Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Injury vs Chronic Flare Up, part 1

Many people come in to see me with back pain. I always ask if they have ever had the problem before. There is a reason why I ask and why it is important. You may have just injured the area or you may have exacerbated a problem that was already there.

There is a drastic difference between a fresh injury and a flare up of a chronic problem. 

A fresh injury that gets treated properly can greatly reduce the amount of scar or fibrous tissue making the recovery shorter and with better strength. An improperly treated problem becomes a chronic battle with painful flare-ups for the rest of your life. It would be like going to the gas station to have air put into a flat tire every week instead of removing a nail and patching the hole.

An acute flare up of a chronic problem means the pain is not from fresh damage to the original tissue but is from inflammation. Pain is just 1 sign of inflammation. The others being redness, swelling, heat, and loss of function. Just because the pain goes away does not mean the problem is really fixed. It is just less inflamed. Fixing the problem is an entirely different animal. Scar tissue can be dealt with but not the same as a fresh injury.

In part 2 of this topic I will address why scar tissue forms, why it is a problem, and most importantly how to correctly address dealing with it. Until then, stay healthy my friends.

Dr. Christian Cohen