As Physio’s we often get asked the question… How long until I’m better?
I wish there was a one size fits all answer to this question, however there is no ‘recipe’ style approach that can give a conclusive answer to this, as every injury is as unique as we humans are.
In saying that we can work out general timeframes for conditions and inform our patients as a guideline for recovery. This will ensure our patients understand the length of time things MAY take to heal from the get-go.
As a general rule:
- Minor conditions may be resolved in 2-4 sessions
- Moderate: 5-10 sessions
- More complex- 10+
- Minor condition might be wry neck or minor flair up of your back
- Moderate condition could be a grade 2 hamstring tear or shoulder impingement
- Complex might be nerve referral into the arm or leg, or other more complex conditions that have numerous contributing factors. Usually the patient has had this complaint for a considerable length of time.
The session frequency is up to the Physios discretion, we often rationalise:
‘Will the patient be better overall in 1 week if I saw them twice rather than once this week?’ If the answer to this question is YES, then your physio should recommend to see you 2x weekly initially etc.
We also talk about Time in = time out
What does this mean?
Simply… the length of time you have had the injury or complaint can dictate the length of time it is going to take us to get it better
I.e. – Back pain that you have had for 6 weeks may take 6 weeks to recover
When we are coming up with your session dosage and frequency there are multiple factors that can play a part, such as:
- Age- the older your age the longer healing times
- Time you have had the complaint / injury
- Mechanism of Injury
- Have you had the same injury before?
- Type of tissue that is affected i.e. Tendons will take longer times to heal compared to muscle injuries
- Your general health
- Type of work you perform
The graph below is a great representation of what recovery can look like. It’s not always a straight road to recovery and there may be multiple factors impacting time frames. It’s normal to have flare ups/ relapse on the road to getting better, rest assured you’re not alone if you encounter these along the way and this is perfectly normal.
We hope this clarifies some of our thinking when we’re formulating a treatment plan. As you can see there are many factors that contribute to recovery, importantly it’s not a one size fits all approach.
If you have any questions at all please reach out, we’d love to help.