Respect The Process: Recovering From Injury and Getting The Tootsie Roll

by Dr. Christopher on July 24, 2012

“Life is a journey, not a destination.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

When you’re a child, your birthday is a big deal.

You give your mom a wish list.

You count down the months, then weeks, and finally days.

And no matter how intently you wish your birthday to be “today,” you must wait.

You can’t hurry up time, it is a process, and it must be respected.

Or you’ll drive yourself nuts.  Like the crazy girl above who can’t wait to crush mounds of candy.

Pain conditions, both physically and spiritually based, follow similar processes.  So do other natural processes such as pregnancy, detoxification, and getting to the tootsie roll center in a tootsie roll pop.


You might as well enjoy the ride. 

What Else Can I Do For My Back Pain? 

One of the most common questions after the first visit the patient throws on me is this:

Is there anything else I can do for [enter back pain, neck pain, disc herniation, plantar fasciosis, pimple, bloating from beer and pizza binge, my pregnant belly, etc.]

Sometimes, there’s a stretch or an exercise that can palliate symptoms a bit.  The law of diminishing returns often moves me to not even bother giving this advice.

I normally do offer the standard recovery rules of:

  • Eat Paleo to de-inflame your system.
  • Move to keep traffic moving through increasing bloodflow, because “the only healthy posture is one that’s always changing.” ~Stu McGill
  • Drink LOTS of water.
  • Consume as much fish oil as humanly possible.  One study said as little as 1200-2400 mg/day (2-5 capsules) of omega 3 supplements can be effective with pain caused by herniated or degenerated discs.  According to my good friend, Dr. Alex Rinehart, a chiropractor and clinical nutritionist, it’s not uncommon for him to prescribe 5000-20,000 mg/day for some conditions.  That’s a lot of pills.  But it works.
  • Sleep as many hours as possible, especially in the winter.
  • Be happy.
  • Last, but most importantly, learn to be still or meditate.  This step is the only way I know to truly understand patience and respect for your path, no matter what road you’re on.

The truth of most pathologies is that due to their nature, time is all that is needed.

How Many Licks Does it Take?

It takes …

  • 3 licks by that crazy owl to get to the tootsie of a tootsie roll pop.
  • 5-10 days to recover from an acute bout of cervical internal disc derangement.  (I’ll write an article about IDD soon.)
  • 5-50 treatments to relieve a bad case of achilles tendonosis.  (AT is a monster to get rid of, but it can be done).
  • 365 days for a depressed, alcoholic-abusing 21 year-old to get out of pain from a lumbar disc hernation.
  • 120 days for your red blood cells to regenerate.
  • 7 days for your skin cells to regenerate.  (That’s why a sun burn only lasts a few days, or even shorter when you eat an anti-inflammatory diet).
  • 3-5 days for the bloating to go down after binging on pizza, cookies, beer, and anything else you might be able to get your hands on.  Assuming you go back to excluding grains, dairy, sugar, and processed foods from your diet, of course.
  • 40 days for gluten to leave your system after 1 cracker.
  • 4 months between the time you give your mom your Christmas Wish List and Santa to deliver those presents you want so badly. 
  • 9 months for the baby to pop out of the pregnant mom.
  • 44 years for the 21 year old college graduate to retire.
  • ‘x’ years to manifest the life of your dreams.

Whether you really want that darn tootsie roll, your birthday gifts, or your pain to go away, time is a real variable on this planet. 

Take action in confidence that you’ll get where you’re going.  But you might as well enjoy the ride until then.

Dr. Christopher Stepien is a chiropractor, chronic pain specialist, and A.R.T. provider, and clinic director of the Barefoot Rehabilitation Clinic in Denville, NJ.  He has been trained under the Integrative Diagnosis system for “clinical excellence”.  He loves to help people in ANY way he can. Please reach out to him if he can be of a service in any way. It doesnt hurt to ask.

And live it up while you’re here on Earth.  Life is short my loves.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne September 3, 2012 at 8:50 pm

“The truth of most pathologies is that due to their nature, time is all that is needed.”


Dr. Christopher September 4, 2012 at 9:24 am

Yes, I do Anne Marie.

Can’t you see the progress you’ve made?

I can.

Anne Marie Mattaliano May 3, 2013 at 10:07 am

I love this article. Timely that you re -posted it:) and my favorite quote is “the two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” Thank you Dr. Chris and Leo Tolstoy, 2 exceptional writers! Enjoy this beautiful day!!

Dr. Christopher May 5, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Yes, timely, isn’t it? I agree, Leo Tolstoy is the man! And you enjoy this one as well AM!

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