I find that I’m sometimes more impatient than my own patients for their complaints to get better. Just the other day I was working on a patient who had developed sciatica (pain from the low back running down one or both legs). Any time a condition involves radiating pain, whether it’s down the legs or down the arms, it will generally take a bit longer to resolve than a more localized pain.
To this end, I recommended she come in for a few weeks in order to fully address the problem. Always keeping in mind, of course, that if she progressed more quickly than anticipated, we could change the treatment plan accordingly. After the third visit she wasn’t feeling any better. I guess I expressed a little frustration without realizing it. In a turnaround of roles, she had to explain to me that she did not expect to get better immediately and that she realized it would be a process. After recovering from a slight bit of embarrassment, I told her that she was absolutely correct and I thanked her for her patience. As it turned out, when I saw her after her fourth visit she had begun to feel significant relief and has improved since then.
It’s a part of human nature to want quick results. This is especially true in our modern world in which things happen immediately with the click of a mouse. But the human body has its own schedule. We don’t eat an extremely nutritious meal and then see the results a few hours later. It’s the accumulation of all our actions over time that determine our health. Just going to the gym once will not do much. If we go regularly, we begin to see the results.
The same works in reverse. Many times that sharp pain that occurred all of a sudden is the final result of accumulated stresses on the body over time. Sitting at a computer with one’s head hunched forward for eight hours a day five days a week will eventually take its toll on the neck tissues.
Nevertheless, as a chiropractor it is my mission is to get people out of pain and back to performing their goals as quickly as possible. I try to do this without a long involved care plan. It’s just that sometimes both I and my patients have to have a bit of patience.