We are asked quite frequently at The Mayfair Clinic how long recovery will take, oftentimes patients expect that treatment will be effective from the outset but that isn’t always the case. Depending on the type of injury and how long you’ve had the injury will play a part in how long it will take for you to see results from the treatment. Often patients will ask straight away during the initial consultation or partway through the recovery process, especially if their recovery is happening slower than expected. In reality, recovery is actually a series of significant improvements, followed by occasional relapses or small steps back in progress. 

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What complicates recovery from back conditions?

In an ideal scenario with a condition like a slipped disc that has occurred in the lower back, this is something that we see on a regular basis causing back pain and sciatica. It’s also a condition that we have good success with using our Spinal Decompression treatment. With a estimated success rates at around 90%, there are very few cases where patients will not have success. As a result, most of the step-backs in treatment can often happen because it’s difficult to control aspects on your life that can potentially worsen your back pain. By this we mean, if you commute to work on the tube or on the bus most people do spend the time sat down or perhaps looking down at their phone. You may also sit at a desk for the rest of the day, or even in active roles where you are having to lift things on a regular basis, are you lifting with correct posture that puts the least amount of pressure on the spine? When you return from work are you spending a couple of hours watching TV perhaps slouched in bed or on the sofa? 

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Long-term relief from back pain

Because these aspects are nowadays part and parcel of our everyday lives, for that reason we don’t expect our patients to have a strictly linear recovery process because it’s an unrealistic expectation. If it was possible for us as practitioners to stop someone from sitting down all day, or help them take regular breaks, even encourage them to not slouch on the sofa in the evenings, then we could get more of a straight line of improvement. We know this isn’t the case, and luckily most of our patients don’t expect that to be the case either. A traditional pattern of improvement is usually a period of small improvements, followed by more noticeable significant improvements with the occasional relapse or step back in progress interspersed throughout treatment. But usually with consistent treatment at first, a maintenance plan in place once the treatment has been completed, and a rehabilitation plan involving exercises or stretches done at home to strengthen the spine, will usually result in a patient experiencing pain relief that extends into long-term relief. 

Back Pain Relapses

We liken the recovery process to being very similar to a knee injury because it’s most likely something that at some point everyone has experienced. Everyone at some point in their lives has fallen over, perhaps grazed or cut their knee enough to experience it being quite painful and a scab forming over the wound. Although the knee will heal nicely over the next few days as the body repairs itself, especially if you’ve applied wound healing aids to the injury as well, you may find that if you bend down to pick something up you may rip the scab open and it hurts again.

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Before you may have been feeling great and the pain may have dissipated, but now it’s back again just like when you first injured it. This kind of relapse is something that usually occurs when you have treatment on your spine – especially when you consider that your spine is involved in every activity that you participate in during the day, making it highly likely you’ll experience small relapses at some point during your treatment. It’s important to not be alarmed by relapses, these are to be expected only as long as for the most part the overall recovery process has been going in the right direction.

If you’re concerned at any point during your treatment that a relapse may have occurred, it’s aways a good idea to bring it up with your practitioner or anyone who has been treating you – whether that’s your GP, your local osteopath, chiropractor or physiotherapist. As long as you are aware that relapses are part and parcel of the recovery process and you try your best to avoid doing anything that will aggravate your spine. It is only natural when you start experiencing pain relief, that you can attempt to try and do something you may have done before you had any kind of back pain – although you may feel like you may be ready, it can be best to check with your practitioner to see if you’re ready for that kind of activity or if they think it won’t harm your progress. 


If you’re suffering with back or neck pain, and looking for a practitioner in the London area, call The Mayfair Clinic today to see how we can help. On your first session with us you’ll experience an examination complete with orthopaedic testing, x-ray imaging if clinically relevant, a diagnosis and treatment on your first visit. Call us on 0203 947 3222 or email us at info@themayfairclinic.com to find out more. 

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