While I was in between clients the other day, a woman came into the office looking at our Temper-Pedic cervical pillows. Hearing more about her needs, it was clear that she was looking at a new pillow because her neck hurt. Inquiring how long her neck had been hurting, she informed me that it had hurt for almost three months. A few days after a low-impact car accident, her neck began to hurt. When I asked her about what she had done in response, she replied that time heals all and her neck would surely improve eventually. How much time is reasonable? Two months? Five months? After a certain point this strategy doesn’t seem very logical.
Life tends to constantly remind us that ignoring a problem seldom makes it go away. Clearly however, there are physical issues that do dissipate with a little time. What is a reasonable criterion to know the difference?
One possibility is trajectory. If you have a muscular issue, it is not uncommon for it to last for two to three days. After day four, is the pain getting less or staying about the same? Is this discomfort affecting daily life? If each day the condition continues to improve, it is likely to disappear on its own. This can be a bit tricky to perceive as your nervous system can habituate to the pain, that is why noticing if the discomfort affects your daily life is sometimes more accurate than just measuring the intensity of pain. If the discomfort isn’t improving significantly each day, consider getting some targeted Precision Neuromuscular Therapy to change the course of events. The goal of our massage therapy is to speed up the process, helping you to recover as quickly as possible.
What does recover mean exactly? This is a fair question, given some recent research data. As you are aware, when your body is in pain, you use yourself differently. Muscles alter their function and often go into protective tightness. What makes sense is that when the pain is no longer there, the muscles return to regularly scheduled programming. This is a nice idea, but not born out in the research data. Muscles seem to continue their altered function even when this is no longer needed. This can lead to a different set of problems down the road.
Having our targeted approach to massage therapy is like pressing reset (or the refresh button) on an electrical system. It causes the system to reassess the state of affairs based on current, rather than historical data. That can be a powerful tool to redirect the system back to more optimal functioning.