Millions of people each year receive chiropractic care. Most people know that chiropractors are movement-based healthcare professionals aiming to help the body heal itself without drugs or surgery.
If you’ve been considering chiropractic care, you may be wondering…How often should I get a chiropractic adjustment, anyway?
First, let’s take a look at what a chiropractor does, and then we’ll answer the question…“How often should I get a chiropractic adjustment?”
What is a Spinal Adjustment?
Spinal adjustments are the hallmark of chiropractic care.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a Chiropractic adjustment 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, also known as spinal manipulation, is to improve spinal motion and improve your body’s physical function.
The two critical parts of the definition are “spinal motion” and “function.” Your body is designed to move. So that begs the question again…How often should I get a chiropractic adjustment?
It’s been said we don’t get old then stiff – we get stiff then old! Staying active through movement is essential to staying young and as healthy as possible.
3 Main Types of Movement / Motion
- Whole Body Movement: Whole-body movement is what we typically think of as exercise. The importance of daily exercise is indisputable. Regular exercise can lower your risk of early death, improve your health, and keep many chronic diseases at bay.
- Regional Movement: Regional movements are things like yoga or pilates. They focus on a specific body region, such as the neck, low back, or mid-back.
- Segmental Movement: If you haven’t heard of segmental motion, you’re not alone. It’s the least talked about – and, ironically – the most crucial type of motion because it’s the foundation of all motion. If you have poor segmental motion, then you can’t have optimal regional or whole-body motion.
More on Segmental Motion
Segmental motion occurs between the joints of your spine. Your spinal joints can become fixated or not move correctly due to several issues, including injuries, postural imbalances, degenerative changes, and more.
Chiropractors are one of the only types of doctors trained and focused on improving your segmental motion. The goal of improving spinal and segmental motion is functional. Functional ability contributes directly to your quality of life and enjoyment of hobbies and activities. Simply getting a crunch or crack from a spinal joint doesn’t mean that you’ve improved its motion or function.
But…Getting the proper adjustment, at the right joint, at the right time, makes all the difference in the world.
How Spinal Adjustments Work
When you receive a spinal adjustment from a chiropractor, you may hear a slight noise and feel relief.
But how does it work? And, again, how often should I get a chiropractic adjustment?
Over the last decade, our understanding of how a spinal adjustment works has grown by leaps and bounds, yet there is still more to discover.
A spinal adjustment appears to be simple, but the “mechanism of action” is highly complex.
Spinal adjustments have been shown to…
- Reduce facet joint adhesions.
- Positively influence the central nervous system.
- Reduce pain.
- Increase strength.
- Create positive biochemical changes.
- Light up parts of the brain.
- And to Improve motion.
All of those changes and alterations happen almost instantaneously, without the need for drugs or surgery.
The power of a chiropractic adjustment to help your body heal itself and improve your functional capacity is pretty remarkable!
Do I Need a Chiropractor?
Many people are first exposed to chiropractic care due to pain.
The 3 Most Popular Reasons People See a Chiropractor
- Low Back Pain
- Neck Pain
Chiropractic care is one of the safest and most effective ways to take care of these health challenges. It’s not uncommon to find significant relief from pain in less than a handful of chiropractic visits.
But, don’t mistake pain relief with correcting the cause of the issue.
Most pain can be broken down into two categories: acute or chronic.
Acute pain is instant. It’s what happens after an injury. Acute pain, by definition, is pain that lasts less than three months. The goal of treating acute pain is to make it go away and not let it advance to chronic pain.
If your pain has lasted longer than three months, it’s considered chronic. Chronic pain is one of the biggest challenges we’ve faced over the past 20 years. The use of drugs, such as opioids, has not only been shown to be largely ineffective but extremely dangerous. Treating chronic pain is more about management than curing.
Chiropractors have achieved an incredible amount of success in helping people reduce and manage chronic pain without the need for drugs.
You may be surprised to learn that a growing number of people who have no pain at all visit their chiropractors regularly.
These maintenance-type patients are proactive with their health. Studies have shown that visiting a chiropractor proactively can improve your quality of life, reduce your risk of future injuries, and help you perform at your optimal level.
How Often Should You Get a Chiropractic Adjustment?
Now that you understand what a chiropractor does, how a spinal adjustment works, and who usually benefits most from chiropractic services, we can start to answer how often you should get a chiropractic adjustment.
The truth is that your visit frequency will depend upon two primary factors: your health goals and the chiropractor’s examination findings.
For acute injuries or chronic unresolved issues, a series of visits may be recommended over the first few weeks or months.
Similar to a physical therapist, the chiropractor may recommend 2-3 visits per week for the first 2-8 weeks to calm the inflammation, reduce your symptoms, and start to work on improving your movement.
So… how often should YOU get a chiropractic adjustment?
If you are looking to correct the cause of your issues, it’s then common to continue to see the chiropractor once a week for some time before progressing to once every few weeks. These visits allow the chiropractor to work with you on correcting the cause of the issues by focusing more on rehabilitating your body so you can graduate to proactive care.
If you want to be as proactive with your health as possible, you may see a chiropractor 1-2 times per month for ongoing maintenance and improvement.
If your day consists of mostly sitting, you don’t get as much exercise as you’d like or know you should, or you have pains that come and go, having a chiropractor on your healthcare team is a really smart idea.