Why My Chiropractor Wants Me To Come Back
It is not unusual for a patient to comment that their chiropractor wants them to continue on with care after their pain has gone or greatly diminished. While it may not be clearly communicated, there is good reason your chiropractor will recommend continued care.
To begin with, chiropractic care is significantly different than medical care: our focus is to go beyond pain or symptom relief and find the structural issues causing your pain AS WELL as addressing the original cause of the structural problems. The reality is, chiropractic care is more than dis-ease care, we are truly wellness care. This is why your doctor will encourage you to continue beyond pain relief.
Quality chiropractic treatment typically involves three phases of care: Relief, Stabilization and Maintenance. To achieve the best results for most conditions, progressing through all three phases is crucial.
Relief Phase is the first phase and the primary goal here is the relief of your pain or symptoms. The goals of this phase are usually achieved when the inflammation and/or muscle spasms have been reduced and there is an improvement in the affected joints mobility and alignment. Specific spinal adjustments or manipulations as well as such things as ice, heat, or interferential therapy typically accomplish this.
In many cases, the results of relief care is limited or temporary – and can rapidly return because the underlying cause has not be completely addressed. The real cause of the problem can be faulty structural mechanics, meaning damaged or weakened muscles and ligaments that create muscle imbalances that result in limited or improper joint motion or mobility. In turn, this creates internal joint stress and irritation, resulting in a constant opportunity for ongoing inflammation. This process can be initiated and repeated due to poor posture or work positions, repetitive movements or trauma.
Stabilization Phase is the second phase and since it addresses the faulty structural mechanics and their causes, can take longer, but the results are worth it. Factors that affect this phase of care and how long it will take include: overall health, pre-existing arthritis, health of the spinal disc, severity of any injury, duration of the condition and lifestyle issues. Along with adjustments, this phase of care can include specific exercise rehabilitation, workstation evaluation and lifestyle assessments. The goal is to return as much as possible to normal alignment and motion – then strengthen it.
Maintenance Phase is the last phase of care and its purpose is to help you maintain the results you have achieved. After all, you have made quite and investment in your health – why not preserve it!
This phase of care is important because the activities of day-to-day living places a significant amount of repetitive stress and strain on our bodies, which left unattended, can result in a flare up of our original pain and symptoms. Regular chiropractic check ups will allow an opportunity to keep an eye on your health and address the small mechanical stressors before they can cause big issues. Preventing problems before they arise is not only cost effective, but aids in maintaining a quality lifestyle.
As you can see, chiropractic offers much more than effective pain relief! The next time your chiropractor encourages you to continue with care, remember: they have your whole health picture in mind!