Types of Body Tissues and How They Heal


One of the main topics is the difference between tendons and ligaments. Tendons attach muscles to bone, while ligaments go from bone to bone-like with a joint and hold the position of the joints in alignment. A person strains muscles and tendons but sprains ligaments.


As you can imagine each type of tissue requires a different type of treatment regime when injured, and this would depend upon the severity of the injury.


In general, ligaments take much longer to heal because they have a VERY poor blood supply, while tendons, if not too badly torn and properly rested take a relatively shorter time to heal. A ligament, if not too badly injured can take up to 6 weeks to recover provided it can recover.


There are a couple of other issues that should be discussed and those are muscle and cartilage. Muscle tissue has an excellent blood supply and will recover fairly quickly. To give you an idea, if you curl your arm up to your face, at a microscopic level you have torn a number of muscle fibers. You don’t even notice it and off you go.


An interesting fact- a tight muscle and a torn muscle feel the same when you stretch them. Something to think about when a person insists on stretching and stretching and stretching because his back feels tight. Not a good idea, and I’ll discuss why later.


Cartilage is a lot like ligaments in that it has a very poor blood supply and will take a much longer time to recover provided it is given the opportunity to heal.


Most of the injuries we see in our office are ligament and cartilage type injuries that the person thought was a pulled or tight muscle. If it was, the pain and tension would have gone away with some moist heat, a stretch or two and being reasonably active. The pain goes away and STAYS away in a VERY short period of time if it is JUST A PULLED MUSCLE OR CRAMP.


When it has been a week or so and seems to be getting worse… the primary injury is most like NOT a muscle, but the ligaments and/or cartilage. Not to sound mean, but THESE TISSUES DO NOT LIKE TO BE STRETCHED, and in fact, stretching and heat will only worsen the injury.


Alright, so if you have a back injury that does NOT seem to be going away- and this would include any type of musculoskeletal injury to any area of the body, it is time to call Paragon Chiropractic- this is what we do best; identify your injury, apply the appropriate treatment program and show you how to stop hurting yourself so you can heal!


Well, that’s it for now. I will continue this series in the next blog.