I often get patients in my office in severe pain and can not stand up straight, this happens far too often. Usually what they told me they have been doing or not doing has made the injury progress. "My friend told me to put heat on it." "I tried to crack it myself." "My doctor told me to wait 4-6 weeks and if it didn't go away to see an orthopedic surgeon". You should be evaluated by a musculoskeletal specialist for a proper care plan to be put into place. Your chiropractor is trained to know what to do and when to do it and this may be different for each individual. Here are some general tips to get you healing faster.
Six Actions You Should Avoid
1.) Ignoring the Pain!
Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. The human body is smart, LISTEN! It is a reoccurrence that a new patient presents having this same pain for months or even years. The length of time it takes to rehabilitate that patient is much longer than the patient that comes in after the first sign of pain or dysfunction.
2.) Waiting for your general practitioner to recommend a specialist.
Primary care physicians typically don’t have in depth training in musculoskeletal dysfunctions. They may not even know what your diagnosis is from a physical exam such as an orthopedic or chiropractor will. You should always be an advocate of your own healthcare. If your back pain has lasted more than 2 weeks it is time to bring up a referral to a chiropractor, physical therapist or orthopedic who specializes in spine.
3.) Choosing surgery too soon.
Surgery may be the right option for you but surgery in general should also be recommended by multiple practitioners of various specialties. It is rare that I will recommend surgery to my patients before they have exhausted all non-invasive options such as: acupuncture, physical therapy, massage therapy, pain management, dietary changes, etc. You need to give all these options a chance to work and improve your healing process, sometimes that process is a long road.
4.) Focusing on MRI results
MRI scans are pictures, they do not dictate how much pain you are in. In fact you may have unbearable pain and your MRI is normal. You may also have a significant herniated disc and be completely functional with little to no pain. A skilled physician should be able to do your examination and view your diagnostic tests to make an appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan.
5.) Remaining Inactive
If you are in acute pain one or two days is fine for bed rest although after that it is not recommended. Over time the inactivity leads to atrophy and possibly increased pain. Movement is key in the healing process. This does not mean that a proper lumbar support belt should not be worn during times of activity to stabilize the area.
6.) Not following a care plan
Usually with any musculoskeletal issue their needs to be a relief phase of care where you are correcting the dysfunctional structures. After the pain is gone the patient usually discontinues treatment all together. At Nuzzi Chiropractic we believe in a home exercise program to correct the biomechanical imbalances that have lead to the injury. This is usually a home program or a referral to one of our personal trainers we work closely with. You also need to maintain your spine- correct the dysfunction prior to the pain.
Be sure to followup with a musculoskeletal specialist- orthopedic, physical therapist, chiropractor, etc. They will steer you in the right direction to allow the healing process to begin. You will want to follow through with a proper care plan that includes rehabilitation, this ensures your injury will not reoccur.
Have you ignored pain in the past or done other things to worsen your back? What was the recovery like and what steps did you take? Share with us in the comments below!