When someone experiences pain, discomfort or some form of sickness, the question that they often ask their practitioner is "How long will it take me to get better?"
It is a valid question, but it is really difficult to determine as the healing process can be different for each person as there are many factors to be taken into account when trying to make that determination for each patient.
How Long Has The Problem Been Around?Generally, the more chronic the problem, the longer it will take to resolve. For example, if you had a history of whiplash (e.g. car accidents), your head/neck/shoulders/upper back/front of chest absorbed a lot of force. The tissues around this area tighten up to "protect" the body from experiencing future traumas. The longer the tissues stays tight, the less flexible they will be. Other areas have to adapt to the lack of flexibility, so the body is forced to adapt to it. The sooner the issue is dealt with, the better the chance the body will not adapt to the change and accept the changes. Understand, the body will adapt anywhere in the body. It doesn't have to make sense to you: it has to make sense to your body in order to function.
Other factors that impact the healing process include:
Age of the Patient: Ever notice how bruises take longer to heal, or colds take a little longer to fight off compared to when you were younger? As we get older, our body loses the flexibility we once had due to the natural aging process. These effects can be slowed down through maintaining a healthy diet, proper hydration, exercise and stress management.
Patient Compliance: Patients need to understand that most of their ability to change comes from them. Yes, having a properly trained practitioner to give the necessary health treatments and advice is crucial to getting better. However, what each person does with the advice is just as important. Making sure to do the exercises, or following the specific eating plan that you were prescribed in order to help with your overall health is critical.
- Stress Management: More and more, patients mention that to me that they are stressed. Maybe they just try to "deal with it" or "ignore it" and keep pushing through life. However, findings ways to manage stress is more than just being mentally and emotionally. The physical consequence to being stressed is that the brain cannot release chemicals like dopamine which will help to keep a person relaxed. This is one of the reasons we turn to food or alcohol when stressed. They will help to encourage the body to release these chemicals that aren't being released naturally. Also, a person under tension means their tissue is also under tension. There needs to be more emphasis placed on stress management.
This list could go on for a while, but these are some of the main points that I have noticed a lot in my years as a practitioner. So, when it comes to giving a patient an answer to that question, it really is an individualized answer.
If you have any questions about how osteopathy can help you, feel free to email me or call the clinic for a free 15 minute consultation.