Chiropractic care unfortunately is unlikely to produce miracles. But occasionally we do see some exceptional outcomes. In reality most patients end up visiting a Chiropractor in a series of treatments for any given condition. There are three generally accepted phases of a patient's care:
Phase 1: Pain Relief
Pain is usually what finally motivates a patient to call us. An appropriate evaluation will reveal if the pain stems from a problem that we can help, and if so, we will typically recommend working in short treatment blocks, assessing for progress at appropriate intervals. Current insurance and research guidelines suggest that pain relief will take on average of 5-10 treatments usually over a 2-3 week period. Because many mechanical pain symptoms become recurrent *, it is important not only to be pain free but to stabilize the condition over time. This is where Phase 2 of care begins.
Phase 2: Rehabilitation
Orthopedic healing times vary dramatically and depend on many factors such as injury severity, age, and even even a patient's attitude. Generally speaking healing times range from 4-6 weeks but may take longer. Home-based spinal stability, functional training and core strengthening programs are sufficient for the majority of mechanical pain patients. However, we may access one of our partners in care for those in need of supervised rehabilitation.
Phase 3: Wellness Care/Supportive Care (Once you go to a Chiropractor you always have to go back! Or do you?)
We do not recommend long term wellness care programs. However, a small percentage of the population may benefit from an ongoing supportive care program. These are typically chronic and/or recurrent conditions that cannot be completely resolved. Supportive care plans are a means by which we can effectively help keep symptoms at bay over time. For patients with chronic back pain due to structural pathologies (scoliosis, disc herniations, disc bulging, or similar), it can be a challenge to provide that patient with long term stability of the condition. If a patient adequately participates in Phase 2 but continues to have significant flare ups (more than one per year) we may offer a supportive care option.
*Recent research suggests that having a 3rd episode of back pain virtually guarantees a person will have a 4th episode.