"How long will it take for me to get better?"
There's a million different variables that go into answering this question, because no two people are the same. This will give you a bit of a framework so you can start to figure out if you will have a fast recovery or a long recovery.
Let's start with an example of 2 baseball players. These 2 have similar injuries and pain points, but different recovery processes. Player one comes into our clinic with pain in his elbow. He started to notice the pain 3-4 weeks ago. He has been resting it, but it hasn't gotten any better. His injury in fairly acute, he hasn't been injured in the past, and he is looking to get back on the mound. We have to breakdown his rehab into the four main pillars
1-Is there anything physically damaged that is going to limit your recovery in any way?
2-What is your mindset about your recovery?
3-How well do you move?
4-What is your capacity, or strength and control over your movement?
Lets break down player one, he has only had issues for a couple of weeks. He has a little bit of tenderness in his elbow. The issue is more muscular, there is nothing damaged in his ligament. So there are not really many structural issues. He has got some trigger point in muscles, that we will work out.
Next, lets talk about his mindset. He has never really had an injury before and he is not super concerned he needs surgery. He is in a good place mentally. Player one just wants to get out of pain and get back on the mound as quick as possible. He is in a good mindset about his recovery.
His movement, there are some restrictions that causing his elbow to get over-stressed, they don't seem to be longstanding or chronic. The movement issues are relatively minimal.
Finally, his capacity. He has been training, throwing and hasn't been out for any prolonged period of time. He lifts weights regularly and is in pretty good shape.
So, when we look at player one across the four pillars, his issues are relatively mild. There's not a lot going on in any one of the four pillars, so he has the ability to make a quick recovery.
Now, let's take player two.
Player 2 is complaining of the same elbow issue. Structurally, same spots, same tenderness, and has trigger points in the muscles of his elbow. Player 2, however has been having pain on and off for 3 years. He has had to take time off from throwing. He hasn't been able to be healthy for a prolonged period of time. He's had some other issues in the past, like back pain and hip issues. Player 2 has issues that are chronic.
Let's now talk about his mindset. He has been through the rigor. Other therapist and physicians have told him certain things, and maybe not have come through on the promises. He has a lot built up in his mind that he has to contend with as part of his rehab process.
He has movement dysfunctions, since he's had pain for several years, the issues in other areas of his body, are much more pronounced. The way his injury ties in with his shoulder, or his hips or his core, other areas, flexibility in other areas are a big problem. So, his movement dysfunctions are much more.
His capacity, because he hasn't been able to train consistently or throw consistently, he's always having to take time off, is not where it needs to be as well. So, while it's the same injury, the differences through the pillars of his rehab are going to dictate his recovery in a much different way.
So, player one versus player two, who's going to take longer to get better? Now, we'll have success with both, but it's imperative that they understand all of the factors going into the rehab process and what is going to dictate the duration, or answer that question of, "How long will it take for me to get better?" You can break these pillars down in an infinite amount of detail. But for now, that's a good framework to start with.
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Edited and Published by: Katie Brindley, Client Manager