How Many Chiropractic Visits Are Needed For Optimal Health?
There’s a common belief that seeing a chiropractor is always the beginning of a long-term relationship. There’s a sense that once you start seeing a chiropractor, you’ll be forced into treatment after treatment, unable to escape the chiropractor’s grasp. Nothing could be further from the truth - but, like most things in your life, how many times you’ll need to see your chiropractor is dependent on many factors.
No chiropractor can treat 20 or 30 years of abuse and neglect with one adjustment. The number of treatments you require is dependent on many factors, including your individual history of injuries, surgeries, sports, genetics, occupation, exercise, weight and more. The length of time that a particular condition (such as back or neck pain) has been developing also plays a role. But perhaps the most important question is what are the patient’s goals?
If all a patient wants is to “feel better,” then two or perhaps three appointments may be all that is needed. But keep in mind that how things feel is not always a good indicator of how things really are. Your spine and nervous system has a built-in ability to adapt and compensate for dysfunction in an attempt to improve your symptoms. By the time the body has lost the ability to compensate any further, the patient visits a chiropractor and says “I’ve had this pain for three days.” Actually, the patient has likely had this dysfunction for much longer - their body simply finally gave in three days ago.
If the patient’s goal is resolution or long-term improved health, then physical pain or symptoms are only a small part of the care you can expect. Of course, the first goal is to minimize or eradicate the pain. After that, your chiropractor will work to find out what led to the dysfunction in the first place. With continuing care, you and your chiropractor will plan any rehabilitative care or lifestyle changes that may be recommended. This might include stretching and exercise at home, supplements, or ergonomic changes at work or in your home.
Think of chiropractic care like a visit to the dentist: if you go regularly and get regular examinations, you’ll prevent painful tooth decay and future painful and uncomfortable dental work. Seeing a chiropractor is much the same - preventative care is part of their practice, and regular visits could stop you from experiencing back pain or neck or shoulder pain again.