Doctor of Chiropractic Mike Ford from Back 2 Balance is an ardent wellbeing proponent. He likes nothing better than improving others’ lives in any way possible, and helping them understand how to keep it that way! This is important when answering the question “how often do I need treatment?”
Whenever you visit a chiropractor, doctor or other therapist, they will most often suggest a next appointment or a course of treatment. How do you know if it is the right course for you? Is there such a thing as too much treatment? What do you get out of more frequent treatment? In this blog I will look to answer these questions with my personal opinions;
The first thing any chiropractor will do upon seeing you is assess for the severity of any injuries or dysfunctions. At first there may be multiple things they wish to treat, some acute, some chronic and their proposed course of care will depend on that. There are some specific conditions, mechanical lower back pain for example, that have specific studies suggesting how many treatments are necessary on average to start to feel better (in that case 2 treatments a week for 2-4 weeks is fairly standard), click here for a research paper from Journal Manipulative and Physiological Therapy.
Mostly the chiropractor will use your history to inform a first course of care. This initial phase often consists of more frequent treatment to encourage quick adaption and healing from the body, this should always end in a reassessment to measure the improvement. Following treatments should then focus on rehabilitation and improving movement patterns and strength, with specific exercise programmes to stop you from going back to how you were previously.
Many people choose to have ‘MOT’ treatments from their chiropractor or massage therapist, this means that they have achieved their initial health aims and find that they want to prevent their lifestyle causing new problems or aggravating problems from their past.
I often explain this to people from a very simple perspective; Just like brushing your teeth, exercising, or washing, physical maintenance should be done on a regular basis, I advocate doing self massage and stretching every day for example, and if I was offered Chiropractic and/or massage every week for the rest of my life, I would of course be extremely happy to accept!
Primarily because it has been shown that, in the long run, treatment like this can help prevent physical issues occurring, and, of course, because it feels infinitely more pleasant to move afterwards!
Ultimately, the answer depends of what you want out of your interaction with your chiropractor…..if you want just pain relief then 6-12 sessions, if you actually want to retrain your body to prevent it from happening again then possibly more like 12-20 over a 3-6 month period with an exercise programme running alongside this (prescribed by your chiropractor). Your chiropractor gives you these options for you to make an informed decision.
In summary, there is no notable downside to regular treatment, circumstances allowing. I travel to my family home to treat my parents and grandmother every week (a perk to raising a Chiropractor to make up for my nagging them about posture), and if there is facility for it I would recommend the same level of care to everyone. It is both a pleasant treat and serves an important purpose! However most of our clients eventually find that one treatment a month as an ‘MOT’ is perfect to keep them agile and limber. It is also a useful opportunity for a reminder of exercises, self massage techniques and life hacks to keep them feeling great in the mean time. Most people tell us when they are ‘out of pain’ they often forget the things that got them out of pain in the first place and slip back to their bad habits.
We are interested to know, what your thoughts are? Obviously it’s a very personal choice and we honour and respect all. What experiences have you had with courses of treatment? What frequency is right for you?