It’s always difficult to give an exact answer to this question, as everybody’s different. However, we can give you an idea of the ‘average’ recovery period and the factors that might hasten or slow your recovery.
The average, full recovery period is 6-8 weeks (or to be precise 6.7 treatments). After that, in most cases, it’s clear to see that your body has truly corrected and returned to normal. This isn’t the same as taking painkillers for six weeks, while you hope you’ll get better. This can appear to be effective because the painkillers cause your brain to turn off your pain receptors, but you’re doing nothing to correct the underlying dysfunctions. Such unresolved dysfunctions can lead to far worse problems in the future.
Factors which slow recovery:
• The intensity of the trauma, i.e. falling off a step is probably less traumatic than being in a car accident.
• The general rule is that the longer you’ve had the injury before you seek treatment, the longer and the more treatment it will take to regain your full health.
• Be careful of well-meaning massage and other ‘help’ that can reduce the effectiveness of the protection given by tightened muscles and other soft tissues that are trying their best to keep you still, stiff and safe until recovery is complete – what feels good at the time might not be the best in the long run.
• Age – so sorry to say this, but yes, the younger you are the faster you heal.
Factors which aid recovery:
• Try to rest, especially after treatment. Between appointments, try to minimise your levels of physical activity – your body is trying to fix itself and needs energy to do this. The more energy you use up in your daily life, the less there is to fix you and, of course, you also run the risk of being re-injured if you overdo it. However, an osteopath’s job is to facilitate you doing the things in life you wish to do, so work with us and you will, in nearly every case, be able to return to your normal everyday activities.
• Ice the affected areas to reduce localised inflammation. Ice every hour if possible, but for no more than five minutes. Never apply heat unless directed by your osteopath.
• Reduce stress – in 90% of my cases, emotional stress and strain, if not the primary cause of a patient’s symptoms, will make them worse. Stress slows the recovery of tissues and reduces the amount of stimulus required to trigger pain receptors in your brain. Your lifestyle, together with any tension and stress might all be factors in your health picture, so please take the time to think this through.
• Do the exercises. What your osteopath can do in a session versus what you can do daily by using exercises is a no-brainer, so if you are given exercise advice, please take it.
• Nutrition: ‘you are what you eat’ is so true. The cellular activity required to repair damaged tissues and add new ones is enormous and you need the fuel to do it properly. Because of modern farming techniques, many essential minerals and vitamins are missing from your diet and so supplements from companies such as Cytoplan will really help.
• Smile, relax, you are in truly safe hands with your osteopath – five years of training, 1800 hours of clinical practice, a 20,000+ clinical case load post graduation, together with mandatory regulation by our governing body and a minimum of 30 hours per year of CPD (Continued Professional Development), means that we know what we’re doing, even if this means referring you on to other health professionals, if we feel that would be best for you.
You wouldn’t mistreat your car the way that most of us neglect our bodies! Regular keep well osteopathy treatment has been proven to limit the number of repeat episodes a patient suffers, as well as greatly reducing the recovery time of an injury should anything go wrong again. To maintain your health, we recommend a coming in for our keep well session every 4-6 weeks. If you haven’t been to see us for a while, please give us a call to discuss an ongoing health plan.