By Steven Pacini
Whilst avoiding injury in the first place is obviously the gold standard – it is inevitable that at various stages of our lives we will be experiencing a musculoskeletal injury of some form. This could be anything from an acute, traumatic strain or sprain, or one of those “niggles” in the background that we might try to ignore! But when should you get your injury assessed? Well, we definitely shouldn’t ignore the issue, and ASAP is the correct answer – the main reasons are as follows:
1. Accurate Diagnosis
These days with “Dr Google” we often have patients presenting with injuries that have spent considerable time searching for snippets of information to attempt to categorise or justify their injury. Whilst it is great to do some preliminary research and get a feel for the types of pathology that may be leading to your pain or restriction – remember it is extremely difficult to diagnose an injury without a clinical assessment! And whats worse are the lists of symptoms that one can find through an internet search – that can be interpreted as a condition or injury that may be a lot worse than what you actually have. Accurate diagnosis is made much easier when an injury is assessed sooner rather than later.
2. Faster Recovery
The first question a lot of patients tend to ask us is “how long will my injury take to be fixed?” The sooner you are aware of the cause and nature of an injury, the sooner your physiotherapist can commence a management plan to return you to the activity or performance that you desire. Whilst many injuries require some rest or modification of activity – in many cases you will still be able to do lots of the activities/exercises that you want to do, and whats-more your physio will want you to!
3. Prevention of Long-Term Issues
Even those ‘niggling” injuries that we can sometimes ignore for a little bit lead to the body adapting and functioning differently. Our bodies are amazing at helping out injured areas but longer-term this leads to issues such as adaptive postures, limping or gait changes, or worsening of the painful structure or symptoms.