Understanding the stages of chiropractic care because the treatment during these phases is unique relative to those of other health-care disciplines. Because chiropractic addresses core physiological and bio-mechanical aspects of the body, the process to correct problems without drugs or surgery can take some time. Some conditions can be treated in a brief period of time, while others may take longer.
The following is a brief summary of the three major phases of chiropractic care. One of our board certified chiropractic physicians will discuss each phase of care in detail based on the customized care plan created for you.
Phase 1: Relief Care
Most often patients consult a chiropractor when 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. Though we can often reduce the pain or discomfort in a short amount of time, it takes longer to correct the problem that has existed for a while which ultimately led to the symptoms you have been having.
The number of visits you will need during this phase of care fluctuates and is dependent upon your specific condition. The amount of time it will take until you see relief 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.
Phase 2: Corrective Care
Once your chiropractor has conducted a re-evaluation of your condition and determines it has stabilized, you enter the second phase of care. The objective during this phase is to correct any underlying injury or cause of discomfort, strengthen the muscles, and improve neuromusculoskeletal function. The frequency of office visits is reduced depending on the intensity of your condition and the progress you have made in phase one. Care may be supplemented by rehabilitation exercises 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.
Often patients think the problem is healed once the pain or discomfort has subsided and do not think they need to continue with their recommended care plan. If you end your care before fully healing the muscles and soft tissues, it is very possible you will lose the progress you have already achieved and the pain or discomfort will return. This is a mistake many people make, and can lead to recurring health issues.
After all the time, effort and energy put into correcting a problem, why choose to forgo this relatively easy phase of 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.
Phase 3: Wellness Care
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. A personal wellness care program will be designed specifically for you where we teach you how to incorporate good posture 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 care 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. That’s why we recommend a regular schedule of chiropractic check-ups.
When you take the time and effort to maintain because you know it’s worth it in the long run, you can then congratulate yourself on achieving your ultimate goal: optimal health!