After nearly 10 years of being a registered osteopath I’d like to think I have got a good grasp of what works and what doesn’t. I’ve tried many approaches with my clients over the years and of course I’ve had my failures as well as my successes.
I finally feel that I have a system that works and today I’d like to share my approach with you. This is not a quick fix system and it certainly doesn’t come without effort on your part but if you stick to my guidelines I am certain you will have some great results with your pain.
So without further ado let me introduce my system.
My 3 phase approach to pain
1- Reduce Pain
2- Re-establish muscle flexibility / joint mobility
3- Strengthen the area
Phase 1- Reduce Pain
This is where the majority of our patients start with us. Most of the time people go to see an osteopath because they are in pain. This can be acute or chronic, but either way the aim will be to reduce pain first.
In my opinion, the key to getting someone out of pain is to improve blood flow through the affected area. I do this through gentle soft tissue massage work and movement of the joints. As the blood flow improves, inflammation in the area is removed and fresh blood takes its place. This will help reduce pain and allow better healing.
This phase can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on what the issue is. Generally the longer you have had the issue the longer it might take to respond.
Phase 2- Flexibility / Mobility
Once your pain has decreased to a minimal amount you will find that you are left with stiffness around that area. This is the right time to regain some of that lost flexibility in the muscles or the joints by doing specific stretches or self-massage.
During this phase you should be consistent and disciplined with your stretches to ensure you continue to improve. It can be too easy to become slack and not do your stretches but that would really affect your progress.
This phase will usually take around 2 to 3 weeks of consistent stretching to get you back to where you were before your pain (not including chronic pain that have been ongoing for years).
Phase 3- Strengthen
I cannot stress how important this phase is. It is probably the most important phase of all, especially if you have chronic pain or recurring injuries.
Unfortunately though this is where most people stop. The main reason being that they think they are better and don’t need to do anything else. Other reasons include laziness or “they don’t like exercise”.
At this point, people often ask me about Pilates as a form of rehab and strengthening. I think Pilates is OK, more so at the beginning of the rehab phase, but ultimately I believe external resistance needs to be added. What I mean is that I believe most people should do specific weight training to strengthen the muscles. I say this because in my experience Pilates will only get you so far by using your own body weight whereas weight training will take you further with your strength.
This is probably the longest phase of the three. I usually advise that it will take a minimum of 3 months to get your problem area strengthened up. Realistically though you are looking at 6 months to 1 year. But I promise you it is worth it to be out of pain and not worrying about that pain coming back again!
If you are suffering from any type of pain, acute or chronic, it is possible to get out of pain for good. You just have to make sure you can stick with your programme and be consistent.
If you would like to get out of pain for good then give us a call because we can help you.
We look forward to seeing you soon,