One of the most common questions in my office is:
“Hey doc how often should I be getting adjusted?”
The answer to that question is both simple and complex. In my office it is simple; however trying to apply that across the board for everyone no matter who your chiropractor is can be extremely complex.
The point to this article is not to make recommendations for all people across the board. There are just too many variables depending on each individual chiropractor’s practice and the nature of each patient’s complaint.
My goal for this article is to explain my own recommendations for the patients in my office.
Lets use the KISS method here (Keep It Simple Stupid):
Chiropractic adjustments stimulate the brain/nervous system. The nervous system is responsible for controlling and coordinating every action and reaction of the body. Besides exercise, getting a chiropractic adjustment is one of the best ways to make sure your brain is talking to your body.
What is a chiropractic adjustment? It is basically Movement; “Your body is meant to move well and move often” my favorite quote from Mr. Gray Cook. Modern life has geared us towards moving less and sitting more so our joints get stiff and pain can set in. So guess what? Proper movement in everyday life means needing less chiropractic adjustments!!
In my office, patients cycle through 3 different phases of care:
1. Health Recovery
Most people start out with pain or something else that needs a more direct, focused treatment. This initial phase of care is called “Health Recovery” and is meant to address the chief concern as quickly and efficiently as possible. For some it is just a few adjustments and they are on to the next phase, and for others it can take a little longer depending on the nature of the complaint.
*As a side note here: Chronic pain or issues tend to need a more investigative approach to get to the root issue. Using a multidisciplinary approach is key to success and there are no cookie cutter approaches. Those patients all require individualized treatment plans and different amounts of care.
Once you are through the initial Health Recovery phase you move in to the “Maintenance Phase.” In the maintenance phase of care the goal is to ‘maintain’ the improvements from the first phase of care and prevent setbacks. This is done by coming in for preventative care assessments and treatments 4-6 times a year (some cases require more depending on your health history). I always recommend that you also come in anytime as needed for any flare-ups. Remember pain is the last thing to show up when there is a problem and the first thing to go away.
Think about it like your teeth. You go to the dentist for acute pain or problems such as a cavity. He fills the cavity and tells you to come back as needed. However you still come in 2-3 times a year to get your teeth checked & cleaned because you know that it is the best way to prevent future cavities.
Chiropractic care and adjustments are the same way, except we are talking about the joints of your spine and extremities not your teeth. And believe it or not we move a lot more than we chew. So getting a few more check ups a year to assess joint mobility can be one of the smartest things you can do to stay healthy.
Another important note would be that many Maintenance Phase patients will cycle back into the Health Recovery Phase due to an unforeseen injury or new complaint. Once again the goal would be to get them back into the maintenance phase as soon as possible.
There is one more phase of care that I offer in my office and that is the “Performance Phase.” This is exactly what it sounds like, treatment for athletes. Lets face it, we all want to look good, feel good and be healthy. However, some people want to win, to perform, to push their body to the limit and see how far they can go. Those people have an advanced set of needs for different kinds of nutrition, different kinds of exercise, and different kinds of healthcare.
My recommendations for athletes that want to pursue the Performance Phase of care are as follows:
- Get a real physical. That means not only checking your vitals, height and weight and eyesight, but also means checking your movement. If you don’t move well then why not and what can you do about it? The Functional Movement Screen is your first and best choice to find out! Ask us about setting up a functional screen for you.
- Get your spine and extremities checked regularly. We suggest at least every 6 weeks off-season; and every 2-4 weeks during season. Most athletes spend a substantial amount of time each week training, which equals a lot of wear and tear. Getting adjusted can go a long way towards improving functioning and decreasing likelihood for injury.
- Get tuned up before an event and cleaned up after. Like a Formula One racecar, when you are about to compete you want to be firing on all cylinders. Let’s supercharge that nervous system to give you the most optimal function before the event. Afterwards, you want get back to the garage and fix anything that needs fixing afterwards.
To summarize, my office promotes 3 phases of care:
- Health Recovery Phase: This is the pain relief phase
- Maintenance Phase: This is the maintain the gain and prevention phase
- Performance Phase: Athlete specific care
I hope this article has given you some insight into how you can get the most out of your care here at Rx Chiro. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to call. And as always you can book your appointments online at DrLanceRobbins.com