Stages of Chiropractic Care
It is important to understand the stages of chiropractic care because they are unique relative to those of other health-care disciplines. Because chiropractic addresses core physiological and biomechanical aspects of the body, the process to correct problems without drugs or surgery can take some time. Some conditions can be treated in a few visits, while others may take longer.
The following is a brief summary of the three major phases of chiropractic care.
The majority of patients consult a chiropractor because they have an ache or pain. In the first phase of care, the main objective is to eliminate or reduce your discomfort and stabilize your condition in the shortest amount of time. During this phase, progress is usually rapid.
The number of times you visit a chiropractor during this phase of care varies and is dependent upon your specific condition. It’s hard to say how long it will be until you see relief— it could be as short as a week or up to a month. If you are not responding to chiropractic care during this phase, you may be referred to another health-care provider.
Once your condition has stabilized, you enter the second phase of care, where the objective is to correct any underlying injury or cause of discomfort, strengthen the muscles, and improve neuro-musculoskeletal function. The frequency of office visits is reduced over a period of two to six weeks. Care may be supplemented by rehabilitation exercises, nutrition, and modification of daily habits.
It is important to remember that many of the conditions for which people seek care have developed over many years; therefore, correcting these problems is a true rehabilitative process. It helps to understand that it takes time to correct these conditions.
Once your discomfort has subsided, you may think all is well and choose to abandon your efforts. However, if you end your care before fully healing the muscles and soft tissues, you can invite a relapse. This is a mistake many people make, and it can set them up for recurring health issues.
It’s hard to believe that, after all the time, effort, energy, and money put into correcting a problem, a patient would choose to forgo this relatively easy phase of rehabilitation! As much as we’d love to see you in our office, we’d much rather assist you in maintaining your health rather than just relieving your pain.
Wellness or ‘Maintenance’ Phase
You then “graduate” to the maintenance phase, which is designed to maintain your improved health, encourage normal spinal function, prevent the return of the original condition, and catch small problems before they become serious. A personal wellness care program will be designed specifically for you where we teach you how to incorporate good posture, nutrition and exercise habits into your everyday life, thereby promoting vitality, endurance, and the ability to enjoy life at its fullest.
A good way to look at chiropractic is to relate it to dentistry. We all know it takes a long time to develop tooth decay, but with regular maintenance and check-ups, the decay has less chance of becoming serious. Similarly, it often takes a long time for spinal misalignment to manifest as pain or discomfort, but with regular maintenance, the structure can retain is alignment and function. Few things as complicated as your body can be “fixed” and then ignored.
Think of your car, your teeth, or your relationships. They take time and effort to maintain, but you know it’s worth it in the long run. The spine is a far more complex piece of engineering than any car or set of teeth. That’s why we recommend a regular schedule of chiropractic check-ups.
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