How Many Adjustments
Types of Chiropractic Care
Why is it that one chiropractor will tell you to come back when it hurts whilst another chiropractor wants to put you on a program of care over weeks or months for exactly the same problem?
How many chiropractic adjustments do you need?
The different answers you get to this question can be very confusing indeed. The reason this confusion occurs is because there are two very different treatment approaches chiropractors use in practice.
This blog will help you understand the advantages and disadvantages to each of these approaches so you can decide which one is right for you.
Types of chiropractic care
There are two treatment approaches you need to consider when going to a chiropractor:
- Corrective care – this care aims to get you symptom free by removing poor spinal function and any underlying problems, to keep you as healthy as possible into the future
- Pain Relief care – this cares only aim is to get you symptom free
Understanding the difference between Corrective care and Pain Relief care is essential when choosing the best type of care for you.
Corrective or Pain Relief Care
The western health care system is primarily pain based. You go to your doctor when you have symptoms. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is the motto many of us were raised on.
It’s like when you hurt your knee. You don’t consciously limp to protect your knee, your brain acts on a subconscious level to alter the way your muscles are working. You limp whether you like it or not, in fact you can’t stop limping, even if you want to.
When it comes to your spine, your brain acts in exactly the same way. It is constantly adapting how it controls your spinal function based on the information it receives from the pain and other receptors in your spine,
If your spine is not functioning properly, over a period of time your brain will start to believe that this is normal for you.
What causes spinal pain
Over time, your spine can slowly lose its ability to move properly without you even realising it’s happening. Your muscles will tighten, and your spine will lose its flexibility and mobility.
Eventually you will get postural changes, muscle strength changes and a marked loss of spinal movement becomes evident. Most people won’t even notice these gradual changes.
Then one day you turn the wrong way and suddenly you can’t bend or even walk. The truth is the symptoms you have now can be traced back to the loss of spinal function that started years ago.
When you are considering which type of chiropractic care is best for you, you need to understand how each approach deals with the underlying cause of your symptoms.
What is Corrective Care
There are two aims of Corrective care:
- To get you out of pain as quickly as possible
- To correct the underlying problems causing your symptoms and to keep you this way in the future
Corrective care consists of two parts:
- Rehab care, where we aim to improve your spinal movement, spinal flexibility and strengthening the surrounding muscles
- Maintenance (Supportive) care, where we aim to help you stay as healthy and active as possible in the future
Most Corrective care programs will initially be 6-12 visits over a 4-6 week period, depending on what is causing your symptoms. After these visits are completed a comparative exam will be done to assess your improvement. At this point, what future Rehab or Maintenance care you need will be discussed with you.
Your chiropractic care is combined with specific spinal exercises and lifestyle changes to help you stay healthy and enjoy life into the future.
Corrective Care Advantages
The advantages of Corrective care are:
- Improves the functioning and strength of your spine and muscular system
- Stops or reduces your symptoms, such as headaches and neck and back pain, may prevent them from returning in the future
- Prevents or reduces the rate of spinal degeneration (arthritis) in the future
- Helps you enjoy an active lifestyle now and in the future
Corrective Care Disadvantages
The disadvantages of Corrective care are:
- It requires an investment of your time and money into your health care
- You need to fit your chiropractic care, exercises and other lifestyle changes into your schedule
What is Pain Relief care
The sole aim of Pain-based chiropractic care is to give you relief from your symptoms (pain). It does not aim to correct any underlying causes at all. In most cases this will take between 1-6 chiropractic visits with 2-3 days between each visit. Severe conditions, such as an acute disc injury, can be seen on daily basis until you get the symptom relief you want.
Once your symptoms have gone, or reduced to a level that you are comfortable with, we will stop your care and you can contact us for more treatment when your symptoms return.
What Are the Advantages of Pain Care
- It is cheaper than corrective care as there are less visits involved
What are the Disadvantages of Pain Care
- The chances of your symptoms returning are much higher
- The underlying causes of your symptoms have not been corrected
- Increased risk of spinal degeneration in the future
When do you stop chiropractic treatment?
The most common reasons people choose to stop their chiropractic care are:
- They have received the results they wanted
- They do not want to address the underlying cause of their problems at this time
- They have financial challenges restricting their ability to pay for their care (Medicare can pay for part of your treatment)
Can I swap between Pain relief and Corrective Care?
Yes, at any time you can change between Pain Relief and Corrective Care.
What affects how many visits you need
The frequency of the Corrective care visits you need depends on your individual situation. Factors which can affect this are:
- Poor work environment
- Previous traumas such as whiplash, falls, accidents and injuries
- Overall health and activity level
- Spinal degeneration (Arthritis)
- Bulging and herniated discs
- Obesity and smoking
Some patients with severe degeneration have monthly maintenance care to keep them relatively pain free. Then, we have young fit patients who have their maintenance adjustments 2 to 3 times a year.
We work with each patient to find what frequency of maintenance care is best for them.
Do you need to go three times a week
There are a few conditions such as a disc herniations and acute inflammation conditions that respond best to treatment three times a week. This is rare and will usually only be for a few weeks.
If you are told you need chiropractic care three times a week for three months, we strongly suggest you get a second opinion before starting any treatment. We would also advise you to be wary of any offer requiring upfront payment for months of care in advance.
So which care is right for you?
If preventing future symptoms and staying active and healthy into the future is important to you, discuss the Corrective care with us.
If only dealing with your current symptoms is the right decision at this time for you, then choose Pain Relief care.
As chiropractors, we will help you choose the type of care that best suits you at this time.
We hope you have found this blog helpful. Please leave a comment below and tell us what you think.