About 40 million Americans annually visit chiropractors. Despite persistent misconceptions about chiropractic treatment, patient satisfaction with chiropractors is the highest among healthcare providers, according to Consumer Reports, with 59% highly satisfied with their back-pain treatment.
Like other healthcare providers, chiropractors start with a physical exam and from there devise an appropriate treatment plan.
The nature of your condition and intensity of your pain should factor into any decision you and your chiropractor make about how often you come in for treatment. Certain plans, such as those devised to address serious injuries, may require several adjustments a week.
Just make sure to find out what your insurance provider covers. Coverage for chiropractic care can depend on a variety of factors. Most plans cover the cost of chiropractic care, though many require a co-pay per visit. But before committing to a long-term care plan, talk with your insurance company. Not all plans cover maintenance or wellness treatments.
What to expect from a chiropractor
Paying for chiropractic care isn’t always the primary concern for those considering it. Some people avoid seeing chiropractors because they are afraid whatever treatment they receive will be painful.
There’s no need to worry, however.
Though you may feel some discomfort if the chiropractor is adjusting for inflammation or injury, you should not experience any pain during your adjustment. If you do, tell your chiropractor right away.
If you are in a lot of pain before your appointment, your chiropractor may recommend rescheduling until the pain subsides a little or you have less inflammation.
When you do arrange to come in for an adjustment, you will be more comfortable if you know what to expect. A chiropractic adjustment, according to the Mayo Clinic, is “a procedure in which trained specialists (chiropractors) use their hands or a small instrument to apply a controlled, sudden force to a spinal joint.” The goal of this procedure is to improve motion and function. The goal of seeing a chiropractor in general is to properly align your musculoskeletal structure.
Don’t worry if you hear a cracking sound when your joints or spine are being realigned; this is common and is merely the result of gases in your joints expanding and forming bubbles that pop. After your adjustment, you may feel a little sore. Once your body becomes more accustomed to alignments, you shouldn’t feel this as much. To relieve the soreness, just apply ice to the affected area.
What follows a visit to your chiropractor
While the goal of chiropractic is to correct alignment problems and ease pain, a chiropractor may use treatments other than spinal manipulation. According to medicineplus.gov, these include:
- Heat and ice
- Electrical stimulation
- Relaxation techniques
- Rehabilitative and general exercise
- Counseling about diet, weight loss, and other lifestyle factors
- Dietary supplements
There is no answer to how often you should see your chiropractor. Deciding how often you should go requires taking into consideration why you came to the chiropractor in the first place. For example, if you are trying to heal from an accident or injury, you may need more than one appointment a week. Over time, however, as your body starts to heal, you may be able to scale back to a single appointment a week or once every two or three weeks.
If you’re saying to yourself that making regular visits to the chiropractor seems too time-consuming, keep in mind it’s worth the investment – and that most adjustments take about 10 minutes, with the longest being the first.
If you ever feel you are not able to continue undergoing chiropractic care, let your chiropractor know. He or she may have some at-home options to help relieve your discomfort. This may include certain stretching regimens or the use of ergonomic furniture or pillows.
Though the odds of such at-home remedies eliminating your pain altogether are slim, they should help. Contact Us here if you’re looking to schedule a regular adjustment, or just looking for a quick consultation.