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When you experience back pain and you see a provider, how long do you expect it to take before you are well?  Are your expectations realistic or are you setting yourself up for disappointment?  Let’s look at some factors you must consider when working with your healthcare provider. 

Many conditions lead to a patients experiencing back pain.  It may be something as minor as a facet joint catching from sleeping wrong, to something more serious like a disc herniation or degenerative lumbar stenosis.  

If your previous chiropractic experience has been success with 1 or 2 adjustments, then naturally that is what you expect. Over the years, I have treated patients that left other chiropractors because “they didn’t get it in.”  For those new to chiropractic, these patients are expressing their belief that the chiropractor failed to put a bone back in place and therefore the chiropractor was not very good. 

The reality is our body changes. As we age, things wear out. We develop muscle, disc and arthritic joint changes. We also develop new conditions. Face it, when we are 50 years old, we do not heal the same way as when we were 20 years old. 

How long should it take for you to get well? 

This is a very difficult question given all the variables. 

In very general terms, here are a few examples.  If it is a new, uncomplicated facet problem then I anticipate 1- 5 visits over a couple of weeks. Mild to moderate sprains and strains often take 2-6 weeks to heal. Disc herniations are more serious. We know it is going to take 3 months for the disc to heal more fully, even if symptoms go away sooner. Most disc herniation patients will continue to have recurring future episodes. Then there are chronic ongoing conditions such as lumbar stenosis that never fully resolve. We help patients to manage these conditions at a higher level. 

1000 Case Study

If you were to combine all low back conditions together, using Cox flexion distraction, it was found to take an average of 12 visits over 29 days for resolution of symptoms or for patients to reach maximum improvement.  

What should you ask your provider?

No provider has a crystal ball on when you will be well. More important questions to ask are what is the treatment plan and what is the initial time frame in which we should be seeing improvement? Remember that your care is a partnership between you and your doctor. Keep the lines of communication open because you each have a part to play.

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