by Jennifer Dillon PT. R. MSc (PT)
With the increasing research on the benefits of movement and exercise, it is inevitable we will be forced to succumb to the occasional ache and pain. Although we wish otherwise, not all aches can be willed away. Sometimes all an ache or pain needs is some rest, other times they require a bit of guidance or we can find ourselves battling a reoccurring injury. Typically, the sooner we tackle a problem the easier it is to handle – this goes for our injuries as well. We categorize injuries into acute, subacute, and chronic – with acute being 0-3 days and chronic being anything over 3 months. In terms of the above timeline, the later the stage you intervene, the harder the injury gets to rehabilitate and the longer we can find ourselves on the sidelines.
The original frontline treatment of PRICE (protection, rest, ice, compression, elevation) for acute injuries has recently transitioned to a more dynamic and active approach to recovery. This approach is referred to as optimal loading, with load referring to the amount of force that can be applied to the tissue. Introducing load in the form of light activity at the appropriate times has been shown to decrease recovery time and improve strength restoration post-injury. The combination of catching an injury early and introducing activity at the appropriate time can help us get back to our daily activities as soon as we can. It is important to note rest is still very important and the introduction of activity at the appropriate time is key. This is why it is important to seek the guidance of a Physiotherapist to ensure you are giving your body the best chance to repair while reducing the risk for re-injury.