the three phases of healing

dealing with injury

After an injury, your body begins to heal in three separate and distinct phases – the Inflammatory Phase, the Repair Phase and the Remodeling Phase. For the best long-term results and recovery from injury, it is essential that your body is allowed to heal properly and receives the correct type of care appropriate for each phase of healing.

When your body is injured, it immediately begins the healing process. The first reaction is usually pain and swelling and thus begins the first phase of healing, the Inflammatory Phase.

Protect the injured area! = Don’t Use It and Don’t Move It

This Inflammatory Phase lasts from 0 to 3 days typically and your body is really just trying to immobilize the injured area and prevent you from injuring yourself further.

Next begins the second phase of healing, the Repair Phase. During this phase, your body begins putting down “glue” in the injured tissues that were torn, broken or in need of repair. This process can last for up to 6 months depending upon the severity of your injuries.

When tissues are in the Repair Phase of healing, they may not be ready for Physical Therapy or other forms of intense active rehabilitative procedures. They are just not strong enough or healed well enough yet. This is why starting Physical Therapy too soon following and injury can actually make your condition worse.

healing is a process

In the final phase of healing, the Remodeling Phase, body tissues have healed

adequately and can begin to be strengthened. This final phase of healing can typically last from 6 months to 1 year.

Multiple factors may effect or delay the Three Phases of Healing process including the location of injury, type of injured tissue, function of that tissue and the extent to which the tissue is damaged.

For all these reasons, it is quite common to have different areas of the body healing at different rates. This means one part of your body may be healing quickly and already in the Remodeling Phase while another may still be stuck in the Repair Phase laying down new scar tissue.

The Three Phases of Healing is our body’s specific scientific protocol for repairing itself. We all heal the same way but not necessarily at the same rate.

home exercises and stretching

In the Second Phase of Healing (Repair Phase), we begin to incorporate Home Exercises and Stretching in order to stimulate the injured tissues to heal in the proper alignment. Remember, when scar tissue is first put down, it’s like your body is just filling in all the injured tissue gaps with glue. Unfortunately, the new scar tissues being formed are much inferior to the body’s original tissues in that scar tissue is not nearly as flexible nor as strong as the tissue it is replacing and is often more prone to re-injury.

If you have ever had a bad cut, scrape or burn, you quickly noticed that the replacement tissue formed was definitely not the same as the original surrounding tissue. It looks a little different. It feels different. It might be thicker, smoother or even more sensitive to touch. Plain and simple, scar tissue is inferior to the original tissue it’s replacing.

Home Exercises, Stretching Handouts and Other Recommendations are essential to help make sure that the newly forming tissue fibers heal in the same direction as the original skeletal muscle tissues. This helps maximize your future body strength, flexibility and function as well as minimizing the chances of re-injury.

neuromuscular re-education

Neuromuscular Re-education, Therapeutic Exercises and other Active Care Treatments begin in the Third Phase of Healing (Remodeling Phase). Active scar tissue formation is essentially now complete and the new tissues are ready to be strengthened and flexibility increased.

Therapeutic Exercises are movements and activities designed to restore function, increase strength and increase flexibility. They also help improve range of motion and decrease pain.

Neuromuscular Re-Education is focused on improving balance and coordination. Wobble Board, Resistance Training and other activities performed by the patient in office, and under supervision, are considered Active Care.

nonsurgical spinal decompression


Nonsurgical Spinal Decompression (NSD) is a very successful, specific treatment for patients who have been diagnosed with herniated, bulging, degenerative and/or “slipped” discs. Nonsurgical Spinal Decompression works by gradually reducing the pressure inside the injured disc by slowly pulling and relaxing on the affected area.

By definition, a herniated or protruding disc is a condition where the gel-like center of the disc has migrated through the layers of the annulus fibrosis. This can cause mechanical pressure on the neighboring structures and trigger chemical reactions resulting in pain and inflammation. These mechanical and chemical changes can irritate the nearby nerves which then produce numbness or tingling in the effected arms or legs.

Nonsurgical Spinal Decompression is used for patients diagnosed with spinal herniated discs, bulging discs and/or degenerative disc disease. These conditions are often the result of direct spinal trauma, car accidents, work injuries, lifting injuries and other less obvious cause and effect relationships. In most cases, Nonsurgical Spinal Decompression is completely painless and patients often fall asleep during the treatment.

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