How Long Is This Going to Take?

Time heals all wounds. —Unknown

 I wish I could say that The Solution works like a light switch: you flip it on, and you’re instantly pain-free but it usually takes a lot more care from a chiropractor Little Falls MN. But that’s not how it works. The Vicious Cycle has built up momentum, and simply can’t be stopped on a dime. Like a locomotive going “full steam ahead,” it must be slowed then stopped. Once that’s been accomplished, then and only then, is it possible to shift that momentum.

All of this takes time. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that the amount of time it takes has been proven through research. 

Phase 1: The Recovery/Inflammatory Phase

It’s during this phase where the Vicious Cycle slows, stops, and you hit a Turning Point—where your back and neck start healing up rather than continuing to break down. This is a big deal and a big step in the right direction of being pain-free.

However, it doesn’t guarantee you start to feel better. It may surprise you to learn that you might actually feel worse as you go through this phase. Why? Because your back and neck has sensitized nerves, damaged joints, atrophied and scar tissue-ridden muscles, and the treatment is going to spark some inflammation. Be warned: while applying The Solution even with a chiropractor Little Falls MN and getting your back and neck into this phase is really good for you, you can certainly feel worse during it.

Then again, you might not. Some people feel the same, and others do feel better. It all depends on the condition of your back and neck. This phase can take as little as three days, or quite often between eight to twelve weeks or much longer, you should consult with a chiropractor Little Falls MN. (57,58,59)

The fastest way to get you through this phase is with structured and frequent care. Some people need to start with daily treatments. (60,61) Others could get by with treatment two to three times a week. It all depends on your back and neck, your history, and your activity level.

Phase 2: Repair and Remodeling

After the Recovery/Inflammation Phase, your body enters into Phase 2: Repair and Remodeling.

During the Repair phase, muscles are rebuilt, ligaments are re-structured, resistance returns to the nerves, and sometimes discs are regenerated—all, to the degree that the permanent pathological changes allow. The thing is, there’s a problem with all of the new tissue being laid down: it’s immature, fresh, and weak, which means that there is a risk that the dysfunction and damage could come back. The body, with its intelligence, does something about this. It moves into the next phase. 

During the Remodeling portion of this phase, the “newbie” tissue starts to earn its keep. Amazingly, as the newer tissues get stretched and strained with use, they begin to get stronger. The important bit to remember is that during this phase, you’ll probably start to feel better, but you’re not healed yet and shouldn’t act like you are. If your house caught on fire (don’t worry; everything that is near and dear to you was saved), and you were in the process of rebuilding, would you live in the house while you put up the scaffolding and erected its frame? No. Should you start to refurnish the living room before the floors are put in? No, of course not. You don’t start living in the house until the repairs are finished, right? Same rule of thought applies to your back and neck during this phase in the healing process. You don’t start “living” in your back and neck until the repairs are finished so keep seeing a chiropractor Little Falls MN.

Outside of the direct supervision of The Solution expert, you need to be incredibly careful of your postures and movements, and put as little undue stress on your back and neck as possible. Inside of the Solution expert’s clinic, your care is still frequent and structured in order to achieve full range of motion and maintain it through this phase.

For your body this means that:

* Your spinal adjustments and hands-on muscle therapy are still happening pretty close to two to three times a week.

* Your deep Stabilizers are strengthened, smartened, and taught to have endurance through daily exercising, stretching, and mobilizing.

For sure, this is a demanding schedule, but it is the best protocol for getting pain-free. The good news is that during this phase, the frequency of treatment from a chiropractor Little Falls MN can start getting less. The keys for decreased frequency are that you:

* Prove you have stopped doing the “Something Wrong,” and know how to do it right.

* Pass a baseline muscle coordination, strength, and endurance test.

* Demonstrate competency in performing a home exercise program.

* Have maintained an as-full-as possible range of motion for a minimum of ninety days.

To start functioning optimally and maximize pain relief, all of these things must be present for the duration of the Repair phase: one to six months. (57,59,62)

Phase 3: Stabilization

New tissue has been laid down. Muscles are rebuilt stronger, longer, and smarter than before. Cartilage is resilient and squishy vs. degenerated and decaying. The motion of your spine is as full as possible from working with a chiropractor Little Falls MN, and your individual spinal segments are moving as best they can. This gives your brain optimal input, and it’s making sure that your back and neck are functioning optimally. All of this allows you to be as close to pain-free as possible because all of the things that were causing your pain are made anew, right? Wrong! What? How can that be? You might ask, “I’ve already come this far, so how can I not be completely out of pain?”

It’s because the new tissue has been laid down, like a fresh scab. Sure, it’s there, covering up the cut, stopping it from getting worse—the Repair Phase—heck, that scab can toughen up—the Remodeling Phase—but it’s still a scab, and if you brush it against something, what happens to it? It opens up again.

After Phase 1 and Phase 2, your back and neck enters into Phase 3: Stabilization. During this phase, the new changes get cemented into place. Through a process of trial, error, tears, and repairs the body gets tough and resilient. Not only the muscles and joints, mind you, but most importantly, the nerves. Your brain forms new neurons, learns new posture and movement habits so that if you do something incorrectly again, or something bad happens to you, and a Buckling Point is created, your back and neck does not hit the Tipping Point quite so easily. If it does, the spine won’t go back to its old mold. Not a chance. Your brain, because it’s been retrained with a chiropractor Little Falls MN, actually pushes the body to heal in the new mold… a more pain-free mold… a “live-life-the-way-you-want-to” mold.

         This phase is when the scab has turned back into the skin, and that’s not all. This is typically when you can be released with your own, custom-tailored, home-care program from a chiropractor Little Falls MN. This should involve a unique combination of specific exercises, mobilizations, stretches, non-drug pain relief techniques, and dietary guidelines designed for you. Also, your spinal adjustment frequency can be reduced to once or twice every two to four weeks. (63,64) This level of support needs to be maintained anywhere from one to two years after the completion of the Repair Phase (65,57,59,66) in order for you to get pain-free. During this phase, you will be thrilled to feel the best you have through the whole healing process. Remember: your spine is not your tongue. The tongue, because of all the blood that’s in it, heals ridiculously fast. The spine is literally the opposite because tissues like deep spine cartilage, nerves, ligaments, etc. have a very scant blood supply. 

Final Thought

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, said that “Healing is a matter of opportunity and time.” By implementing The Solution, you’re giving the body the opportunity to get pain free. All that’s left is time.

For Best Results, Use as Directed by a chiropractor Little Falls MN 

* Repetition is the mother of learning. At the beginning of this journey to a pain-free life, you and your spine are going to be in a tug-of-war battle. Your muscles and nerves are so accustomed to being weak and contracted that they are ready to drag the joints right back to the way they were after your first treatments. Over time, though, the tissues will begin to change, and eventually they will help your joints stay moving. It takes repetition—a lot of it—and although the schedule laid out is pretty demanding, if you truly want to get pain-free, this is absolutely the best protocol.

* The three-to-four visit myth.  I’ve had patients tell me they’ve heard that “If you’re not feeling better in three or four visits, it’s not going to work.” Not only is that statement unscientific and not based on evidence, it’s just plain stupid. How could a condition that has taken months, or quite probably years, to develop, heal within three to four visits over a week or two? It doesn’t make sense. Plus, it’s physiologically impossible. This is simply a myth propagated by people who don’t know what they’re talking about. Here’s the truth: How long it takes you to get out of pain depends on how long you’ve been in pain, and how far down the Vicious Cycle your back and neck have gone. If you have experienced the pain for three months or less, you’ll have a relatively quick turnaround. If the pain has been bothering you for longer than three months, you’re in for a considerably longer haul. One study went as far as to say that “Increased function and reduction of pain may not occur for 12 weeks.”67 Keep that in mind as you set off on the road to a pain-free destination.

* Just do it. During all of these phases, while it’s important to be mindful of what you’re doing, you can’t stop “doing.” Keep doing your regular daily activities, especially the ones that you want to do, whether that’s gardening, playing with the kids, golfing, or traveling. It’s only by doing that your back and neck learns what it needs to do in order for you to keep doing.

* Stable but not fixed. Once you’ve completed the Stabilization Phase you’ll be declared stable, but not fixed. Nothing in your body is ever fixed once and then is good to go forever. Although you’ve been through all of this, if you start doing things wrong again, your back and neck will become dysfunctional again, and then it’s back into the Vicious Cycle.

* Get your oil changed frequently. It’s good to get the back and neck stable again (who wants to be unstable?), but it’s much better to keep it that way—like getting your car’s oil changed frequently after you’ve had the engine fixed. For your spine, that means you should keep doing exercises, keep stretching, keep mobilizing, and keep your diet clean. It also means getting your back and neck checked periodically by a chiropractor Little Falls MN to ensure that the areas that have been permanently damaged are staying in check. How often should you do the home care program? Daily, like brushing your teeth. How often should you get your spine checked? Once a week to once every four weeks—your Solution expert will be able to help you with that.

* Plant a tree today. Guess what’s the most common comment patients make when I tell them about the healing phases and the time it takes? You have almost certainly said the same thing to yourself while reading this article. Are you ready? Here it is: “Gee-whiz! I don’t have time for that!” I agree that’s probably true. It is a major time commitment. I also know if you’re reading this, you’re probably in pain or someone you know is in pain. Mother Nature has certain requirements that must be met in order to heal. And in learning the amount of time it takes to complete the journey to become pain-free, I hope you’ve realized two things. First, if you’re not in pain, keep yourself that way by installing The Solution as a part of your life. Second, remember this saying: “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, the next best time is now.”

The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, the next best time is now.

 

References

 

  1. Troyanovich. et al. Structural Rehabilitation of the spine and posture: Rationale for treatment beyond resolution of symptoms. JMPT 1998.

 

  1. Effects of Early Motion on Healing of Musculoskeletal Tissues, Hand Clinics. Volume 12, Number 1, February 1996, Joseph Buckwalter, MD from the Department of Orthopedics, University of Iowa.

 

  1. Hauser, Russ A., MD, E.E. Dolan, H.J. Phillips, A.C. Newlin, R.E. Moore, and B.A. Woldin “Ligament Injury and Healing: A Review of Current Clinical Diagnostics and Therapeutics,” The Open Rehabilitation Journal, 2013; No. 6; pp. 1-20.

 

  1. Peterson, C., C. Schmidt , S. Leemann, B. Anklin, and B. Humphreys. Outcomes from Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Confirmed Symptomatic Cervical Disk Herniation Patient Treated with High-Velocity, Low-Amplitude Spinal Manipulation Therapy: A Prospective Cohort Study with Three-Month Follow Up, JMT Oct. 2013; Vol. 36; pp. 461-467

 

  1. Spinal Manipulation in the Treatment of Low Back Pain, Canadian Family Physician, March 1985, Vol. 31, pp. 535-540W. H. Kirkaldy-Willis and J. D. Cassidy. Dr. Kirkaldy-Willis is a Professor Emeritus of Orthopedics and director of the Low Back Pain Clinic at the University Hospital, Saskatoon, Canada.

 

  1. Hall, H., Conservative Management of Low Back Pain, excerpt in Medicine North America, Oct. 26,1988, 4878-4885.

 

  1. Jenna & Machaly (2011) Does Maintained Spinal Manipulation Therapy for Chronic Nonspecific Low Back Pain Result in Better Long-Term Outcome? Spine 36 (18) 1427-37

 

  1. A theoretical basis for maintenance spinal manipulative therapy for the chiropractic profession, Journal of Chiropractic Humanities, December 2011; Vol. 1; No. 1; pp.74-85 David N. Taylor, DC, DACBN.

 

  1. Alcantra et al. Chiropractic Management of a patient with myasthenia gravis and vertebral Subluxations JMPT 1999; 22 (5).

 

  1. Scar Formation and Ligament Healing [Surgical Biology for the Clinician], Canadian Journal of Surgery, December 1998; Vol. 41; No. 6; pp. 425-429, Kevin Hildebrand, MD and Cyril Frank, MD.

 

  1. McGill, S. Stability: from biomechanical concept to chiropractic practice. JCCA 1999; 43 (2).

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