20 minutes heat). This can be done over the next 2-3 day period.
Hot and cold packs can aid in tissue repairHot and cold packs can aid in tissue repair

Stages of Tissue Repair

Stage 1 – Active Congestion: 12-72 hours

  1. Inflammation due to release of chemical mediators.
  2. Swelling restricts motion and increases pain.
  3. Pain causes a reflex muscle spasm.

Ice at this stage acts as a pain killer and muscle relaxant by restricting excess blood flow and decreasing the metabolic rate of cells.

Stage 2 – Passive Congestion: Begins on day 2 to 4

  1. Restoration of normal blood flow, but escaped inflammation remains.
  2. Mobility increases removal of swelling, improves nutrition and increases oxygen to the area. Immobility prolongs the swelling, increases risk of scar tissue formation, contractions and adhesions.
  3. Adjustments restore motion which acts like a joint pump stimulating the circulation of joint fluid.
  4. Adjustments stimulate nutrient flow within the discs of the spine.

Stage 3 – Repair: Day 5 to 3-6 weeks

  1. Scar tissue deposited.
  2. Effects of Immobility – leads to increased scar tissue that is haphazard and random, progressive shortening of scar tissue, chronic stiffness and an increased likelihood of degeneration.
  3. Effects of Motion – improvement of alignment of connective tissues to help support the joint.

Stage 4 – Remodelling: Begins at 3-6 weeks, usually takes 3-14 weeks but may last up to 1 year with severe injury

  1. Body attempts to re-align scar tissue along directions of stress.
  2. Body attempts to restore regular undulations in connective tissue which permit it to elongate and recover to its original length.

Following the acute stage of pain and discomfort we will be helping you implement a series of gentle exercises that may be of assistance in stretching, increasing strength and overall assisting in the supportive process necessary to maintain a healthy spine.

In the recovery process there is a period of vulnerability. This is the period where pain has decreased but tissues are not completely healed. It typically occurs around the 2 week to 6 week mark.

If at any stage you have any questions or concerns please discuss this with one of us at Shirley Rd Chiropractic.