Ten Crucial Keys to Recovery and Prevention
© Dane Roubos, D.C. www.BodyMindPeace.com
See After the Cast Comes Off – Overcoming Obstacles to Recovery for a personal story which illustrates some of these principles. While this is written about injuries, almost everything said can apply to physical pain, and most other health conditions as well. These are relatively universal principles when it comes to health.
When we get injured, we hope for a full recovery so we can get on with our lives and keep doing those things we love to do. As any athlete knows, there is more to recovery than just getting rid of the pain. The injured area usually needs to be strengthened and rebalanced.
In addition, there are many aspects of injury and recovery that are not yet well-known in the medical and alternative care systems. These “hidden factors” usually fly under the radar, and go undetected by most methods of evaluation and treatment.
The “bad news” is that failing to find and treat these “hidden factors” can prevent complete healing, and lead to re-injury down the road. The “good news” is that there are many doctors and therapists who are trained in the necessary modalities to detect and resolve these roadblocks to recovery.
Click here for a practitioner search for those modalities I consider most important for injury recovery. This will allow you to find practitioners of CranioSacral Therapy, Lymph Drainage Therapy, and Visceral Manipulation in your area.
Use Appropriate Manual Therapies
Appropriate manual therapies usually provide amazing results. “Appropriate” means the right therapies for the tissues involved and the task at hand. The best therapy is the one that releases the “anchor point,” which is a problem that holds several other dysfunctions in place and prevents complete healing.
It is also important to consider your body’s readiness to receive any particular treatment, especially if there is force involved. If you have joint or tissue restrictions, you will likely need some type of focused manual therapy to release them. This can range from extremely gentle to forceful, depending on the situation and inclinations of those involved.
Are the Meridian Energies Flowing?
The Chinese were definitely on to something. I’ve noticed that there is almost always one or more blocked acupuncture meridians associated with an injury. This can contribute to pain, and slow or incomplete healing. Sometimes it is the “missing link” to full recovery.
I’ve found a particular aspect of CranioSacral Therapy to be amazingly helpful in clearing the meridians, especially when used in concert with the other therapies mentioned here.
Acupuncture by itself will not necessarily do the job. Even if the pain goes away, other components of the injured tissues may need to be addressed before all the “parts” are whole again.
Anything mentioned in this article can prevent complete healing, and may need to be included in the treatment program in order to obtain a full and lasting recovery.
Is Something Stuck?
Every joint, muscle and organ in your body needs its own freedom of movement in order to function well and remain healthy. For the most part, this freedom depends on elastic (stretchable) connective tissues.
Stiff or shortened ligaments in your joints, or fascia in your muscles and organs, will eventually lead to problems if they are not restored to normal function, or close to it.
Injuries and the inflammation that accompanies them usually generate scar tissue as part of the natural healing process. This often must be dealt with if you want a full recovery. See Little-Known Factors in Chronic Pain for an education on this subject.
Full recovery goes beyond feeling better (relief of pain). Full recovery means clearing all aspects of the injury to allow the tissues return to full, normal function. Only then are you protected from future problems and flare-ups resulting from the injury.
There are various types of manual therapies for different purposes. The best manual therapies I’ve found for injury recovery are CranioSacral, Lymphatic, Visceral, Active Release, Somatics, and of course, Chiropractic. You can learn more about these wonderful modalities by clicking on their individual links.
General treatments like exercise, ultrasound and hot packs do little to improve movement in restricted joints or muscles. In fact, exercising with dysfunctional joints or tissues usually leads to trouble. It’s like driving your car when the wheels are out of alignment – drive it long enough, and the tires will wear out before their time.
In my experience, ultrasound doesn’t work very well for dealing with scar tissue – not compared to these other therapies. Hot packs which are commonly used, only penetrate about ½ inch, while a good infrared unit will provide heat up to 2 inches deep.
Don’t Settle for “There’s nothing else we can do.”
If your doctor says, “You’ll just have to learn to live with it,” or “We don’t know what causes it,” trust that they are speaking from the best of their knowledge. They have probably not learned about the highly effective therapies listed in this article.
It’s usually good to get a second opinion from another practitioner, perhaps from a different discipline, who is skilled in that area.
Nobody has all the answers, even though they may act like they do. Be cautious about receiving treatment from over-confident or arrogant practitioners, whether they are medical or “alternative.” Do your own research!
Allergy as a Hidden Factor
If you have symptoms that do not improve with seemingly appropriate therapy, consider the possibility that an allergy may be complicating the situation. Any reaction to stainless steel hardware can prevent progress.
Food allergies can be another “hidden” factor causing or contributing to chronic pain, restricted joints and other physical problems. In addition, sensitivity to particular foods is a relatively common cause of mental-emotional symptoms such as anxiety, depression and insomnia. This fact is not well-known in the medical field, but can certainty complicate a person’s healing process, which requires a positive attitude and plenty of rest.
Food allergies work their mischief mainly by causing inflammation in the tissues, and I’ve seen many cases of pain and limitation that miraculously resolved after removing certain foods from the diet. Yes, it’s inconvenient, but it sure beats being in pain forever! Click this link to learn more about Food Allergy Testing.
Other Healing Secrets
There are five very important approaches I want to tell you about, which I wasn’t using at the time of my injury. I routinely use these things in my practice now, and find them extremely helpful in resolving difficult problems.
Get the Trauma Out of the Tissues
Injuries and surgery cause trauma. It’s very common for some of the trauma to get “stuck” in the tissues. When this occurs, it acts as an on-going irritant and prevents complete healing from taking place. You can read more about this idea in my article on CranioSacral Therapy. This technique uses very gentle pressures to locate and release problem areas.
Are the Lymphatics Draining Well?
Make sure the lymphatic system is draining well in and around the injured area. The lymph vessels carry excess fluid, proteins and cellular waste & debris through lymph nodes and back into the blood stream, where any toxins can be dealt with. Trauma can easily damage the delicate lymph vessels, and result in stagnation of the flow.
Subtle or gross impairment of lymph flow leaves irritants in the tissues where they cause more inflammation and prevent complete healing from taking place. You can read more about the lymphatic system in my article on Lymph Drainage Therapy. This is another gentle, relaxing and highly effective technique.
Are the Core Muscles Strong and Balanced?
Sometimes back pain develops or refuses to go away when the deep spinal muscles need specific strengthening. This could call for specialized rehab training, and I may make a referral for this aspect.
However, the work I do helps people recover faster if they choose to use other approaches. The basic theory is “remove the blocks to healing and the body will heal what it can, far more quickly than if it has to work around those blocks.” This work also prepares the tissues to exercise better, and with less risk of re-injury.
Is There an Emotional Component?
Injuries occur more frequently when we’re feeling stressed or upset about something. By their nature, injuries often have some “fear” component as well. This is especially true when there has been a physical attack or an accident which you could see coming.
In the natural world, animals which have survived an attack usually release the fear through a brief period of shaking. The human ego tends to dismiss or suppress such feelings, however, and the emotional energy can get stuck in the body. This can have a similar effect to the energy of physical trauma mentioned earlier.
Interactive Guided Imagery can be helpful in connecting with residual feelings and releasing them. SomatoEmotional Release is an offshoot of CranioSacral Therapy, and can also be helpful in this regard.
Are Subconscious Beliefs a Factor?
When we’re sick or injured, we all think we want to get well – consciously, that is. But sometimes there is disagreement between what we think consciously and what we believe deeper down (subconsciously). This is like shooting ourselves in the foot, without knowing we’re even doing it!
When there is disagreement between these two minds, the subconscious always wins out, because it is so much stronger than our conscious mind. The subconscious mind is also the one that runs our body, and controls the healing process. When it comes to injury recovery, it’s the boss!
All healing is powerfully influenced by our subconscious mind. People who have had fake knee surgeries actually had the same results as those who had the real surgery! See The Mind’s Influence on Pain for some “mind-blowing” information.
PSYCH-K is a wonderful tool for identifying and changing limiting subconscious beliefs, and it’s a relatively fast and straight-forward process. You probably don’t need to lie down on a shrink’s couch for years of psychoanalysis. It’s easy to check for agreement between your conscious and subconscious minds. If they are not in agreement, it’s we can usually get them lined up again in one session. You can actually feel the change happen in your body.
There is universal agreement that being injured or sick is a drag. For many people, it becomes a permanent problem. But there is good news: your chances of full recovery will be tremendously strengthened if you incorporate all of these aspects into your healing journey.
This combination of modalities works very well for almost any injury (including whiplash), most types of pain (including headaches, carpal tunnel and TMJ problems), or limitation of movement. The approaches I’ve outlined here are gradually becoming more well-known and accepted, but it takes decades for new knowledge to fully infiltrate the medical system.
Here’s my advice: “Don’t wait for the crowd to catch on. Effective evaluation and treatment is already available to support you in your recovery. Educate yourself and take action. The longer you wait, the more difficult it becomes.”
An Ounce of Prevention . . .
. . . is worth a pound of cure, as the old saying goes. Pain or other symptoms are basically alarms going off, telling us that something needs attention. Usually, the problem was brewing for some time before the pain appeared – often for many years.
Pain or other symptoms like stiffness, tension, cramping, digestive issues, fatigue, anxiety, etc., show up when the body can no longer adapt to a dysfunction. It’s been said that pain is the last thing to show up, and the first to go away.
But the underlying problem usually doesn’t go away. It simmers there, beneath the threshold of our senses, until the next “straw on the camel’s back” comes along, and symptoms flare up again. Then we wonder, “Where did that come from?”
Most likely it was there all along! The “hidden causes” would have been there all along, too, because they were never fully cleared when the injury or problem last occurred. Clearing these hidden causes is the key to injury recovery and prevention of re-injury.
To say it another way, many health problems can be prevented (before the problem rears its head) by catching it early with sensitive testing and appropriate treatment. That’s why we get our teeth checked and cleaned on a regular basis, right?
But in order to detect the cavities, the dentist needs to have the right knowledge and tools. The same is true in other health professions. 36 years of experience has shown me that no one approach has all the answers.
The specialized techniques mentioned here are able to detect and treat many subtle problems that usually “fly under the radar” of most health care professionals. I’ve been blessed to find a variety of modalities that support each other synergistically, providing far better results than any of them alone.
If you live near Ashland, OR, you can experience the effectiveness of this multifaceted approach with a Free Introductory Mini-Session!
- Discover the basic causes of symptoms you currently have
- Identify potential problems before they become obvious
- Experience the difference of this unique approach
- Find out if my work will be helpful to you
How to Find a Practitioner in Your Area
You can find practitioners of CranioSacral, Lymph Drainage, and Visceral Manipulation in your area on the International Association of Healthcare Practitioners website.
If you are injured, it’s best to work with someone who has had at least two or three seminars (about 50-75 hours total) in each respective modality. This level of experience helps ensure that they will be able to provide the level of skill you need in your recovery, and to help you prevent future problems.