Injuries: Prevention & Rehab

Posted December 6, 2018

Guest Blog Contributor: Adam Holen DC

If you experience pain, weakness, or limited flexibility, your tissues are dysfunctional. In the musculoskeletal system, soft tissues have to stretch, contract, and stabilize joints. Dysfunction means the soft tissues aren’t able to do their job. The body compensates for dysfunction until it no longer can without sustaining tissue damage. When the body runs out of ways to compensate, symptoms develop.

100% of musculoskeletal injuries occur when your body can no longer handle the load you put on it.


It may sound overly simplistic, but avoid pain during an activity, immediately after, or the next morning. Avoiding pain is known as a ‘load management’ strategy and should be your first line of defense. You can try stretching and mobility work (lax balls, foam rollers, bands) for no more than 2-3 weeks. If it isn’t working by then, it won’t work after.

How do you know if it’s working?
You have to measure your mobility (flexibility/range of motion) just like taking a test. Also, just like taking a test, you can’t only rely on how you feel, you have to score it. Your body can feel more mobile every day, but without measuring, feeling looser can be misleading (think compensation). Healthy tissue will respond to stretching and mobility work with sustainable improvements in flexibility. Unhealthy tissue will not.

For how to test the most important and functional movements, visit our website and click on the body region you want to measure.

What if stretching and mobility work doesn’t help?
Once you have a cavity, brushing and flossing won’t fix it. Once you have unhealthy and dysfunctional tissue, stretching & mobility won’t fix it. Brushing and flossing are considered maintenance care, just like stretching and mobility work. Maintenance care helps keep healthy tissue healthy by pumping blood through for recovery. At this point, just like a cavity requires a dentist, your musculoskeletal system requires expert care.

The #1 job of the musculoskeletal system is flexibility, followed by strength. Healthy tissues can fully stretch and contract; therefore also stabilize joints. The vast majority (95%+) of overuse injuries have a limited flexibility component. So it’s imperative that your Doctor tests for and measures any limitations in flexibility and strength. Without this, they are neglecting the most critical data of your musculoskeletal system.

Once relevant limitations in flexibility are established, each visit should consist of treatment to sustainably restore healthy flexibility. Visit to visit, your range of motion should be improving until it’s full, easy, and pain-free. This model is the gold standard for musculoskeletal healthcare. Yes, many forms of treatment or therapy can make you feel better, for a while. However, feeling better temporarily and objectively functioning better are two very different levels of healthcare.

Demand more for your health. Make sure you understand what’s wrong, why, and how that treatment is going to fix it with sustainable results. If it doesn’t work, keep searching.

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