How long will it take to get me better?
This varies from patient to patient and the degree and type of injury one has sustained. It also depends on your current state of health as people with chronic health difficulties on average heal slower. A major factor in healing time is how well you take care of yourself during the healing process:
- How well do you eat?
- Do you get sufficient sleep each night?
- Do you exercise regularly?
- How efficiently do you manage your stress?
- Do you drink enough water daily?
- Do you maintain a positive mental attitude?
Many other factors are involved that can play a role in how fast patients recover from their injuries, such as previous injuries to the same area and the age of the patient. While this is only a partial list of factors that may affect healing, nevertheless, one can see that the time it takes to heal can vary greatly from one individual to another.
With all this being said the healing process progresses through three (3) phases:
- The first phase is the inflammatory phase and is marked by stretching and tearing of the soft tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc.) that supports the spine. This phase consists of pain, swelling, redness, warmth and decreased range of motion (ROM) and usually last around 72 hours.
- The second phase is knows as the repair and regeneration phase as the body begins to mend the area of injuries. Your body does this naturally by “filling in” the areas of damage with scar tissue in an attempt to stabilize the area. This phase begins following the end of the inflammatory phase, and generally lasts around.
- The third and final phase is knows as the remodeling phase. This important phase may take up to 12 months or longer to complete. The remodeling phase is characterized by the body’s attempt to reorganize the disorganized scar tissue that was laid down during the repair and regeneration phase. In other words, the body is attempting to the make scar tissue come as close in quality to the original tissue as possible. Maximum scar tissue formation is not possible before 12 months and the original strength is not regained for quite some time after. As such, these areas of healed injury are weaker than the original tissue and therefore more predisposed to stiffness, spasm, chronic pain and re-injury. Chiropractic care during all three phases of healing is exceedingly important to facilitate optimal healing of the injured tissues, reduce pain and spasm, and reduce the likelihood of future chronic pain and dysfunction.