How many of you are nervous about seeing a chiropractor because you have heard horror stories from people being told they need treatment several times per week for what seems like an eternity, and if they do not comply, the condition will worsen? I meet new patients every week who come in telling me that they have reservations about seeing a chiropractor because someone they know had a negative experience and they are not quite sure what it is I do and whether or not it works. My hope is to use this platforms to speak truth to create a clearer picture of how we serve as healthcare practitioners.
I practice an evidence based model of care, meaning when I develop a plan of management, I combine information from scientific studies, professional experience, and the values, preferences and circumstances of the specific patient in front of me. Different people are different and for that reason my treatment plans morph over time and bodies to suit the needs of the patient. Some general rules of thumb that guide my suggestions for treatment:
1. Chronic pain takes longer to resolve compared to acute issues; the problem did not appear overnight, so it requires some time invested for correction.
2. More treatment up front can be helpful to correct a problem rapidly, especially if the issue is an acute pain such as waking up after a night of sleeping in an awkward position.
3. Lastly, this idea of “maintenance care” – this was a term that frightened me as a student. If you are being treated for upper back pain, you may start feeling better very quickly and cease care. This is what I would have done if I were in your shoes a few years ago. Oh, how things have changed! The issue here is if you work at a desk 40 hours per week and are subjecting your spine to the same stressors and risk factors for back pain day in and day out, that pain has a very good chance of settling back in. Regular treatment can help to prevent recurring issues from recurring, and I am excited to say this is supported by the research.