You’ve just spent months undergoing chiropractic care and physical therapy for your injury or condition. You’ve arranged your appointments around your already busy schedule and put in the time and work required to give your body its best chance at healing. Now you’re ready to go back to life as you knew it before all this happened. So where do you go from here? How do you resume your normal activities without risking ending up right back where you started?
One of the most common mistakes patients make is falling into the trap of not making the same time to abide by their home care instructions as they did to make it to their treatments when they were under active care. When you get discharged from care you are given home exercises, certain tools if necessary, and instructions on when and how often to carry out these tasks. The temptation of letting a busy life keep you from doing these things, without the supervision a treatment session provides, is an easy one to fall victim to. The purpose of these home programs is to facilitate both maintaining your recovery and to hinder rapid deconditioning and regression. Now that you’ve gotten better the goal is to keep you that way.
Another common mistake made amongst patients is improperly resuming physical activity once they are discharged from care. For patients who were active prior to care the inability to continue certain rigorous physical exercise programs while under treatment is often tough to tolerate. Once patients have properly recovered, they sometimes forget that their bodies have not trained with the same intensity for weeks, and often months, at a time. It is crucial to reintroduce your body to its old activity regimen GRADUALLY. A good rule of thumb is to pretend you are a novice at that particular activity again and reintroduce your body to that physical demand at a beginner level. This will allow you the opportunity to appropriately listen to your body’s ques and increase your intensity and difficulty levels at an appropriate gradual rate so as to avoid re-injury or even new injuries.
The final common mistake made by patients is ignoring signs of re-aggravation. For most patients it is not hard to remember the debilitating feeling of when the pain first became a problem, and when you resume your everyday activities you may feel discomfort that resurfaces but not to the same degree as your initial onset of pain. Where most patients go wrong is assuming that because they aren’t doubled over in pain again that they don’t need to heed these warnings from their body as important. If you experience an onset of discomfort that does NOT quickly self-resolve, no matter how mild, being proactive is your first best action to keep the problem at bay. Don’t wait until the problem becomes life-altering again before you seek intervention of care. In general, small tweaks are easier to quell than major re-exacerbations of pain and discomfort.
When you take care of your body, your body will take care of you. J
Until next time, be well.