How long will it take to get better Phys?
This is a question we get asked multiple times a day, every day.
Firstly, every injury is different, as is every patient. It is not one size fits all or one magic potion. In saying that though, most injuries have similar patterns of recovery and rehabilitation.
The first stage of physiotherapy is usually to decrease pain and inflammation and address any neuromotor deficits (like balance or coordination). This will be followed by regaining range of motion and increasing neural mobility if a deficit was present. This may take 1-2 weeks. Or even longer in severe and complex cases. I can assure you, you will feel great and even forget about the injury once the pain has eased. But wait!, not too fast there. Rehab is not over and re-injury is common without ticking the next few boxes.
This is the fun and hopefully pain free part of physio and sometimes the more important part. This is where you learn to stop re-injury and take home a tool box of techniques that will allow you to recognise and strengthen before the same pain arises again…..which it may if tissues are not strong enough. Pain may even sneak back at times in a lesser way in your rehabilitation journey. This is completely normal.
We will correct biomechanics and increase stability with specific muscle activation and lengthening techniques. Yes you guessed it, stretching and exercises. Exercises are so so SO important. It is at this stage that recovery times are lengthened from slacking off, and weakened structures are compromised.
Last and probably the most fun is regaining proprioception – regaining balance and joint awareness and including sport specific function into rehab if that is what you need for a full recovery.
So how long is recovery? Well soft tissue averages at 6 weeks to heal. Ligaments take on average 3 months. That’s not including the second stage of rehab. So some rehab will average from 6 weeks to 3 months depending on some injuries and others take up to 12 whole months.