Treatment protocol varies per patient given the health history and the symptoms. There are usually three general phases of care: the relief phase, the corrective phase, and the wellness phase.
The Relief Phase – this stage is to relieve pain, swelling, nerve irritation, and inflammation. Relief care is the first stage of care for most patients. The primary goal during this initial stage is to provide the individual with symptomatic relief. Treatments focus on those techniques and therapies which most quickly and effectively reduce pain and other discomforts. This will allow the majority of individuals to continue their normal activities. Patients are generally recommended to “take it easy” but are encouraged to stay mobile and functional as long as there is not a risk of further injury or tissue damage. Therapies that reduce inflammation and muscle spasm are also used during this stage to help alleviate pain.
The Corrective Stage – this stage “fixes” the problem. Here is where the spinal column and muscles are restored to prevent further injury. The second stage of care consists of correcting the problems which caused and contributed to the condition and healing and rehabilitating the injured tissues. Unless these events take place, a favorable outcome is unlikely and future recurrences of the problem are likely. Tissues and structures that are not fully healed and rehabilitated are prone to future problems. Sticking to appointments, complying with home exercises and instructions, and following all other recommendations will help insure this occurs.
The Wellness Stage – Once the tissues are healed and biomechanics have normalized, the patient will be recommended to continue with periodic checkups. For some this might mean once per year and for others this may mean once per month. Chiropractic spinal checkups provide similar benefits to the spine that dental checkups provide to the teeth. Namely, catching minor problems and disturbances before they have the opportunity to cause pain, discomfort, and irreversible tissue changes and they help keep the body flexible and pain free.