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How Long Does it Take to Heal

Palm Desert Chiropractic Patients Want to Know

Your pain experience is individual, so your relief time is unique to you as well. However, published clinical outcomes can give you an idea of what to expect with Palm Desert Chiropractic care.

General Healing Time

  • Bones tend to mend rather quickly if they have a good blood supply: 5-6 weeks.
  • Ligament and tendons take a little longer: 6-8 weeks.
  • Discs and cartilage take the longest: 3 months or more.
  • If you have a combination of these factors, it may take some time. If you smoke, drink alcohol or have a surgical procedure, your healing time may be a bit more time intensive as well.

    young white business man at laptop holding left arm to low back pain

    Disc Healing Time

    It takes 3 months to heal a disc before you can expect to go about your activities of daily living like an extended amount of sitting, bending, lifting and twisting. (1) Like a broken arm that quits hurting after a few days in a cast, you still have to wear the cast for many weeks to allow healing. Your back will also stop hurting early on in the treatment care plan, but you will have to allow your disc to heal for at least 3 months before testing it with more strenuous activities. "Allowing the disc to heal" chiropractic activities may include simply remembering that you are healing even though you don't experience pain, doing your exercises, avoiding bending/lifting/twisting, not sitting for extended periods of time, etc.

    Clinical Data Outcomes

    Cox Technic protocols are published standards as they gave direction for the collection of data from 30 chiropractic clinics regarding 1,000 low back pain patient cases, the first and largest collection of its kind in chiropractic. Two-hundred ninety-three (293) different variables were collected from and/or about each patient regarding the patient and his/her symptom, history, care, outcomes. (2) This case study uncovered the number of days to maximum improvement (100% relief of pain, 3 months of care, or return to pre-injury state) and the number of visits to maximum improvement.

    • The mean number of days is 29.
    • The number of visits is 12.

    However, some conditions do need more days and chiropractic visits. When symptoms are taken into account, the results vary. Examples:

    L5 disc herniation

    • 86% were maximally improved in less than 3 months
    • 64% required fewer than 20 visits
    • 70% required fewer than 30 visits

    Lumbar Sprain/Strain

    • 91% were maximally improved in less than 3 months
    • 71% required fewer than 20 visits
    • 91% required fewer than 30 visits


    1. Hirschberg G: Treating Lumbar Disc Lesion by Prolonged Continuous Reduction of Intradiscal Pressure. Texas Medicine 1974; vol. 70: 58-68
    2. Cox, JM, Feller JA, Cox JA: Distraction Chiropractic Adjusting: Clinical Application, Treatment Algorithms, and Clinical Outcomes of 1000 Cases Studied. Topics in Clinical Chiropractic 1996; (3)3:45-59, 79-81