A question often asked by patients is, ‘How often do I need to come in for an adjustment?’
The default answer to this is usually, ‘It depends.’
Well, everyone is different so it really depends on a number of factors: first of all, the reason a person is seeking chiropractic care in the first place. Other factors include the patient’s overall health and their history of illness and injury.
There is a wide spectrum between the smoothie-toting elite athlete and the Big Mac-toting beer belly couch-potato. Nonetheless, most people come in with some sort of complaint such as, "I hurt my back" or, "I have a headache".
After assessing all areas related to the patient’s health, a chiropractic treatment plan is formulated. This again ‘depends’ on the initial complaint, but generally speaking, most problems require a number of treatments over the course of days to weeks.
At the onset of care, the treatment frequency is usually higher, such as every other day or in some acute cases, every day for several days. Treatment progress is monitored on every visit. As the patient begins to improve, the frequency of treatment can be reduced until they reach a point where they feel 100% or they have reached their maximum recovery.
From here, the transition of care may be to a level where we can help ‘maintain’ proper structure and hopefully prevent future injuries.
Very often the patients that come in to get treated for their aches and pains realize the other benefits of chiropractic care and will elect to continue treatment on a regular basis.
Some people come in for care without a complaint per se, but they see the value of chiropractic care as part of their health regime in maintaining good health.
It is important to remember that most problems don’t begin with the onset of pain. Pain is the body’s way of telling us that enough is enough. With the exception of acute injuries, pain is the last thing to show up and the first to leave so it is not the best indicator of functional problems. The key, of course, is to prevent pain and potentially more damage to the body.
Maintenance care may range from once every couple of weeks to once every few months, again, depending on the individual. Of course, lifestyle changes like adequate diet and exercise and proper posture are part of the picture in maintaining or supporting good health.
So to answer the question: ‘How many chiropractic adjustments do I need?’ – Well, it depends.