Updated: May 24, 2019
By Dr. Ryan Lee
Most often, we only think about going to see a doctor when something is wrong, we are in pain, or there is no other option but to seek help. The goal of chiropractic is not only to get you back to doing the things you enjoy but also to identify the root of the problem causing your health issues.
Let's start with a story.
Maria was a healthy 4 year old little girl. One day, she was riding in the back of her parents car when they were rear ended by another vehicle. After visiting the doctor, Maria and her parents were sent home without any substantial injuries and went on living life.
Throughout her adolescence, Maria participated in several different sports and even went on to play softball in college. Low back pain began to bother her on occasion but she would just shake off the pain, stretch it out and forget about it.
At 35 years old Maria leaned over to pick up her two year old daughter and she was unable to stand back up. A friend of hers recommended chiropractic care, so she thought she'd give it a shot, expecting to be back to herself in a visit or two.
Let's take another look at the story through Maria's spine function:
Chances are, when Maria had that accident at 4 years old, she subluxated several different areas in her spine. However, her body compensated for it, and the soft tissue grew around those subluxations to protect them. She didn't feel any pain at the time, because pain is the last thing to show up and the first thing to go away.
So in essence, Maria has been living with these subluxations for 31 years!
Her body has adapted to this new normal. When Maria bent to pick up her child, the subluxation probably worsened creating more pressure on her nervous system, which led to the pain.
Maria came to the chiropractor expecting a quick fix. After a couple of adjustments, the misaligned spinal segment was back in place, which decreased, or removed, the pressure on the nervous system that had caused the pain.
It would seem like Maria was healed.
However, her body had 31 years to get used to being out of place, so the soft tissue around the subluxation was not used to having the spine in the ideal position. Due to this, the soft tissue pushed on the vertebra to try to get it back to its old normal.
If Maria never returned to the chiropractor, within a short amount of time, the soft tissue would completely push the vertebra back into its old position. This would put Maria back to where she started with decreased nervous system function.
So, back to our question: Why does a chiropractor prescribe multiple visits, even when a patient is out of pain?
As you can see from our story above, 1-2 visits may get you out of pain, but it won't solve the root cause of the issue. If you don't keep coming back to solve the root cause, which is to re-educate the soft tissue of the spine as to the correct placement of the vertebra, the pain will eventually just keep returning.
The length of your care plan is determined by how long you've had the injury, how severe the subluxation is, and how long it will take to re-educate the soft tissue. Often, chiropractors will do a re-evaluation to look at the progress and determine if anything else is needed.
Individualized care plans are designed to target subluxations in the spine and remove them, which will restore the normal function.
Plans of care for chiropractic patients are based specifically on individual history, physical examination, and neurological examination. In some offices, chiropractors goes as far as to take x-rays to further diagnose specific dysfunction in the spine.
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*This content is strictly the opinion of Dr. Ryan Lee and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Dr. Lee does not take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.
Reach Health and Wellness Chiropractic is located in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area specifically in Collegedale, TN, a short distance from Ooltewah, Cleveland, East Brainerd, East Ridge, Ringgold, Apison, and Harrison.
Dr. Ryan Lee is the practicing chiropractic physician at Reach Health and Wellness Chiropractic. For his full bio, click here