On your first visit to the chiropractor, you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire about your health condition. Did you know that some of the information we collect is to help in determining the speed of your recovery? For example, there is an obvious link between your age and how fast you heal, but what about your overall physical condition or your posture at work or even your smoking habits?
There are a few factors that you cannot do much about, like your age or genetics but, on the other hand, there are many habits that you can change that make a world of a difference on your healing ability and in your quality of life.
When you find yourself in a situation where you cannot vacate to your usual activities because of pain, you know you need to give your body time to recuperate. It varies from a few days to a few weeks or even months in certain cases.
There are many factors that will speed or slow down your recovery like the damage that has been done, how long you have been suffering with it and on your own ability to heal.
People who are more physically active will most likely get better faster than someone who has a very sedentary lifestyle because their body is used to movement. Since chiropractic care helps in improving joint mobility, we notice that patients recuperate better when they are more active. We know that exercising regularly is a way to increase wellbeing, fight depression and help in improving your sleep.
Sleeping enough hours is also an important issue. If you sleep seven to eight hours a night and have a good quality sleep, your healing process will be at its best. It is during rest that the body gets into healing mode.
Don’t forget your psychological condition or underestimate its effect on your physical condition. If you are stressed or anxious, or have a lot of troubles on your mind, it’s going to affect your health. Relaxation methods and meditation are showing amazing results in controlling stress levels.
Working in a sitting position might put much strain on your spine. It is recommended to get up and move around as often as you can. You can also make sure you get a little exercise on your way to work by parking your car a little further away so you can enjoy walking a little before you sit down for a few hours.
Smokers are very surprised when they find that there is a link between low-back pain and slower recovery. All our tissues, including our joints, need a proper blood flow to function properly. Since smoking interferes with blood circulation, it leads to a lesser oxygenation of tissues and oxygen is essential for proper healing.
The severity of your condition will also determine how long it will take for you to heal. If you strained a muscle, you will heal faster than if you strained a joint or if you have degenerative joint disease and/or a discal herniation. The depth of injury and the tissues involved will dictate the speed of recovery. For example, there is a large scale of severity of spinal degeneration or disc involvement from a mild protrusion to a full blown extrusion of disc material that might create sciatica symptoms.
Not all sciatica is the same. If you have neurological deficits provoking diminished reflexes and muscle atrophy, it will take longer to heal because it is a more severe condition.
Attitude is also very important. Give yourself time to heal and be patient with yourself. Listen to the advice that is given to you, do your exercise or put the ice if and as recommended by your chiropractor. Do not go back to your activities too soon; learn to take care of yourself.
Do not mistake feeling better with having the problem resolved. We aim for problem resolution and not just feeling better. You may be out of pain quickly but remember that pain is not injury. Feeling pain-free is just removing the painful inputs to the brain but does not mean complete healing is done.
You need to temper your enthusiasm by respecting the biological healing parameters at work. Once pain is reduced, you will be able to pursue active components of rehabilitation exercises and reeducation to normal spinal motion for optimum function.
Healing is based on health and you are the master of your body. You decide what you put in it and what you do with it, and you have the power to change for the best.
Each person has a unique bio-mechanic of the spine and everyone heals at their own rhythm. We have many patients who have healed from a disc herniation with chiropractic care. We also have patients who have had previous surgery for disc herniation and they too receive chiropractic care to avoid a relapse and to stay well.
Better health, more energy and vitality are some of the side effects of getting your spine adjusted by your chiropractor. It sets your vertebrae back into motion freeing up the energy that travels through your nerves. That is how your body heals itself and allows you to feel great again and enjoy your life to the fullest.
By Sandra Genest-Boudreau | Christophe O. Alves
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Sandra Genest-Boudreau is French-Canadian, who graduated from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in 1990 before coming to the Algarve in 2002. She is passionate about adjusting all her patients, particularly children. Christophe Alves graduated from the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) UK, and has a special interest in Sport Chiropractic. Algarve Quiroprática clinic: EN125 in Pêra | 282 312 853 | 969 397 375