There are three stages of care most people go through when seeing a chiropractor: Acute relief care, Rehabilitative care and Maintenance care. Let me walk you through them.
Acute Relief Care
Most people come to see me in pain, they’ve thrown out their back, twisted their ankle, developed an acute headache or some other serious, painful problem. They want relief! In this first stage I really provide first aid to control the damage and reduce the inflammation and pain. This includes using ice and ultrasound, stretching or massaging the afflicted muscles and joints, sometimes adjusting the joint and finally, educating you on how to take care of yourself at home. This stage requires intensive care over a short period (3-4 times a week for up to 10 days) until the problem gets under control and bearable.
Once you’re under control the real therapy starts. We start to correct the mechanics of the joints and muscles with adjustments and soft tissue work as needed. You are shown exercises that can help get everything moving and working normally again. Sometimes we continue with ultrasound to stimulate the tissue healing. And again, we educate you on what you need to do in everyday life to help your body heal and to prevent it from breaking down again. Often this includes ideas on stress management, work posture, diet and other issues that are significant to the problem. This course of treatment can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months depending on the problem. Usually you should expect to spread your visits out to weekly very soon and eventually only once or twice a month.
Stress in your life causing muscle tension, old injuries keep cropping up, repetitive strain keeps injuries from ever healing fully, your posture is less than desirable, you insist on driving your atv off cliffs every weekend, and so on.
Few people live a perfect lifestyle and have no history, and most of us are prone to aches and pains. Likewise, we are all getting older. With age comes stiffness. Thus, when you try to join your daughter on her new trampoline you soon discover you don’t bounce so well any more. Nagging aches come with age for this reason. Maintenance care is preventative care. We try to identify mechanical problems that are developing or that your body is just coping with, and correct them before they become painful. Getting adjusted is like squirting oil on a rusty hinge. Regular oiling will keep that hinge working a lot longer.