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.
Below are the three phases of Chiropractic care. Each individual decides for themselves what type of care they would like to achieve. Although we would love to help you achieve all 3 phases of care, it is always your choice to decide which phase of care you would like to achieve.
The majority of patients consult a chiropractor because they have an ache or pain. In the first phase of chiropractic 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 chiropractic 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 few visits to a couple of weeks. If you are not responding to chiropractic care during this phase, you may be referred to another health-care provider.
Many patients make the mistake of DISONTINUING CARE at this phase, don’t make the same mistake. The pain goes away, but it does not indicate that the injured muscles, discs, ligaments and other soft tissue injuries are healed or corrected. Injuries not corrected have the potential of becoming worse later on.
Once your condition has stabilized, you enter the second phase of chiropractic care, where the objective is to correct any underlying injury or cause of discomfort, strengthen the muscles, and improve neuromusculoskeletal function. Restoring the body to normal or maximum function is the goal. In most conditions, pain is the last symptom to show up and the first thing to leave during chiropractic treatment.
Because of this, adaptations that have taken place in muscles, discs, ligaments, and other soft tissues require care beyond the first phase. The frequency of office visits is reduced over a period of a couple of 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 chiropractic 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 chiropractic care before fully healing the muscles and soft tissues, you can invite a relapse. This is a mistake many people make, and it sets them up for recurring health issues. Just like braces, if you stop treatment too early, your teeth will not be corrected. The same goes for your spine. Each adjustment builds on the one before.
It's hard to believe that, after all the time, effort, energy, and money put into correcting a problem, a patient would choose to forget this relatively easy phase of chiropractic care. As much as we'd love to see you in our office, we'd much rather assist you in maintaining your health rather than relieving your pain.
You then "graduate" to the wellness 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.
The purpose of the Wellness phase of care is to prevent relapses of previous conditions and to address new conditions before symptoms appear. This phase usually requires being seen 4-6 times a year (just like maintenance of your car and teeth), depending on your age, underlying spinal condition, length of time you’ve had your condition and lifestyle choices.
A personal wellness chiropractic care program will be designed specifically for you where we teach you how to incorporate good 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 plaque doesn't have a chance. Similarly, it often takes a long time to develop a spinal misalignment. But with regular maintenance, the bones will not have a chance to get out of line.
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. That's why we recommend a regular schedule of chiropractic check-ups.
You can then congratulate yourself on achieving your ultimate goal: optimal health.
Our passion is to help you reach your health goals. Dr. Wong creates individual treatment plans for patients, however, how long you decide to benefit from Chiropractic Care is always up to you.
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