Phases of Healing

The Three Phases of Healing

If you are injured, physical therapy helps you to accelerate your healing process and increases the likelihood of a complete recovery. Below, we look at the various phases of healing after injury.

Reaction Phase

During the first 24-72 hours of an injury, a trauma response has begun at your injured area. This can include swelling, muscle spasm, and guarding. It is during this stage that people often use painkillers and immobilize the painful area. Physical Therapy at New Heights helps you through this phase by using the body’s natural repair process. A special movement program increases blood flow to bring healing nutrients and oxygen to the injured area and takes waste products away. Gentle manual therapy reduces pain, swelling, spasms, and diminishes your chances of developing scar tissue.

Regeneration Phase

The regeneration phase typically lasts 6-8 weeks. During this time, your body lays down new tissue within the injured area and repairs nerve connections to damaged tissue. This is also the time when undesirable scar tissue may begin to form. During the Regeneration Phase, physical therapy is your primary method of achieving a number of benefits, including:

  • Acceleration of the repair and strengthening of damaged tissue
  • Prevention of excessive scar tissue buildup, which can lead to recurring injuries
  • Help in overall recovery, no matter how severe the injury is
  • Decreased pain
  • Increased delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the injured area
  • Increased range of motion

Remodeling Phase

The Remodeling Phase is the complete restoration of healthy function to the injured area, and may take as long as 3-12 months after your injury. Don’t be fooled into thinking you are healed just because you no longer have pain. Connective tissue heals over time. For example, the true source of a recurring spinal disc injury is often poor health of the connective tissue, and faulty spinal mechanics. The simple act of bending over to pick up a pencil can cause serious back pain. During the Remodeling Phase, we are correcting faulty spinal mechanics to achieve complete restoration of connective tissue health. The benefits provided by physical therapy include:

  • Thickening (strengthening) of damaged tissue to prevent recurring injury
  • Reduction of scar tissue buildup (accumulation of scar tissue can lead to recurring injury)
  • Restoration of full elasticity and flexibility to muscles and joints
  • Improving faulty mechanics of your joints and removing compensation patterns
  • Improved blood circulation and oxygenation to the entire body
  • Minimize development of chronic pain
  • Maintaining your range of motion
  • Work retraining or work simulated activities that help you stay on the job or return safely

FAQs About The Three Phases of Healing

What are the three phases of the healing process?

Reaction Phase, this is where you suffer pain and swelling. Next, in the regeneration phase, your body lays down new tissue, this is when scars typically form. In the final phase, called the remodeling phase, your body is restored completely and functioning properly again.

What are the stages of healing?

The reaction phase occurs during the first 24-72 hours of an injury. This is when you’ll experience swelling, muscle spasms, and guarding. Next is the regeneration phase, which lasts typically 6 to 8 weeks. During this second stage, your body lays down new tissue in the injured area and repairs connections to damaged tissue. Lastly is the remodeling phase. This phase may occur three to 12 months after your injury depending on the severity. It’s when you have a complete restoration of connective tissue.

What are the 3 stages of wound healing in order?

Reaction, Regeneration, and remodeling.

How long is inflammatory phase?

It’s typically in the first 24-72 hours of your injury.

Do wounds hurt more when healing?

Your wound may still be painful while it’s healing due to swelling. Your body starts to swell around your wound to protect it.

What does a muscle spasm feel like?
Muscle spasms, also known as muscle cramps range in pain. You may experience mild or severe pain and twitching. The area may also look distorted.

How long does it take to recover from a muscle spasm?
Muscle spasms can last up to 15 minutes or longer.

Are muscle spasms normal?
They are common after injuries.

Is pain good for healing?
Yes as long as the pain doesn’t get worse.

Is pain a sign of healing?
Yes, it can be.

Two Locations for your Convenience

Learn more about our locations below. Our therapists look forward to meeting you and guiding you through the healing process.

Phases of Healing in Portland OR and Vancouver WA

Seeing Patients in the following Portland and Vancouver areas:

SE Portland | NE Portland | Gresham | Happy Valley | Clackamas | Milwaukie | Mt Tabor | Belmont | Lloyd Center | Laurelhurst | Hollywood District | Downtown Portland | Beaverton | Tigard | Hillsboro | Cedar Mill | Cornell | Sylvan | Cedar Hills

Downtown Vancouver | Fruit Valley | Hazel Dell | Felida | Cascade Park | Camas Washington

East PDX:
(503) 236-3108
(360) 737-3346