One of my jobs as a NeuroStructural chiropractor is to help folks navigate through all the misinformation out there regarding their health. When it comes to the chiropractic industry, there are many myths that must be dispelled to prevent the delay of necessary care. Over the next several weeks, I will be addressing these myths one by one to separate fact from fiction regarding chiropractic care.
DISCLAIMER - Not all chiropractic approaches are created equal, in the same way that not all steakhouses are created equal. The quality of the product at Golden Corral is obviously not on par with a prime cut from Morton’s. Some, if not all, of these chiropractic myths are rooted in experiences that people have had in the offices of my less-than-professional colleagues but aren’t necessarily representative of the entire profession. With that context in mind, let’s tackle myth number one.
Myth #1: Once you go to the chiropractor once, you must keep going forever.
This is one that I hear repeated time and again and is simply untrue. A good Doctor has a process in place to take a new patient through a series of steps to meet their needs. Generally speaking, that process plays out as follows.
This process often begins with a consultation or meeting to establish the primary concern and any other health factors of importance. In the healthcare world this is often referred to as a “case history” or “health history” and helps guide the Doctor toward the appropriate diagnostic process for this patient.
Once this context is laid out, the provider will perform a series of diagnostic tests that objectively detect any underlying issues and determine the severity of the condition. This information guides the process of generating an individualized treatment plan.
In the same way that no set of fingerprints is the same, each person’s unique circumstances dictate their healthcare needs. When it comes to chiropractic care, there is no “one-size fits all” approach. A competent Doctor will identify when the concerns of the patient and the diagnostic information is a good fit for their type of care, and when it is not. If their approach is a potential solution for the individual, then a customized program of care (often called a care plan, treatment plan, etc.) is generated and specific goals are outlined. If their approach is not appropriate for the situation, then a referral to the best provider will be the following step. The next step is the implementation of the customized program of care. When it comes to correcting abnormal structure in the body, a series of visits over a period is likely to be prescribed with consistent testing along the way to measure progress. This is where the myth begins to come into play in a tangible way. Abnormal structural conditions in the body do not happen overnight, and as such are not corrected overnight. However, this does not mean that care is open-ended with no ultimate objective or indication when the outlined goals are met. It is not uncommon for folks with abnormal structure to require a series of checkups over several months to make lasting structural changes. Recommendations that do not allow enough time and repetition to make these changes are not likely to leave the patient with a good impression of the service.
While correction and healing in the body take time, year-long commitments or “lifetime care” are often inappropriate propositions for the new patient. The program that is presented should outline the time and steps necessary to get you from Point A to Point B.
One Point B is reached, there is wisdom in maintaining the progress made throughout the program of care with a periodic checkup. In our office, patients have the option to continue a relationship with the practice via a Protection Plan if their lifestyle does not allow for them to do all the things required to keep their spine in optimal health. Routine maintenance just makes sense for many of our patients.
Any good Doctor will evaluate your circumstances and develop a plan to take you from Point A to Point B.
You will not become “dependent” on continual chiropractic adjustments weekly for the rest of your life if your Doctor is doing his or her job.
Correction takes time, but should not be open-ended. Goals should be clearly defined and there should be consistent testing to make sure that progress is being made throughout the course of care.
Routine maintenance makes sense for many folks to maintain the progress and to address future concerns should they arise. This is usually presented as an option but should not be required to maintain a good standing relationship with the office.
Next week we will continue to navigate common chiropractic myths by addressing very important topic: are chiropractic adjustments safe.