The Biggest Fear of Chiropractic Patients: Long-Term Commitment

Transformative Chiropractic restores a body’s natural balance and prevents the cycle of endless adjustments. A common concern of new chiropractic patients is that once they begin treatment, they will have to keep coming back forever. I tell them if they have to keep coming to see me, I’m not doing my job correctly. Here’s why:

The Body Is Designed to Ignore Pain

The human body is an engineering marvel when you think about it. People have a bony cage around their spinal cord (the spine) and brain (the cranium.) The brain acts as the body’s supercomputer, giving muscles commands to move the bones. Every muscle in the body and its organs are surrounded by something called fascia. Fascia glides across the muscles and organs, enabling them to move in response to the brain’s commands. Remaining in an unnatural position for too long, as often happens when people sit at a computer all day, puts pressure and abnormal stresses on the fascia, muscles, spine and overall body.

 

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The body is designed to compensate for low-level pain, which is why patients don’t immediately feel it when their bodies are out of balance. In fact, the brain processes so many pain signals every day that if it relayed all of them to us, we’d be quivering on the floor in agony all the time.

Luckily the brain prevents this by ignoring chronic, daily stresses until they become so dire the brain has to acknowledge them. This also means that misalignments, poor posture and other bad habits that affect the body’s balance can go untreated for too long. To compensate for imbalances, muscles and ligaments will tighten down and become stiff and rigid. The bones may even change shape, resulting in chronic hypersensitivity from nerve compression.

Over time, the entire body, which is interconnected at every point, shifts and changes to accommodate the imbalance, but eventually it will manifest chronic physical pain. When this happens, the brain sends an acute pain signal to the body. That signal is often misinterpreted as the first sign of a problem, but it’s actually an indication that underlying problems while are becoming severe, and something must be done.

By the time someone gets to my office, they are often dealing with a problem that was there long before the pain. As a practitioner of Transformative Chiropractic, I think of myself as an engineer whose job it is to restore the natural balance of a body’s interconnections. My job is to go beyond providing pain relief to finding a long-term resolution—one that frees the patient from endless visits.

Pain is the Symptom, Not the Cause

In conventional chiropractic, when a patient has back pain, chiropractors treat the back. This is also true of the neck. But what this pain-based approach fails to address are all of the triggering factors underneath. Just because something hurts doesn’t mean that area is where the pain is originating.

In short, you can’t chase pain and expect to have a lasting effect. You have to think about “systems” in the body and why is there pain. It’s most often a structural problem in the whole system. Sometimes, it’s an organ that needs to be adjusted. Remember fascia? If the fascia doesn’t move due to surgery, bad posture or scars, the organ and its surrounding muscles can’t move, and the result WILL be pain.

Transformative chiropractic is based on a practitioner’s ability to think outside of the box when it comes to pain so he or she can find the source and address the underlying imbalance. While this may take a little longer up front, resolving the real issue on a deeper level means fewer visits over time.

Maintenance is Preferrable to Management

If a patient’s problem has been building for years, it can take a while to restore balance. Health restoration is a process, not a single event. Once you finish the “structural correction” phase you don’t have to go on a protection plan but it is advised. Having an occasional adjustment to maintain pain-free balance is far better than managing chronic issues with quick-fix adjustments that never address the real issue.

Bodies are continually under stress from physical job requirements, recreational activities, and bad habits like poor posture. Understanding these stressors as they relate to a patient’s movement patterns & injury history can help prevent further injury or imbalance. Maintenance adjustments can identify such stressors and help reduce them before they reappear as painful problems.

As a chiropractor, I get regular adjustments because my job is highly physical, and I absolutely require it to avoid an injury. But I know the source of the pain is being addressed, so I don’t worry about ending up on the adjustment hamster wheel.

The goal of Transformational Chiropractic is to enable patients to enjoy their lives without pain and with optimal function. That is why we focus on soft tissue work, visceral manipulation, and craniopathy. It is literally a whole-body approach that  emphasizes working on the body as a system rather than “treating pain,” which leads to longer-lasting results with fewer visits.

We live in a “quick fix” society. Most of our healthcare system is symptom-based, meaning the focus is placed solely on pain that exists in that moment. , usually by taking a pharmaceutical substance. But all that does is turns off your body’s perception of pain, and the problem will return. Transformative Chiropractic incorporates functional restoration to teach patients’ bodies how to move the correct way, not the compensated way that they’ve learned. When this is done well, their bodies take over, and I see them less and less. And that’s the goal: No long-term commitment necessary.

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