There are typically three stages of care for the average patient. These consist of symptomatic relief, tissue healing and improvement in function, and preventative care to minimize new injuries and the recurrence of past injuries.
The first stage for most patients is relief care. During this initial phase the goal is to provide symptomatic relief. Treatments focus on the fastest and most effective way to reduce pain and discomfort in order to continue the functions of day to day life. Patients are usually told to maintain their mobility and function while taking it easy to prevent any further injury. Therapy to reduce inflammation and muscle spasms are also applied during the first stage.
The second stage is the corrective care phase. This includes healing and rehabilitation of affected tissues through correction of the factors that caused the injury. During this stage individuals must follow all of the doctor’s instructions. It is extremely important to do so in order to completely heal the injury. Failure to do so may increase your risk of further injury and setbacks in the healing process.
Home exercises, regular appointments and adherence to the doctor’s instructions are the key to getting back to normal. Be aware that just because the pain has subsided, it does not mean that your injury has completely healed.
After the condition has been resolved it is recommended that patients come in for regular checkups. For some patients this may mean once a month, while for others it may be once a year. It is important to catch any problems in the beginning stages instead of waiting for them to become debilitating. Irreversible tissue damage can occur if conditions are left untreated for too long.