1. ACUTE OR RELIEF CHIROPRACTIC CAREThis is to reduce pain, inflammation and muscle spasms. Treatment during this stage can consist of ice therapy to reduce swelling and chiropractic adjustments of the spine. This stage can last a few days to a few weeks. Treatment is normally at its highest level with many, but not all, conditions requiring multiple visits each week.
2. CORRECTIVE CHIROPRACTIC CAREThis phase of care is to remove nerve pressure and restore normal joint mobility and function. The corrective phase begins when the pain has significantly been reduced. This stage is characterized by the patient feeling like he/she is able to resume normal activities. This is a very important time because if the patient truly resumes all activities at this time, it is not uncommon for the pains to begin to return or increase again. This occurs because the condition has not yet fully stabilized.
At this stage the chiropractic adjustments are attempting to increase spinal mobility in order that more normal function may return to the spine and nervous system. This phase can take a few weeks with very minor conditions to months in more severe conditions. The frequency of care can still be multiple visits per week, but perhaps not as frequent as in the acute or relief phase.
3. STRENGTHENING CHIROPRACTIC CAREThis phase of care is characterized by either significant reduction of pain (or no pain) in most cases and or continued stabilization of pain in the severely chronic cases. Frequency of visits continues to reduce, while rehabilitative exercises and strectching typically increase. Our goal in this stage is to strengthen the soft tissue that surrounds the affected spinal segments so that proper function becomes consistent in these regions of the spine.
Consistent function not only allows for pain reduction of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments, but also allows for the proper function of the organs and tissues that the nerves in the area control.
Through all stages, the patient will be educated on what they can do at home and/or at work to facilitate the healing process. The treatment process is always seen as a team effort.
4. MAINTENANCE OR SUPPORTIVE CHIROPRACTIC CAREThis is the stage in which the pain is either totally gone, or extremely stable in chronic situations. Treatment frequency can range from once per week to once every two months. There are great benefits in this stage. Usually a patient has gotten into better work and exercise habits, which promotes good health to begin with. Also, the patient's attitude at this stage is usually very positive. Another tremendous benefit of this stage of care is that, if for some reason an injury to the spine occurs again because of something unforeseen, it is very common that instead of needing a significant amount of treatment to help, a relatively small amount of care usually does the trick. A good example of this is to note how fast highly conditioned athletes recover from injuries that would take most of us a very long time to recover from the same injury.