It would be very difficult (read: impossible) to go to the chiropractor too often. Just as back pain can be ongoing, seeing a chiropractor involves a continuous regimen of care. The quantity and frequency of chiropractic visits depends on each individual patient’s pain level and preferences.
Many chiropractic patients with back and neck pain will find that their discomfort subsides significantly after only a few adjustments. Others with ongoing causes of back pain, such as sitting in an office chair, will require long-term or indefinite corrective treatments.
Below is the short and sweet answer to the question “how often should I go to the chiropractor?” Regular chiropractic visits are beneficial for all patients, whether they’re seeking back adjustments, preventive care, migraine relief, or other spinal corrections.
There is no such thing as being adjusted ‘too soon’ or ‘too often.’ Chiropractic patients should consult with their practitioners to determine a personalized regimen of care. Continue reading to learn about why patient’s care schedules fluctuate, lesser-known reasons to visit the chiropractor, and all the details in response to “how often should I go to the chiropractor?”
Once you’ve experienced chiropractic care, you’ll know that it provides natural pain relief that no other form of medicine does. You will also likely become more attuned to when you need an adjustment.
A good rule of thumb is the 1-day rule. If you’re experiencing back or neck pain, does is subside in a day? You probably don’t need an adjustment. If it lingers, you probably due. And getting an adjustment to correct this lingering pain cause prevent longer-term issues from occur and keep your overall health strong.
What if I feel discomfort after a chiropractic adjustment?
Although counterintuitive, some patients may experience intensified symptoms after receiving chiropractic treatments. This is a result of the body’s reaction to realignment, not an indication that a patient has gone to the chiropractor too frequently.
The most common form of pain after a chiropractor appointment is soreness in the muscles and back. This is a result of system interruption — much like working out a new muscle, the patient’s body is learning how to support weight in a proper way. Pain can also be caused by the release of toxins in the body. After the spine is adjusted, toxins are broken up and released which triggers an immune response.
This discomfort usually subsides very quickly, leaving the body feeling balanced and pain free. We advise patients to drink a little more water than usual to expedite the flushing out of these toxins.
While potentially uncomfortable, this release of toxins is actually an additional benefit of chiropractic care: flushing out any illnesses resting in the body. And again, much like after a workout, any soreness will dissipate in less than 24 hours. Patients can expect the level of muscle soreness to decrease as they continue treatments.
Although it may be uncomfortable to experience soreness after chiropractic treatments, it is not something to be worried about. If the soreness becomes cumbersome, discuss soothing techniques such as temperature therapy with your chiropractor. Much like the rest of chiropractic care, soreness must be addressed and treated on an individual level with each patient.
How often should you see a chiropractor — it’s personal
So, how often should you get a chiropractic adjustment? It depends: what category of care a patient falls into plays a role in determining how often they should visit the chiropractor’s office. Most patients will begin at an urgent stage, then transition from reparative to preventative care. As they graduate, their chiropractors will adjust the frequency of their visits accordingly.
Most patients begin their care at the ‘urgent’ stage. They have made an appointment due to symptoms such as severe back or neck pain and may require multiple visits a week. Has your body experienced trauma? A brutal fall on some icy steps? A car accident? Serious injury will require more intensive treatment at first to correct underlying issues and bring pain levels down. New patients will first be evaluated by a doctor of chiropractic to determine an appropriate care schedule for their condition or injury. New conditions or injuries will only require a short period of ‘corrective care,’ whereas moderate to severe injuries may require months of treatment. Chiropractic patients graduate from the urgent stage when they no longer exhibit symptoms and begin their ‘reparative’ care. The good news? Many insurance plans now cover chiropractic treatment and if you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, your medical bills will usually be covered by your settlement.
Reparative or maintenance care means a chiropractor is addressing the root cause of a patient’s symptoms: whether it be sports injuries, a vehicle accident, or simply discomfort from sitting at a computer all day. At the reparative stage, regularly scheduled appointments are still important to ensure the patient does not relapse into painful symptoms again.
Lastly, after the chiropractor has addressed the origin of a patient’s pain they can shift to ‘preventative’ care. This stage of chiropractic treatment involves supplementing the patient’s immune system and overall health. At this stage, chiropractors will recommend that their patients maintain a regular, if infrequent appointment schedule (much like with a general practitioner or dentist).
Should You Ever ‘Break Up’ With Your Chiropractor
Once a chiropractor has solved a patient’s problem by correcting their spinal position, their body will be stronger, more flexible, and capable of handling stresses such as physical activity. At this point, some patients will decide to stop chiropractor appointments until their symptoms resume.
However, depending on a patient’s condition many chiropractors encourage monthly appointments as a means of physical maintenance. Follow-up appointments are important to fully benefit from chiropractic care. Again, all patients will receive individualized assessments to determine their stage of care and when they can safely scale back their chiropractor appointments. Your preferences, pain levels, and health goals are key to determining the right visit cycle for you. Your chiropractor should listen to you and consult with you.
Other Ways Chiropractors Can Help
While chiropractors are known almost exclusively for treating neck and back pain, there are other lesser-recognized reasons to return to the chiropractor’s office. In fact, chiropractors can do much more than physically manipulate the spine. Our office also offers treatments like massage, acupuncture, nutrition counseling, and physical therapy. Varied care is essential for full recoveries, physical health, and a pain-reducing lifestyle. This is especially true if you have experienced an auto accident.
Top Reasons to Regularly Visit a Chiropractor
We emphasize 4 main reasons to visit a chiropractor.
First and foremost, relieving back or neck pain. The underlying cause of neck or back pain is likely due to misaligned spinal vertebrae. Any time you’re feeling back or neck pain is a good reason to make a chiropractic appointment. Spine pain can lead to mobility challenges and even a loss of bodily sensation, not to mention the general irritation caused by lower level pain and discomfort. “Traditional” medicine does not even treat misalignment, making gentle chiropractic care a necessity, and your primary path to relieving back and neck pain without relying on drugs.
Secondly, chiropractors can treat painful symptoms like headaches and migraines, many of which stem from spinal issues. Thank God for pain medication. It has its place. But too often we mask our symptoms instead of curing them. Chiropractic can often provide natural healing for persistent problems with headaches, lowering our reliance on pain meds.
Another benefit of regularly seeing a chiropractor is improved sleep. Lessened neck and back pain will make it easier to fall asleep, as well as improve the overall quality of your resting hours. With sleep being foundational to overall health and wellbeing, treating the aches and pains that keep you up at night only makes sense.
And finally, chiropractic adjustments are a form of natural pain management, free of drugs and invasive procedures. People can go to drastic measures trying to manage pain. It’s tragic that these attempts to treat pain sometimes lead to addictive substances and unintended consequences. We favor highly-effective natural measures, including superficial heat, massage, acupuncture, and of course, spinal adjustments.
Knowing the many ways a chiropractor could help relieve a patient’s pain is the first step in identifying when and for how long they should pursue chiropractic treatment.
Other Reasons to Make a Chiropractic Appointment
The reason for beginning chiropractic treatment may not be back pain’, neck pain, or even tension headaches. Chiropractors can also treat conditions such as whiplash and shoulder and knee pain.
A patient’s reason for seeking out chiropractic care is another determinant of their appointment quantity and frequency.
Some patients, such as those undergoing cancer treatments, will seek-out chiropractic care to treat breakthrough pain or pain “flare-ups.” Pain flare-ups involve temporary but oftentimes debilitating levels of pain due to another condition. People with Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, frequent migraines, nerve pain disorders, or severe lower-back pain are especially susceptible to flare-ups.
Luckily, those suffering from these conditions can treat their flare-ups with chiropractic care appointments. Our chiropractors offer patients pain relief in addition to pain-management techniques and preventative habits. The frequency of these appointments will depend on the severity of the patient’s flare ups.
Unique Benefits of Chiropractic Care
Some object to the idea of ongoing chiropractic sessions because they have heard falsehoods such as “once you start you can never stop” — the implication being that chiropractors are pushing for more appointments to maximize their own profits.
But this is simply not true. Chiropractors are committed to maximizing the benefits of every patient’s experience and ensuring that they reach a complete and sustainable recovery. Because chiro is a non-invasive, gentle technique it simply takes a sustained period of sessions to ‘complete’ treatment. In addition, the fear of ‘getting hooked’ on chiropractic, as funny as that sounds, should pale in comparison to developing tolerances and even addictions to serious substances. Most patients quickly come to value the irreplaceable relief that chiropractic treatment offers.
Another objection regarding continued treatment is the cost. While the costs vary depending on location, it is important to remember that chiropractic care is an investment in your health. These days, chiropractic care is often included in health plans, but even when your insurance can’t be billed, we try to make maintenance visits very affordable and easy to schedule.
So, How Often Should You Go to the Chiropractor?
There may be many reasons to stop by your chiropractor’s office, whether it be for maintenance, a new injury, or even a massage session. Making regular appointments is a proactive step for preventing pain and promoting overall health.
If a patient is concerned that they are seeing their doctor of chiropractic too often or too little, they should initiate a conversation in regard to their care schedule. Chiropractic offices are equipped to work with patients on things like financial concerns. Their goal is to offer every individual the best standard of care possible and trust their patients to make responsible decisions regarding their own physical health.