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How Most Aches and Pains Develop

The Most Common Injury in Chiropractic

When a lot of people think of needing to go to a chiropractor, images that often pop into their head is someone with neck pain after a car accident, back pain after a slip and fall, or pain after another similar event. That is, there is one cause, and the injury and pain is the effect. But much more often than that, I see another type of issue, and it leads into several different symptoms. So in this blog I wanted to explain to you the nature of this injury, what this knowledge means for the recovery process, and how you can minimize the risk for that injury going forward!

As injuries start to accumulate, this can lead to a downward cycle in your health.

As injuries start to accumulate, this can lead to a downward cycle in your health.

Cumulative Injury Cycle

Most injuries and their symptoms – low back pain, headaches, neck pain, etc. – are NOT caused by one event. Far and away, what I see most often in this office is from chronic overuse of part of the spine (or any body part, for that matter). It’s usually a workload that, when done every now and then, the body can handle with no harm done. But when done on day in/day out, week in/week out basis, the body eventually gets into what’s called the Cumulative Injury Cycle. In this cycle, the overworked muscles become weak and tight. This weakness causes them to be more tense than normal, because they have to work harder to get the same job done. As the muscles become more tense, they aren’t able to get the right amount of blood flow. One of the normal responses to decrease blood flow is an addition of scar tissue built into normal tissue. Scar tissue is not strong, durable, or adaptable. As scar tissue continues to develop within the muscles, they become even weaker and the cycle continues downward and downward.

How to Break the Cycle

In order to get out of the cycle of continued muscle weakening and scar tissue development, a few different things have to happen. First, you have to stop overworking that body part. That may sound simple, but if you’re continuing to do things like sit for too long in one setting, look down at your phone too much throughout the day, carry too heavy of a backpack, or whatever the case may be, you’re never giving these injured tissues a chance to heal.

As you continue to change the lifestyle factors that are causing overwork, you also do want to work on stretching tight muscles, relieving muscle tension, and breaking up scar tissue. This can be done by things like simple home stretches, going to someone like a massage therapist, or by using soft tissue therapy at a chiropractor’s office. At Indiana Chiropractic Center, I choose to use a therapy called Active Release Therapy. This is a specific hands-on technique that helps break up scar tissue in the overworked area and get those specific muscles back to normal function.

Another great way to avoid these muscles being overworked is by strengthening them in a safe and healthy way. This can (and should) be done by doing not only the right home exercises, but also by maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle!

When breaking out of the Cumulative Injury Cycle, one last thing to consider is when the spine itself is not moving well, the muscles in the area start to over-compensate. To get the spine moving better, you will want to take a look at specific home stretching exercises (such as the ones HERE). Chiropractic adjustments also help to get the spine moving the way that it should. This helps make the muscles stop overworking, so they aren’t as weak and tight…and you get out of your aches and pains!

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth…

Once scar tissue starts to get woven into normal tissue, it can take a significant amount of energy to break it up and clear it out. That is why I recommend trying to prevent it by doing things like stretches, drinking plenty of water, and avoiding overwork of those body parts as much as possible. Your body will thank you in the long run!


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