You walk into your chiropractor’s office for what you think will be your last visit. Your pain is under control and it’s been easier to do the things you love. But your chiropractor throws you a curveball: “I recommend you continue coming in for routine care.” Why do you need to keep coming if the problem has been fixed?
This scenario is a commonplace experience between chiropractors and their patients, largely due to a misunderstanding of what chiropractic actually has to offer. While it is proven to be an effective all-natural, drug-free way to alleviate and manage pain, it is so much more than that. Chiropractic offers many surprising benefits to those who seek care even after their pain is gone.
When to See a Chiropractor: The Misconception
Most patients visit a chiropractor solely for pain relief. They could be seeking help for any of these common concerns:
- Aches and pains during pregnancy
- Acute or chronic back pain
- Headaches and migraines
- Injury (sports-related, car accident, and more)
- Neck, joint, and muscular pain
With all of these issues, people often look at chiropractic the way they would look at a bottle of painkillers or a medical procedure: a necessary but temporary treatment to relieve chronic or acute pain, mend an injury, or ease the pregnancy journey. Once the pain is gone, the injury is healed, or you’ve had the baby, it may seem pointless to continue being adjusted or receiving alternate treatment (deep tissue massage, ultrasound therapy, or dry needling, for example).
The truth is, there are many benefits of chiropractic care even after your original problem has been alleviated.
The Benefits of Ongoing Chiropractic Care
“Medicine is the study of disease and what causes man to die. Chiropractic is the study of health and what causes man to live.” – Dr. BJ Palmer, son of chiropractic founder Dr. Daniel David Palmer
This quote beautifully expresses the heart of chiropractic care. It’s not just about pain relief, although that plays a central role. It’s also about allowing patients to achieve and maintain wellness and live their best life.
Here are some of the benefits of ongoing chiropractic care. Some of them may surprise you:
More effective immune system. Chiropractors and patients alike will tell you that chiropractic care boosts the immune system. Anecdotes aside, several studies have been conducted over the years that support this claim. Perhaps the most famous is the 1975 study completed by Dr. Ronald Pero, the head of cancer prevention research at New York’s Preventative Medicine Institute. Over a period of three years, he analyzed the immune systems of 107 patients who had been seeing a chiropractor for five or more years.
The study found that the 107 patients under chiropractic care had 200% stronger immune systems than healthy people who were not seeing a chiropractor, and 400% stronger immune competence than people with serious diseases like cancer.
This drastic difference is likely due to the fact that an aligned spine puts less stress on the body, thus allowing the immune system to grow stronger and function as it should.
Less reliance on pain medications and drugs. Chiropractic is an all-natural, drug-free way to manage and alleviate many kinds of pain. Whether you suffer from headaches, back pain, muscle tension, joint pain, or even endometriosis or menstrual pain, you just might be tired of popping pills to take the edge off.
Find a more sustainable solution in regular chiropractic visits. A four-year study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that patients seeing chiropractors and using other holistic treatments paid 51.8% less in pharmaceutical costs. Regular chiropractic visits can help you say goodbye to a dependence on prescription or over-the-counter painkillers.
Decreased depression and anxiety; overall better mood. Stress physically manifests itself in many ways throughout the body, whether it’s headaches, tension, nausea, fatigue, inability to sleep, or some other issue. Because chiropractic care (manual adjustments, massage, and even physical therapy) relieves physical stress in the body, chiropractic can relieve symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other neurological disorders. For example, if you have trouble sleeping, massage and chiropractic therapy can help calm and relax the body, making it easier to drift off at night.
Additionally, chiropractic is known to improve your mood. When you have a manual adjustment or a massage, your body thanks you by increasing “happy” hormones like cortisol, neurotensin, and oxytocin. These hormones help regulate how stress physically manifests itself in the body, meaning that you feel happier, more focused, and less anxious.
Long term, you are likely to notice more energy, more clarity of mind, and a greater sense of calm in your life. When paired with counseling and a healthy lifestyle, chiropractic is an effective all-natural treatment that helps improve the lives of those suffering from mental illness.
Improved digestion. Chiropractic can greatly reduce a multitude of digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, and heartburn. When there is subluxation (misalignment) in your spine, it becomes difficult for the rest of your body to properly communicate with the nervous system. This often results in pain or organ malfunctions because certain parts of your body will overcompensate and become stressed or tense when the body is out of alignment. For example, if your hips are uneven, your knee may ache because of the extra stress placed on it when you walk.
The same is true for the digestive system. A healthy digestive system functions best when the vagus nerve (located near your brain at the top of your neck) can communicate properly with the digestive organs, instructing them what to do. Parasympathetic and sympathetic nerves play a role in this process as well. Misalignment in the spine can damage this route of communication, thus complicating existing digestive issues or causing new ones. Routine chiropractic care can either prevent this from happening or eliminate the problem if it’s already there.
Injury prevention. While chiropractic care does not guarantee you freedom from all injuries, it does help prevent injury. This is especially true for athletes or anyone who has a particularly active lifestyle.
When the spine is aligned, the body’s normal functions and communication with the nervous system is uninhibited. Additionally, an aligned spine means increased mobility and flexibility, since your joints and muscles are less restricted. Without undue stress, tension, overcompensating, or unbalance, you run a lower risk of pulling a muscle or experiencing a strain and similar injuries.
Overall wellness. When you first began visiting your chiropractor, you had a specific problem you wanted to address. Once the problem is under control, you may see no need to go back. The truth is, if you discontinue chiropractic care, you will be just fine. For a while. But inevitably that problem is going to start coming back.
To use an analogy, it’s similar to having braces as a child. As an adult you may think you don’t need to wear your retainer anymore. And then, to your dismay, your teeth start to creep back into their crooked position.
If you continue visiting your chiropractor, it can truly help you to stay well and enjoy a fulfilling and active life.
If you were seeing a chiropractor to help you get through pregnancy, you may wonder if this still applies to you since you are no longer pregnant. Your body is no longer distorted and strained from the effort of growing a human being. Chiropractic care can still help you. Continuing chiropractic after the baby is delivered can help your body recover after birth, as well as keeping your spine aligned and helping you manage the stress of parenting. You may even have more energy in your life, something every parent needs.
How Often Should I See a Chiropractor?
At this point, you may be wondering what kind of a time commitment is required to achieve all these benefits. Maybe at the beginning you were seeing your chiropractor three, four times a week. Then twice a week. Then once a week. Then maybe every other week. You may think that’s too frequent or too expensive to keep up long term.
There is no one-size-fits-all recommendation for chiropractic patients, as the treatments are catered to each specific person. Your chiropractor may recommend you continue visiting once or twice a month, or maybe every other month. It all depends on your original ailment, your wellness goals, your body, your budget, and your chiropractor’s recommendation.
The best way to determine how often is best for you is to have an open conversation with your chiropractor. Express any concerns you have and discuss your goals together so you can find a plan that works best for you.
Consider taking your chiropractor up on his advice to continue your care—you are on the pathway to a healthy, happy life; why not stay the course?
At All Star Chiropractic, our goal is to help our patients recover from back pain, neck pain, lack of mobility, joint issues, range of motion issues, and more—without the use of prescription drugs. We believe in taking a holistic “whole-body” approach to your health. We don’t want to just temporarily fix your pain—we want to determine and treat the root cause so you live an active and pain-free life.
Call one of our locations today to schedule an appointment, or to learn more about how chiropractic care can help you.