Our current society has become very accustomed to immediate gratification which can be very convenient in our fast-paced lifestyles, however, it is not always realistic to expect immediate gratification as it relates to musculoskeletal healing. Throughout my career, I have discovered the largest struggle within our profession is convincing our clients that their bodies have the capacity for healing when provided a healing environment and time. “Time? Who has the patience for that? There is never enough time! I have so much to do!”
Frequently, I will share a chart that my colleague presented at a lunchtime learning experience that charted out approximate ranges of time for maximal healing of commonly injured structures in the body. People are shocked when I tell them how long it may take for a tendon to heal completely or cartilage structures in the knee to heal 100%. This is many times why people may not feel successful with physical therapy. It is common to discontinue physical therapy too early, push through pain, resort to compensatory strategies, or return to prior sports performance before the body is ready which leads to relapses, re-injury, and sometimes chronic pain. However, the body is resilient and changing your mindset as it relates to recovery and rehabilitation can make all the difference. It doesn’t matter if you decide to try physical therapy, chiropractic care, orthopedic care, or body work. The body will always demand time whether that is to heal conservatively, rehabilitate following a surgery, or progress and tolerate new alignments or strength loads. Your mindset can either help your healing process or it can become a barrier to reaching your goals. Many of these rehabilitative professions complement each other beautifully as it relates to optimizing your musculoskeletal healing. You can build a recovery team that supports your personalized goals and restores you to optimal healthy and pain free movement.
I challenge you to reframe your thinking as it relates to long term musculoskeletal health! What does that mean? A physical therapist might challenge you to appreciate the benefit of functional healthy joint mobility, muscular flexibility, strength and stability, maintenance of functional movement patterns, varied movement, the concept of moving more and sitting less, celebrating all forms of movement. A holistic minded health care professional may challenge you to consider how your sleep health, nutrition, hydration, and stress may be affecting your body’s healing environment or how realistic goals and modifications are significantly impactful to a full recovery. As you embark on your wellness journey, remember to give your body grace and allow it the time it needs to heal while creating an environment that supports healing.