Once you have had your initial consultation, your chiropractor will give you a recommendation for your schedule of care (or in other words how long and how often you will need to come in for your adjustments). The schedule of care that your chiropractor will recommend for you is based on a number of different factors. These all combine to give us a prognosis for your recovery.
(1) How severe is the problem?
A person who is in a great deal of pain (more than 7/10) will often need more intensive treatment than someone who only has very low level symptoms. If your functional movements are very limited (ie can’t bend in all directions, can’t turn your nose all the way to the shoulder etc), then it may take more time to re-establish these normal movements again. If your x-ray pictures show severe postural distortion and/or damage, then you probably won’t be “all fixed” on the first day.
(2) How long has the problem been there?
If you injured yourself mildly this morning and don’t have other associated conditions, then you will probably see improvement more quickly. If you have been getting progressively worse for the last 10 years, then we’ll have more work to do to get you back on the road to recovery.
(3) How old are you?
Younger people generally respond more quickly, as the likelihood of underlying degenerative changes and instability is lower. Older individuals will often have a higher degree of underlying “wear and tear” in their bones, joints and muscles. This may mean that 100% recovery is less realistic and partial improvement or preventing further deterioration becomes the goal.
(4) What is your level of fitness / activity?
Muscle tone is very important to holding and maintaining new habits with regard to better spinal position and movement patterns. People with a very sedentary lifestyle often won’t notice very stable improvement in the early going, as it is harder to establish better supported habits. On the other hand, people who engage in a lot of physical activity, particularly involving the spine and core muscles, will usually transition into good spinal postures and movement patterns more readily.
(5) Do you only have short term availability?
Are you going on holiday in 2 weeks or travelling for work every fortnight? Sessions might need to be more frequent while you’re around to make sure that you improve as much as possible before you go.
Please remember that as individual criteria, these are general rules of thumb, and exceptions can and do occur. Rest assured that the chiropractor looking after you will take your overall situation into account when making a recommendation. Bear in mind that it is impossible to predict the outcome of any one off adjustment, however, by adhering to the recommendations made by your chiropractor, you are much more likely to reliably get the improvement you want. Your chiropractor has many years of experience helping patients and problems of all shapes and sizes, and they will draw on this experience to find the right plan to help you the most.