In our last blog post, we talked a little about inflammation and why it is a necessary evil. This month, we would like to provide some insight on the next stages of healing, the proliferative and maturation phases.
Proliferation can last several weeks and occurs in the background throughout the other phases of healing. Fibroblasts are attracted to the area and form collagen, which forms the ‘scaffolding’ or framework of the new tissue. New blood vessels are also being formed.
The maturational/remodeling phase begins around week three and can continue for up to one year. During this time, the excess collagen degrades, and the newly formed tissue regains strength and flexibility. The final resulting scar tissue will only have around 80% of the strength that the original tissue had.
Although the stages of healing are presented as discrete blocks, they are actually all occurring simultaneously, just at different levels. There are some factors which can affect how long this process takes. In order to create an optimal environment for healing, it is important to avoid smoking and to have proper nutrition and hydration.
The good news is, your physical therapist can help improve the healing process! Applying soft tissue mobilization to help the collagen fibrils ‘lay down’ in an organized manner can help improve the strength & flexibility of the scar tissue. Appropriate amounts of muscle lengthening and contraction also help with tissue remodeling, and your physical therapist can direct you on how you can safely load the tissue without causing damage.
Here at Fluid Physio, we also have a class-IV laser, which helps speed up the healing process by increasing the activity of cells and neurotransmitters involved in healing. We can start using the laser immediately after an injury or 24 hours after a surgery!
If you would like to learn more about how high level laser can help you, please reach out to us at 609-436-0366.
Image source: http://www.urgo.co.uk/152-healing-process