My wife and I had a rare chance to go out for a movie date last night. We went to watch the newly released "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice". It had horrible reviews, but I actually enjoyed it
Anyway, there were two things that I took away from the movie:
A. Who's the hotter Wonder Woman?
1. Lynda Carter
2. Gal Gadot
B. Superman has nothing on that Kryptonite!
So that led me to a random thought. How do I respond to patients and friends who would always ask me about when they would be able to get back to doing the things that they want to do. You see, although we, as humans, like to believe that we're Superman sometimes, the fact of the matter is that we really aren't. He's an alien with super powers and we're not.
As a physical therapist, my job to resolve impairments as quickly as possible and to help patients achieve their goals. How fast I do this, though, is really dependent on the biological processes, pathology of the injury, and surgical intervention that was performed.
You see there are stages of healing that have to occur with any kind of injury or inflammatory process in the body. No matter how small or large the injury is, everyone must go through certain biological processes and stages of healing before full healing occurs. You may be an amazing athlete, but you are still bound by the healing rates that occur in this mortal body. That is not to say, that you cannot do things to help facilitate the healing process but patience is a must. This is where I usually tell the patient to "trust the process" Most of the time I don't get a chance to share with a patient this graphic, but I think it is essential for people to see in order to get an idea of a timeline of their injury and rates of healing. Take a look at this chart by Axe MJ, Snyder-Mackler L.
Notice that most of the soft tissue healing occurs around the 4-6 week mark. It is very hard to rush a return from injury and hopefully you are doing things that are helping promote a good healing process. Healing is also obviously affected by age and concomitant injuries. I wish we were all like Superman and had supernatural powers, but the fact of the matter is that we're not.
Just remember that pain or swelling may be a sign that you are progressing through an injury too quick and may need to back off. Keep that in mind as you rehabilitate and return to sport or function.
And most importantly, you ain't no Superman!