The first step in achieving freedom from back pain is to set a goal and write it down. Writing the goal is an act of commitment; otherwise, it’s not a goal, it’s a wish.
When people write down their goals for a healthy back they usually express them in terms of activities that they are prevented from doing. They will say they want to be able to sleep without pain, or lift their grandchildren, or play golf.
Committing to the goal requires an appreciation of what it will take to achieve. Back problems that took 20 years to create are not going to be cured with a few weeks of therapy or a single modality.
When patients come to our practice with severe back pain we ask them to make a commitment to the plan we recommend. The more committed they are, the more likely they will stick with the plan even if they can’t see the benefits right away.
We tell our patients that they are participants in their recovery. They must contribute energy and investment over time to get better. They are not passive participants in the process.
At first, the benefits of our therapies – whether chiropractic, physical therapy, acupuncture, massage or any of the other modalities we employ – may be small and temporary. A patient may walk away from a spinal decompression session feeling more limber and then notice that the feeling dissipates by the next day.
That is to be expected, particularly early on. Again, 20 years of damage can’t be reversed with one treatment.
That is why it is important for patients to celebrate those little victories. If you feel more limber for a day, that’s an improvement over how you felt before.
Very likely there is more than one thing wrong that is causing chronic back pain and limiting your life. Chiropractic care is the best way to address your joints – to increase their mobility and range of motion, and to relieve the pressure on nerves that exit the spine.
Physical therapy is the treatment of choice to strengthen muscles and increase their range of motion. Acupuncture treats pain and inflammation and stimulates healing. Massage breaks down scar tissue and increases blood flow to the affected areas.
Taken together, these treatments constitute a powerful formula for healing. Because their impact is cumulative, the results may not be apparent right away, or they may come slowly, a little bit at a time.
Keeping your morale high helps maintain that commitment to the process. Appreciate that extra hour of sleep without pain. Congratulate yourself for taking that first step towards recovery. Confucius said that even a thousand-mile journey begins with a single step.