You may wonder how often you have to see a chiropractor or if you will have to continue to get adjusted once you start. I practice chiropractic in Irvine and have been a chiropractor for over 20 years and the short answer is, it depends!

Chiropractic and Chiropractor

Chiropractic and Chiropractor

Some of you may even wonder if chiropractic is addictive and it’s a “once you start you just can’t stop” type of thing. Some people are even afraid to start seeing a chiropractor. It is important to understand why regular chiropractic care is beneficial, what types of chiropractic routines there are to follow, and why so many people continue to see their chiropractors even after their pain is gone.

Chiropractic care is a hands-on cumulative type of therapeutic approach and, therefore, unlike medications that are designed to accomplish a specific task: address the main complaint, all non-medicine treatments are no quick-fixes. You see, medicine is a beautiful science and does a great job achieving the main goal of overcoming whatever it is created to do. If it is pain relief, the whole goal of the specific medicine is to relieve pain for instance. The problem is the MANY side effects and issues that it creates. Chiropractic  does not have a side effect BUT it takes longer to fix the problem. The reason? It addresses the cause of the problem BUT does it?!!!

Why do people see a chiropractor?

If you needed to lose weight, what would you need to do? Eat well, stay active and work out, right? Now, once you lose the weight and reach that goal, should you go back to eating unhealthy and stop being active? What happens if you do? EXACTLY! There are different types of reasons that bring patients to my office for example. Some are in pain bad enough that they need to do something about it, some are not in too bad of pain but wish to be in a better place and then there are those that want to simply up their game of health. While most people visiting my practice start with pain, I am happy to see that the last group, the one that with no pain but the desire to be healthier, better posture, better movement and in case of athletes, improved athletic performance, is increasing in number.

People, in general, see chiropractors because of 3 main reasons:

  • The first is called urgent or acute care which requires more frequent visits to address inflammation. This type of care would be the kind of care one would receive during a flare-up of pain or immediately following some type of injury.  There is a great deal of inflammation that occurs during the acute stage of healing as the tissues naturally respond to the injury and the cell investigate what has happened and what must be done to repair. Think of this as police and crime scene investigators at the scene of a crime. Their job is to quickly respond to a call to end the criminal (or injuring) activity as quickly as possible. Then, the scene is crawling with people as they try to investigate what happened, assess the damage, clean up the casualties, call in repair teams, and begin the process of putting the area back together. This phase requires a lot of communication of swift proper action. During this phase, chiropractors help by assessing the area. In my practice, depending on the patient’s state of pain, I may end up mobilizing the area instead of adjusting the spine. You see, both of these activate the nervous system and it is the nervous system that controls ALL functions in your body. It is not the chiropractor but your own body’s ability to heal itself that helps you overcome the pain. Of course, we use modalities like muscle stimulation, cold laser therapy, ultrasound and other ‘machines’ to help the body heal faster. Pain is because of the inflammatory chemicals that exist in the area which btw encourage blood flow to the region. Guess what the blood in a healthy person carries with it? Yes, oxygen and the necessary nutrients to heal. So while inflammation causes pain, it essentially causes you to not move the area so the body gets to do its repair. I hope you can appreciate the beauty behind even pain after reading this!!
  • Once the pain is diminished, the second stage of care begins. Let’s explain this more: during the healing process, the body works to quickly lay down new fibrous bands of tissue known as adhesions to replace the damaged tissue. These new bands of tissue are laid down in a chaotic, haphazardly manner in the body’s desperate effort to stabilize the area and prevent further injury. While this chaotic method of laying down new tissue is essential at the beginning of a healing process, if left unchecked and unaddressed, these newly formed adhesions can actually keep certain structures such as muscles, ligaments, and tendons from being able to return to their normal activities once the injury has healed.  One role of chiropractic care during this stage of healing is to help restore movement into the healing tissue (rehabilitation) so full ranges of motion, proper movement patterns, and tissue integrity are restored.  This level of care lasts for different lengths of time in every individual, still requiring frequent visits initially but the number of visits usually begins to lessen as the body responds to treatment and normal function is restored.
  • The 3rd stage of care is known as maintenance.  During this phase, the role of chiropractic care is to provide continued support to maintain the improvements made through rehabilitation. The stage generally requires the least frequent visits and focuses on maintaining overall health and wellness with the goal of preventing future injury or flare-up.

Do people get addicted to Chiropractic?

Addiction, typically associated with a bad habit or drugs is an interesting term to use with Chiropractic given that true Chiropractic is built on the premise of natural and without a reliance on outside chemicals! It is understandable why some may feel that those who go to chiropractors become addicted to it. The truth is that chiropractic care is an opportunity for people to be able to learn more about their own body and its ability to heal itself when the ‘right’ circumstances are present.  Patients get used to feeling good, living without pain, moving freely, and experiencing the countless other benefits associated with chiropractic care. It is the patients’ choice to seek chiropractic care on a maintenance basis which is based on the patients’ lifestyle and demands. You see, maintaining your spinal health is like maintaining your car! It is not based on how long ago you tuned up your car but how many miles ago you did that, right? I see how sometimes a patient’s lifestyle is such that getting adjusted once every 4-5 weeks is perfectly fine and yet, there are those whose maintenance frequency is twice a week!!!!

There is no one easy way to get to stay healthy; there is no magic pill and there is no such thing as instant long-lasting results. Just as one healthy meal does not reverse years of poor nutrition, one workout can’t repair decades of bodily neglect, and one walk at lunchtime cannot make up for a lifetime of a sedentary lifestyle. Achieving and maintaining proper health and wellness of the body and mind is a process which cannot simply be achieved by one single product or program.  True health and wellness require a lifestyle of healthy habits such as proper nutrition, regular exercise, personal connection, and healthy ways of handling stress. Think of it like remodeling an old abandoned house- it takes time to tear down the old structures and rebuild and restore the house. Then, it is important to take care of the housekeeping it clean and staying up with minor repairs- all to maintain the house and prevent it from falling into disrepair again; this is why it is important to make healthy changes a habit.

In today’s world our tendons, muscles, ligaments, and nervous systems are all working double time to handle the stresses of daily life. A stressed state is not a normal, optimal state of living that supports and promotes optimal function- it is how your body has been trying to cope with stress. The body tends to remain stressed out of habit as though being stuck in a rut. Over time, this leads to improper functioning, eventually leading to symptoms including aches and pains, headaches, anxiety, injuries, faulty organ function, and illness. Our muscles, organs, and immune systems are only as intelligent as the information they receive from the nervous system. If that communication is altered then the function will suffer. The essence of chiropractic is based on the nervous system, the very system that controls everything, the first system that is formed in a fetus and in charge of specializations of the cells in a fetus. Upkeep of the spine, only done by a chiropractor and through chiropractic care is how the HEALTH of the spine is attained and retained. Health is in movement and a reflection of a healthy state is the posture. To learn more about this specific paradigm of health check out Brain-based Neurology and Posture.

How long do I need to see a chiropractor?

I see my chiropractor once a week; it is not because I am in pain or have an issue! It is because I know the value of my health and the role of chiropractic in maintaining a healthy state of the spine and my nervous system. I cannot adjust myself because the muscles I would have to use to adjust are the ones I need to relax when getting adjusted. Watch this video to understand the difference between adjustment of the spine and cracking the spine and yes I do pay my chiropractor to get adjusted and for my periodic re-exams. If you have a spine, your spinal health is of utmost importance. If we take our dogs and children under the age 8 to a dentist and have dental clean-ups, how is it that we don’t do the checkups for our spine? It just does not make any sense and I think the reason has to do with the fact that money is made in sickness and not health!!!

When wondering how long you will need to see a chiropractor, it is important to ask yourself–What do you want to achieve from chiropractic care?  Are you looking for a quick temporary fix or are you looking for lasting change…

Why do people continue to see a chiropractor?

Most people have one of 3 approaches to chiropractic care. The first approach is short-term care which is much like hitting the gym when swimsuit season is right around the corner. Of course, there will be results but they tend to be short lasting and rarely do more than scratch the surface. The second approach is the long-term care seeker. These individuals are often seeking care for long-standing issues such as chronic pain, autoimmune disorders, etc. They see the benefits chiropractic care has on their lives and choose to incorporate it into their routines.  The third approach is the “wellness”. These patients do not seek treatment for particular ailments but rather truly know, see, and feel the benefits chiropractic care has on their lives and choose to seek and continue care as part of living a healthy lifestyle.

Wellness patients understand the importance of chiropractic care for spinal health which is about more than getting rid of the pain. Spinal health focuses on the long-term impact on every bodily function which is influenced by spinal nerves which control every system of the body. Like weightlifting or regular exercise, chiropractic has many benefits but, also like weightlifting or regular exercise, stopping chiropractic care leads to one missing out on its endless list of benefits.

Are all chiropractors the same?

NO!!!! Absolutely not! Chiropractic is a lifestyle and not just the adjustment. Some chiropractors do the factory style adjustments; their patients see their shoes more than their face!! Some do more soft tissue work: a hybrid between a massage therapist and a physical therapist. Some adjust and their office is like a mini-gym;  a hybrid between a chiropractor and a personal trainer!! Then there are different fellowship beyond the basic chiropractic care. This blog gives detail info on the basic education involved in receiving Doctor of Chiropractic (DC)degree. In my practice, chiropractic was the seed that a seedling grew from; in the process of treating thousands of patients, I realized that adjustment was not the answer to all ailments so I ended up with other pieces of papers on my wall, the certifications and degrees as the society calls them!! My practice focus is the adjustment and the specialty is Brain-based Neurology and Posture, as well as developmental kinesiology. If movement is a concert, then adjustment activates the spine (like a jam session invite), treatments like Active Release Technique and Functional Rehab are like a musician who gets to practice the instrument properly, Brain-based Neurology and Posture exercises determined from my examination assures full involvement of the Brain (the conductor) and the developmental kinesiology finishes off the final product: the movement. The concert is on!

Remember, health is in movement and posture is the sign of health. You are the one in charge of your life’s decisions and walking down the same path gets you to the same destination.

Dr. Shakib