Back pain and chronic back pain, in particular, can prove a disabling condition. It's also extraordinarily common, with around 31 million people suffering in the US alone. In fact, any condition that affects the musculoskeletal system can leave you with enough pain that you must miss work or even normal family activities.
For many sufferers, the standard treatment option is painkillers. While those can help you manage the pain, they don't help you manage the condition. That's why so many people turn to chiropractors. That does leave the question of how often should you get a chiropractic adjustment.
If you're considering chiropractic care, keep reading for our guide on chiropractic care and treatment intervals.
What Is Chiropractic Care?
One of the basic principles of chiropractic treatment is that the muscles, bones, and joints need proper alignment in order to function properly. In the case of an injury of some kind, proper alignment yields better or less painful function.
There is a real risk of bones in your spine getting out of alignment. Consider when you sit at a desk or on a couch.
Do you maintain good posture or do you slouch? A lot of people slouch, which can leave your back misaligned.
Good muscle condition can help keep your back healthy and spine aligned, but poor exercise habits can leave your core weak. That means your muscles do a poor job of keeping your spine in alignment.
Chiropractors help you achieve proper alignment by moving the bones in your back into their proper position. They typically do this by applying sharp pressure with their hands or occasionally with an instrument. This pushes the bones back into place.
Reasons People Seek Chiropractic Care
Two of the most common reasons people want a chiropractic adjustment are from unrelieved back pain or neck pain. These are particularly common in people who work in offices and sit at desks all day.
Other common reasons people visit a chiropractor include:
- Lingering pain from car accidents
- Lingering pain from sports injuries
- Chronic headaches or migraines
- Chronic pain in general
In most cases, people see their doctor first and visit a chiropractor after the available treatments fail. Believe it or not, though, some people first visit a chiropractor as a referral from their doctor.
Benefits of Chiropractic Care
The most obvious benefit of getting a regular chiropractic adjustment is pain reduction. In many cases, the adjustment relieves pressure on muscles or nerves that cause the pain.
Chiropractic adjustments can also help you prevent future injuries. Misalignments can make you more prone to minor or major back injuries. Keeping your spine aligned reduces the odds of those injuries.
For some people, there are also psychological benefits. For example, people often report a greater sense of well-being after getting a chiropractic adjustment.
Some of this may come from a general pain reduction. Even so, the emotional benefits often seem more extensive than what you might expect from mere pain reduction.
Most people also notice their posture improves after visiting a chiropractor on a regular basis.
Types of Pain
Types of pain generally fall into the acute category or chronic category. These terms reference the overall time involved, rather than the intensity of the pain.
Acute pain means pain that you experience for a comparatively short period of time, such as six months or less. You typically see this kind of pain after an accident or injury as the person recovers.
Chronic pain means pain that you experience for extended periods of time, such as years on end. This pain can stem from an accident or injury that did permanent damage. It can also stem from long-term conditions, such as arthritis.
In terms of intensity of pain, either acute or chronic pain may prove minor or debilitating. For example, you might experience minor pain from arthritis after a long day in the garden. You might experience severe pain from whiplash.
You'll need a consultation with a chiropractor to discuss the type and severity of your pain and for an evaluation. The chiropractor can then give you more insight into whether they can help you, as well as how much they think they can help you.
In many cases, though, chiropractic adjustment can provide at least some pain relief.
How Often Should You Get a Chiropractic Adjustment?
It sounds like it should be an easy question to answer. Unfortunately, how often you get an adjustment depends a lot on your specific case.
Let's say that you recently got into a car accident. Your body experienced a trauma, which can trigger ongoing inflammation. You may also receive medications that limit your understanding of your pain.
In a case like that, your chiropractor may advise weekly or twice monthly visits. This lets them monitor your spinal and neck alignment more closely and make as-needed adjustments.
On the other hand, let's say you hurt your back playing high school football ten years ago. You maintain a clear knowledge of your pain level. Your spinal condition is more or less stable.
In a case like that, your chiropractor may want a few weekly sessions right out of the gate. After that, though, they may switch you over to monthly sessions as a maintenance routine.
As a general rule, though, monthly people either visit on a weekly or monthly basis based on the chiropractor's advice.
Chiropractic Care and You
Deciding if you want chiropractic care or how often should you get a chiropractic adjustment depends on several things. In choosing if you want chiropractic care, you must decide if your pain limits your quality of life in a meaningful way.
In terms of the frequency of getting an adjustment, that boils down to a conversation between you and the chiropractor. The chiropractor will examine you and discuss your symptoms. Then, they'll make a recommendation you accept or dismiss.
ShoreLife Chiropractic & Wellness offers chiropractic services in the Brick, NJ area. For questions or an appointment, contact Shorelife Chiropractic & Wellness today.