‘I’m still in pain after 6 weeks’

This is something we hear very occasionally but worth addressing as when you visit a health professional such as a Chiropractor you expect to be feeling better soon. However, this doesn’t always happen, and the reason is that everybody is different. Every single patient we have coming to the clinic has had a different journey, different durations, different reasons for the pain starting and the environmental factors that they’re currently in are all different.

So, let me give you an example; we have Mrs Jones who is 45 works in office and enjoys going on long walks at the weekend. We also have Mrs Smith who is 45 and a taxi driver, is relatively inactive and doesn’t move around too much when she finishes work. They both have low back pain and what’s called a disc injury in the lower back causing sciatica in one of their legs.

Mrs Jones the office worker has had the pain for the last three years and Mrs Smith the taxi driver has also had the pain for the last three years. They both start their care together and after three weeks Mrs Jones has said she notices there’s less pain in her leg and says she has a 70% improvement in the pain, whereas Mrs Smith the taxi driver still has the pain it says there is no change.

Why’s this? They both have the same injury and the same problem going to the same Chiropractor. Some of the time you can look at an x-ray or MRI scan from two people of the same age, same body shape who have lived their lives reasonably similarly and they will respond completely differently under the same treatment. This is why the human body is so complex to treat especially back pain. there are many different factors involved in our people recover from back pain.

What we are we are great at West Chiropractic is the structural side of fixing peoples back pain. What I mean by that is getting the body and the spine in the best position to be able to function as close to optimal as possible. There are two other main factors that can affect back pain, the first is emotional stress and the second is chemical stress. Emotional stress is at home or can be in the workplace, it will have a negative effect on the body’s ability to heal and we consistently hear people talking about how they’ve had a stressful week at work then the back and shoulders will tense up. Chemical stress is what we put into our bodies. Are we eating correctly, are we drinking correctly, are you smoking or drinking lots of alcohol will make the body acidic and affect the body’s ability to heal.

With regards to Mrs Jones and Mrs Smith we always try and dig deeper to see where we can help. So it actually turned out that Mr Smith the taxi driver had an episode of back pain 25 years ago when she started driving taxis. although she said she hasn’t felt the sciatic pain like this for 25 years she’s always had a niggle in the base of her spine.

Well this is the root cause of the issue for the sciatica and we showed her x-rays again and pointed out that this is where the problem is coming from, not the leg, so that niggle over the last 25 years has caused more degradation on the disc and more problems, therefore making it harder for her to heal. Disc issues could take anywhere from 9 to 12 months to fully resolve.

I also asked Mrs Smith the taxi driver what she was doing in the evenings, she mentions that she does nothing after a hard day she likes to sit on the couch with her husband relax and watch the movies. It turns out that she was lying on the couch with her legs by her side at 45 degrees putting more pressure through her spine. She wasn’t to know that this was bad for her which is why we must find out what is going on outside of the clinic to see where we can help. We addressed what she was eating and drinking she had a very pro inflammatory diet with lots of refined sugar and refined carbohydrates. Once we had addressed some of the underlying issues causing her healing to be slower she began to improve albeit slowly. It’s not a sprint it’s a marathon with issues like this, intends to take one month for each year the problem has been there.

If you can relate to Mrs Smith finding that you are struggling please let us know and we can address underlying issues that could be causing your healing to be slowed.