How We Heal After an Injury
The body has an innate intelligence that we don’t even have to think about. It beats our heart, breaths our lungs, and heals our physical wounds. The efficiency in which our bodies can heal depends on our stress, mental health, sleep, food, exercise, water intake – all the foundations of health. Our body has a process called the healing cascade that it initiates when you’re hurt, let’s explore it.
The first stage is the Hemostasis phase where the wound begins to close by clotting. This occurs when platelets stick together in order to seal the break in the wall of blood vessels and coagulation occurs and reinforces the platelet plug with fibrin.
Inflammation, the second stage of wound healing, occurs right after the injury. During this phase fluid and white blood cells move in to remove damaged cells and pathogens, this is what creates the redness, swelling, and pain during this stage of wound healing.
The proliferative phase is when the wound is rebuilt with new tissue made up of collagen and extracellular matrix, this occurs days 10-14. In addition a new network of blood vessels must be constructed so the new tissue can receive sufficient oxygen and nutrients.
The maturation / remodeling phase begins about 21 days after an injury and can continue for over a year. This is where cross-linking of collagen occurs and the wound is strengthened. Generally after being wounded the skin will only have 80% the tensile strength of unwounded skin.
The body is so good at what it does but if the foundations of health are not met or there is an obstacle to cure, chronic pain can occur. This can be unique for every person and why an individualized treatment plan is vital for anyone in pain. We individualize it TO the patient not FOR the diagnosis.