The super easy answer is “when you feel pain”, but it’s not always that cut and dry. Some of you have been experiencing pain for quite some time now and have been able to still “push through” without seeing anyone, so it makes it harder to justify scheduling an appointment with a provider.
Others just got hurt and don’t know if they should wait it out and see if it heals on its own with a combination of ibuprofen and their ice pack at home or if they should schedule ASAP. This is where it gets interesting and why our advice differs between each individual and their goals.
Working with a lot of athletes, we often get put on more expedited timelines than most. This is because a lot of these athletes have something coming up, such as a big game or the start of their season, or are unable to train in their off-season due to an injury or pain.
For ATHLETES, our recommendation is if it hinders your ability to perform in your sport at a MODERATE TO HIGHER level, you should seek an evaluation and treatment ASAP.
For example, if you hurt your shoulder working out and you aren’t able to throw that hard or that far without moderate to intense pain, you should schedule an appointment as soon as you can. This idea that a day or two of rest will moderately to completely heal an injury is utter nonsense. Especially for those that compete at higher levels. Now if you have a long break and aren’t in a rush, it’s okay to take a week or two to see how you feel. But make sure in that time you are still moving and emphasizing your recovery through sleep and nutrition.
For those who have been dealing with pain for several months, sometimes even years, the first thing we ask is how much it costs you to be in pain. Not financially, but how much of your life is it affecting? Sure, your lower back pain may be only a 3-4/10 on the pain scale, but if you haven’t been able to bend down to tie your shoes or put on your pants without difficulty in over a year, it’s time to suck it up and see someone. Anyone.
This person becomes known for their pain by others and how it affects them. You don’t want to be the Mom who is always complaining about her lower back and unable to do a lot of physical activity but doesn’t do anything about it. But when we see chronic pain patients, they are always pushed to their limit either by the pain intensity and frequency suddenly increasing, or because they were so annoyed they could no longer perform a basic task because they were in pain.
This patient ends up being the patient who says “I wish I came to you guys earlier” once they finally start living without pain.
Our advice to those in chronic pain is:
-If it is affecting your basic daily activities and functioning, schedule an appointment
-If it is affecting your psyche, your mood, your personality, and your work, it’s time to schedule
-If your pain is drastically limiting your physical activity because you can no longer exercise comfortably
-Schedule ASAP when you have tried all the medical Skittles and nothing is helping
Different goals and different timelines require different advice. It’s not as cookie-cutter as people think. That’s why we offer a FREE 30-minute consultation for all prospective patients in Tampa and St. Pete. The goal of this conversation is to learn a lot more about YOU and YOUR goals. We need to learn about you and what you want before we can give you any advice. Because if we’re not the right fit for you, guess what? We’re going to still be there to help you find and schedule you with the right person. Schedule your free discovery visit today at strengthchiro.com or call 727-228-3030
Dr. Cameron Gholampour DC, MS, CCSP
International Certified Sports Chiropractor
Strength & Spine Chiropractic