Ever injured your neck in a car accident or at work? Here in AZ, many patient are sent by their employers to occupational medical clinics. The first option here is usually some medications and a “watch and wait” approach. So what’s wrong with that?
Well, if you understand injuries and the way that the soft tissues of the body work, then you know that this is probably one of the worst approaches to take. The anti-inflamatories usually used actually interfere with the healing process and the inactivity that is recommended allows the fascia at the heart of the injury tightens up. With time (and no treatment), these tight areas become permanent.
Alterations in the fascia’s ability to slide affects the muscles. The muscles then aren’t able to move properly and support the joints they are associated with. Then the joints lose movement and become painful and send pathological signals up to the brain. Quite the mess.
So, back to the original question; what’s wrong with anti-inflamatories and rest immediately after an injury? It creates an ideal situation to make the problem chronic.
Which brings us to this study, which further supports this concept, finding that in those who had a work related neck injury, they had almost 2 1/2 times the risk of having “troublesome” neck pain 6 or 12 months later. By this time the injury is much more difficult to treat to resolution.
The bottom line is that it is never a good idea to limit movement after an injury (provided a fracture or more serious injury has not occurred) and that, if possible, you should seek care sooner rather than later. And make sure you find a provider who is going to work on both the muscles, fascia AND the joints to make sure that injury has the greatest likelihood of being put behind you.