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I’m still suffering!

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Why you’re still in pain and left saying “I’m still suffering!” after treatments.

Do you feel you’ve reached a plateau with regards to your complaint? Do you return to the chiropractor each time with the same set of symptoms and question if he or she is actually helping? It’s groundhog day at the chiropractor’s place and you lie down on the bench for the same old treatment wondering, “Why am I here? Sure I feel good afterwards, but by this time next week I’ll be sore again!”

Depending on your complaint, you might visit the chiropractor up to three times per week over a certain time frame. Whilst this may seem excessive at first, consider that the length of time you receive actual treatment from the practitioner may only tally around 60mins. Given that there are 168 hours in a week, ask yourself,

“At this rate of treatment, is it realistic to expect my condition to rapidly improve to the point of full recovery?”

The point here is not that the practitioner should be relieved of any responsibility for the patient, but rather, to have the patient understand the importance of how he or she utilises the time in between successive treatments. Practitioners frequently provide homework to their patients in an effort to consolidate the advances made in the treatment rooms and accelerate their recovery.

In acute injuries, typically the more painful, patients are more compliant and do their homework religiously as they are eager to reduce their pain. However, for more prolonged, less painful but still annoying injuries, the devotion to this homework dwindles as care progresses, and quite often never even happens.

This leads to the patient falling in to the vicious cycle:

It is the practitioner’s job to have the patient understand what is causing their suffering, how it came about, and to treat and advise on relieving the pain, and repairing their injury. Whilst the physical therapy will be helpful, following the advice of your practitioner will also be critical to a successful outcome. This advice might be in the form of home therapy exercises (eg. back or neck exercises), modifications to your workstation environment or adhering to a structured exercise program.

Consider the following common scenario. An office worker has been suffering lower back pain on and off for a year or more. The person is an accountant who works full time, 50hrs per week sitting at a desk. Assuming there is no history of any major accidents, it is quite likely the lower back pain is due to poor sitting posture and quite possibly unsuitable chair design.

Often, these people don’t just sit at their desk all day, they sit on the train to and from work, and sit on the couch in front of the television after work. Unless there is some form of intervention in this monotonous daily routine, this person’s condition will not improve.

An appropriate intervention is to seek the advice of a health practitioner, but as illustrated earlier, in order to reap the most benefit from treatment and break the cycle of recurring symptoms, the patient will need to conscientiously follow the practitioner’s health advice.

In this way, the patient breaks the vicious cycle leading the way to better health:

On the contrary, the same problems are experienced in people who follow regular physical activity as well. The difference here is that whilst these people are doing the right thing, being active, often their routines are not varied enough. They might do the same aerobics class three times per week, or stick to the same gym program, etcetera.

Again, one needs to introduce something different, more challenging or specific to their body in order to break the cycle of recurring pain and symptoms. Always check with your health practitioner if there’s not something more you could be doing to improve your condition.

And most importantly, recognise that the responsibility for achieving full recovery is usually a responsibility that is shared by practitioner and patient.

*DISCLAIMER: This discussion does not provide medical advice. The
information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and
other material contained in this discussion are for informational
purposes only. The purpose of this discussion is to promote broad
consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not
intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis
or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other
qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding
a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health
care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay
in seeking it because of something you have read in this blog.

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