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The way out of injury and onto the path for total health starts with resolving the particular tissue injury you are fighting right now. Aching back or neck? First we will soothe your affected area with passive care while you seek to avoid placing excessive loads on your spine and then you’ll get involved as you actively stabilize the spine through appropriate exercise. When it comes to back and neck problems, it is important that you understand the effects of the three phases of healing: Inflammation, Repair, and Remodeling.
Phase I – Acute Inflammation Stage
The acute phase is characterized by injury or pain, and is the most common phase for which a patient will seek chiropractic care. It is also the shortest phase, typically lasting three to seven days as the body tries to start healing after the original injury. If too much initial inflammation is present, it can cause delayed healing, excessive pain, and chronic inflammation. The main goal for us, as your healthcare team, is to reduce that pain and inflammation through passive means, which can include ice, adjustments, soft-tissue massage, supplements, and diet changes. Your goal is to maintain a positive outlook and seek a balance of activity and rest—and though rest is very important to progress through the inflammation stage, relative rest will be far healthier than shutting down completely. These therapies and your help will move your body into the second stage of healing and lay the base for future stabilization and strengthening.
Phase II – Sub-acute Repair Stage
In this phase the idea is to let your spine start to rebuild itself, which typically takes one to four weeks depending on the injury. We will use adjustments, moist heat, stretching, and start teaching you low-load stability exercises to prevent deconditioning, and you will need to continue limiting the demands on your spine to prevent a re-injury.
It is very common to have flare-ups during this phase and phase III as you and your body seek to find a healing balance. These flare-ups can feel worse than even your original pain, but know that these are usually brief and progress happens rapidly thereafter.
Phase III – Remodeling Stage
In this phase your strength returns and remodeling starts, which means your body begins preparing the spine for the loads it will be expected to carry. We provide adjustments, heat and ice as needed, and training designed to strengthen and stabilize your back muscles along with specific functional training to knock those lingering symptoms out, and your job is to not give up. This phase can last from three to twelve weeks following the onset of your initial pain, and it is so very important that you stick with the exercises and reeducate your tissues or else the problem will only persist, worsen, or relapse. When we get your functional performance back to pre-injury levels, healing is considered complete and a wellness program can begin.
If you are still in pain after the twelve week mark, then that becomes chronic pain and is much harder to overcome. It is crucial to get in and see somebody about your pain if it lasts longer than four weeks in order to give your body the best chance to heal itself!
Phase IV – Wellness Stage
You will ideally spend the majority of your life in this wellness phase, receiving regular chiropractic treatments. Here you will maintain prior improvements and adjust small issues before they can turn into serious ones. We believe total health is not only the absence of pain but the fulfillment of your body’s entire potential, and regular wellness care will help you live your life to the fullest.