There are many medical treatment options that require ongoing appointments over months or years.
Examples include physical therapy, allergy shots, psychological counseling, orthodontics, speech therapy and other treatments. Chiropractic and acupuncture also require that the patient have multiple treatments spread over weeks or months.
Even antibiotic treatment requires multiple doses over a specified time period. And in many cases, the regimen may need to be repeated depending upon how effective the first round is.
It is human nature to give up too soon if results are not what we would like to see, or if we are frustrated with the time or expense of following through, or if we begin to feel better and think we no longer need the treatment.
This is a big concern in the world of antibiotics. Many experts consider the common tendency to discontinue use of antibiotics as soon as symptoms disappear to be a factor in the increase in drug-resistant pathogens.
It is not unusual in a therapist’s, chiropractor’s or counselor’s office to hear, “I’m feeling better now, so there is no reason to continue with my scheduled appointments, right?”
Don’t make the mistake of discontinuing treatment as soon as you begin to feel better!
The decrease in symptoms does not mean healing is complete.
Symptoms are not an absolute indicator of the status of a health issue.
Think of all the patients that will end up in the hospital with a heart attack tonight that feel fine right now. Their circulatory system is seriously threatened and a crisis is looming, yet they have no symptoms – yet. Even after emergency treatment for the heart condition and symptoms begin to fade, healing from the crisis will take months or years.
In our office spine and joint pain may respond quickly at times even though the underlying condition still requires ongoing treatment to resolve.
If you have been undergoing treatment for a painful condition, don’t be fooled into thinking that the problem is resolved just because the pain is better.
The absence of pain does not mean healing is complete. Patients that discontinue their treatment prematurely are increasing their risk of a recurrence of their problem, often with greater consequences.
For spine and joint injuries, treatment plans are carefully designed to take into consideration existing joint function issues, prior injuries that may have left you with weakened tissues, current tissue damage that requires proper treatment for proper healing response and other factors.
A health consultant once quipped, “I’m going to write a book called “101 Things That Worked So Well I Quit Doing Them!”
It is human nature to take the easy route and avoid taking the time to do the things that are good for us. That is why so many people are facing health challenges right now.
The same principle applies to following through with dietary regimens that have been recommended for health reasons.
I never recommend crash diets or rapid weight loss plans. However, for many patients a sensible shift in their dietary habits is essential to regain their health. Even if a patient is not terribly overweight, their diet may be playing a significant role in their health challenges.
If you have been working with a health professional and have received dietary modifications as a recommendation, it will likely be in your best interest to follow through with the plan rather than abandon it as soon as your symptoms improve.
It is important to remember that in many health conditions, the symptoms improve long before the underlying condition has actually resolved. Failure to follow through properly may lead to a more serious recurrence.