How Smart Activity Promotes Healing Better Than Rest
New research has just come out of the British Journal of Sports Medicine that has reviewed tons of literature to reveal the following: That for injuries to muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones, properly directed exercise can really accelerate the healing process.
In sports medicine, it is always our goal as clinicians to help people return to activity at full capacity as quickly and safely as possible. Whether you are just casually exercising to stay healthy or a professional in the middle of a season that needs to return, the research remains the same. We have been using therapies such as Active Release Technique and Rehabilitation exercises with our patients for as long as we have been in practice because we have consistently seen how they can help our patients heal faster.
The reasoning behind this is due to a very cool principal called mechanotransduction. Mechanotransduction refers to the process by which the body converts mechanical loading into cellular responses. These cellular responses, in turn, promote structural change(2).
Essentially, being smart about stretching, exercising, or manipulating injured tissue will actually stimulate the cells of that tissue to respond and accelerate the healing process.
We are talking about healing on a cellular level! All of these tissues have "mechanosensitive" cells that respond to the therapeutic exercises and in turn stimulate repair. In muscle for example, the mechanical loading (proper exercise, manipulation, or stretching) actually stimulates a hormone called mechanogrowth factor (MGF) (3), that leads to muscle hypertrophy which will limit scar tissue formation and allow faster and more complete regeneration of the tissue.
If all of this sounds a bit technical, the simple message is this. If you have a soft tissue injury, a properly trained clinician can direct you on how to proceed to get faster and more effective relief rather than rest alone. This means you can get back to doing what you love sooner, and reducing the likelihood of recurrence of that same injury down the road.
Dr. Trevor Williams
Staker Chiropractic Center
1. Khan KM, Scott A. Mechanotherapy: how physical therapists’ prescription of exercise promotes tissue repair
2. Duncan RL, Turner CH Mechanotransduction and the functional response of bone to mechanical strain. Calcif Tissue Int 1995;57:344–58
3. Goldspink G. Gene expression in muscle in response to exercise. J Muscle Res Cell Motil 2003;24:121–6.OpenUrl