You presented to the chiropractor with lower back pain, neck pain or a headache.
You got adjusted and followed the home instructions such as applying ice to the areas of pain, modifying sleep postures and perhaps even doing some simple stretches.
You wake the next day only to discover your condition is still just as bad as it was the day before. Now what? Do you return or wait another day?
As a longtime local Keller chiropractor, who has delivered thousands of adjustments, the good news I can share is that typically your first adjustment will yield some relief, even if slight.
However, any experienced chiropractor can tell you that it may take a few adjustments to realize the pain relief desired. It may take much longer than that to make any lasting change. After all, in most cases you were slowly developing your condition over time long before the pain ever emerged.
The Tricky Thing About Pain
Most chiropractors are careful to explain that the patient’s alignment issues in the spine may have been there prior to the pain beginning. In other words, the pain is typically the last symptom and sign that there is a problem.
Perhaps the person ignored the signs that there was a problem in the making or just didn’t realize this to be the case. Stiffness, aching, and compromised motion are all indicators of a potential issue with the spine. But for many it may be at a low enough discomfort level that it could be ignored or handled with over-the-counter medication.
One day you are unloading the dishwasher, getting out of your car or any other seemingly innocuous task and ‘bam!’ out of nowhere, PAIN! And often pain that is quite debilitating.
How Often Should I Get Adjusted?
Now that we have established that you may very well be in worse shape than you had expected when first presenting to the chiropractor, we can now figure out a reasonable treatment schedule.
While in acute (i.e. moderate to severe) pain, most people find it difficult to do much other than complete necessary activities of daily living. While in this condition, getting adjusted every other day is pretty a common treatment schedule with your local chiropractor.
At our office, we always call the new patient the next day to see how he or she responded to the first visit. If the first visit yielded mild relief, then we will have the person continue to ice, modify sleep posture and perform the prescribed exercises or any other appropriate home care instructions given on the first visit.
If, when we call the next day, the patient is still feeling the same level of pain and dysfunction, we may have them return for a second visit.
When searching for a nearby chiropractor to help relieve your neck or back pain, it’s important to realize that all chiropractors have a different philosophy on how they handle ‘acute’ conditions. Some will see a patient more often, prescribing a more aggressive care frequency schedule. Some will simply tell a patient to return as needed. One approach is not more correct than another; however, it is important to realize that chiropractors, as a whole, are typically very compassionate and caring providers that want to help you. Always call the office if you have concerns about your pain level or how you are responding to the care provided. If someone is in bad shape, we may see that person 2 or 3 days in a row to get them out of that crisis situation and then spread the visits out from there.
The same care plan is not going to be the best care plan for each patient. It must be customized based on factors such as pain level, age, lifestyle, injury history, etc. There are many factors that determine what your care plan will be.