Injuries are a part of life. Anyone who has played sports may well have succumbed to a bone break, muscle tear, muscle strain or ligament sprain in the past. Athletes are not the only unlucky select who may have experienced the pain and agony of an injury and the stubbornness of the healing and rehabilitation that follows. Injuries can occur in car accidents, bike accidents, or unfortunate playground injuries. Whatever the cause of a particular injury may be, chances are you’ve experienced one that left you wondering if that injury will haunt you later.

Injuries can be musculoskeletal or internal, such as an injury to the brain or internal organs. These types of debilitating, traumatic injuries remain in a category of their own, and any lingering affects or haunting troubles persist on an individual basis. Injuries to the skeletal and muscular systems are much more common and much easily labeled as haunting, daunting, or lingering for an extended period of time.

When the human body is injured, various parts of the anatomy and structures are damaged. Bones, muscles, tendons, skin, blood vessels, and nerves can all be affected by an injury. Once an injury occurs a trip to the appropriate healthcare provider should be the next step, and it usually is, especially for severe and painful injuries. Hospitals and the staff are highly trained for handling injuries soon after they occur, and physical therapists are trained to aid in the rehabilitation and healing process. It’s after an injury has healed where most of the fear of lingering affects begins to haunt the victim.

Assuming the injury was handled with proper care and healing, the fear of a chronic setback to the specific area does not need to trouble the individual to any point of worry. Each injury is specific in nature. The affected body part and the amount of trauma play a large role in any possible continuous effects. Take muscle strains, for instance. Strains have three different levels based on the severity of the strain. Simply stated, Grade I strains leave the muscle with normal strength and some tenderness, Grade II strains leave the muscle with some loss of strength and more severe pain with possible bruising and swelling, and Grade III strains leave the muscle completely torn with a total loss of muscle strength. The recovery times for each of these Grades will be different, because of the severity of the injury, but as long as strength is regained through rehabilitation and resistance training, the injury will not haunt the individual on a long-term basis.

Ligament sprains, like muscle strains, have three grades. A complete tear or rupture of a ligament may require surgical reconstruction. Athletes tear their Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) all the time, but with proper repair and rehab, any lingering effects are minimal, if any. As with all injuries, including cartilage damage and bone fractures, the remodeling of scars, and restrengthening of tissues occurs on an individual basis.

An injury does not have to haunt you, but it can. As mentioned previously, proper time for healing and proper rehabilitation, which ensures restrengthening, is essential.  Your body must go through a process of phases as the body reestablishes the pre-injury range of motion and strength. After any injury medical clearance to exercise is key before beginning a fitness program. Proper stretching before working out is also very important after an injury to an area of the body has occurred. It may take awhile for flexibility to return to the original state, but with proper rehabilitation, most, if not all, of the original flexibility should be back before starting any kind of a workout routine. Warming up properly and stretching the muscles is a tremendous way to keep any haunting effects of a past injury minimal. Doing the opposite is a great way to re-injure yourself.

Avoiding injury all together is the best course of action, but it is not always the choice of the affected person. Injuries occur, but with proper care, rehab, and avoiding any exercises that may aggravate a pre-existing condition, injuries do not have to haunt you later. Take necessary precautions and you will have the freedom and confidence to workout and train as you did pre-injury.