Without prompt treatment, acute injuries are at risk of becoming chronic and causing long term pain, inflammation, and overall discomfort. Oftentimes, these lasting injuries emerge following periods of joint or muscle overuse without accessory movements to help support and strengthen the area. A chronic injury can occur anywhere on the body, but often include chronic shoulder instability, chronic knee pain, chronic tendonitis, or chronic back pain. Patients who participate in certain sports or exercises are at risk of developing a chronic injury from accumulated damage and repetitive movements. They are not, however, the only ones at risk. Repetitive movements are also found in the office, where hours of desk work with poor posture and wrist tension can easily lead to carpal tunnel, chronic neck pain, and chronic back pain.
When pain emerges as a result of repetitive movement, it is called an overuse injury. These injuries often occur due to muscular imbalances that put a joint or muscle under undue strain that it’s ultimately unable to support. If an overuse injury is not allowed to recover and appropriately strengthened, it can develop into a chronic injury. It's important for the patient to minimize the cumulative trauma that's occurring from acute or overuse injuries as quickly as possible. This includes resting the affected limb frequently, supporting it with gentle rehabilitative exercises that may include stretching and strengthening, or receiving professional treatment for chronic pain and joint degeneration.
The most effective way to treat and prevent chronic injuries is to pursue daily activities that put the body through a variety of mobility and strengthening exercises. For athletes, adding accessory work like yoga, rock climbing, or informed S&C to their main pursuits are good ways to ensure that muscles and joints are forced to strengthen through an expanded range of motion. For office workers with chronic pain and injuries, taking regular desk breaks, stretching, and walking can go a long way. Adding in a couple sessions of resistance training each week combined with a healthy, whole food diet ensures your muscles and bones are able to continue supporting you for the rest of your life.
Chronic injuries often require a bit of extra help to get them on the road to recovery. At AFC Physical Medicine & Chiropractic Centers, our team can administer physical therapy, massage therapy, trigger point therapy, and chiropractic care to reduce pain in the affected joint or limb. Because these injuries are chronic, the patient may require many years of pain treatment to ensure partial or complete relief.