Every patient we see obviously wants to get better as fast as possible. Unfortunately, some patients are surprised to find out that one or two adjustments isn’t likely going to fix their problem. In order to get better as fast as possible, and stay better for a long time, consistent chiropractic treatments, in addition to following at home recommendations, is essential. This post will detail how you can get the most from your chiropractic care.
Follow Your Treatment Plan
This one may seem obvious, but you would be surprised by how many people try to limit the frequency of their in-office treatments. We live in a society that wants immediate results, and unfortunately, chiropractic doesn’t always offer these. Chiropractic treatment is dependent on initial frequent visits to train your spine to stay in its proper position and get you feeling better as fast as possible. Once your pain is relieved, the frequency gradually decreases so that we can ensure that you are really improving. The frequency of your treatments, especially in the beginning is absolutely critical to the success of your treatment. The easiest way to not get the results you are looking for is to not follow your doctor’s recommendations.
Take Advantage of Progress Accelerators
In addition to adjustments, we also usually recommend additional therapies that we like to call Progress Accelerators. As the name suggests, these are designed to help relieve pain and get you better as fast as possible. At CORE Chiropractic in the Energy Corridor, the Progress Accelerator that we recommend is spinal decompression. Spinal decompression can be performed on either the cervical or lumbar spine.
By stretching the spine axially, from head to toe, decompression is able to relieve pressure from the spinal nerves and intervertebral discs. Decompression is particularly effective in treating conditions such as degenerative disc disease, disc bulges/herniations, and sciatica. Since implementing decompression last year, we have achieved better and faster results than we did in the past when offering only adjustments. The number of decompression sessions we recommend will be determined by the severity of your symptoms, in addition to examination and x-ray findings.
Do Your At Home Exercises
As much as I would love to tell you that you can reach all of your health goals simply by getting treated in our office, it simply is not true. For every patient, we prescribe at home exercises to compliment our in-office treatments. To start, most patients begin with simple exercises to improve posture and help improve the natural curves of the neck and lower back.
The next phase of exercises is geared toward their specific problem. For patients with neck pain, this will involve stretches for the muscles located in the front of the neck, as well as strengthening exercises for the muscles in the back of the neck. For patients with lower back pain, these exercises will likely involve stretches for the hamstring and hip rotators, in addition to core strengthening. We also have exercises for mid back, shoulder, hip, wrist and ankle problems. The goal of the last level of exercises is to increase mobility. This will involve foam rolling and the use of a lacrosse ball.
All of these exercises are essential to not only relieve pain, but also keep problems from returning in the future. Your doctor will prescribe specific exercises for you during each level. Our website has videos that give detailed directions on how to perform each exercise. Be sure to let your doctor know if any of the recommended exercises are painful to perform, or make your condition worse.
Another important aspect of getting the most out of your chiropractic care is making sure you stay active. In my experience, patients that are more active tend to get better faster and stay better for longer periods of time. Being more active allows for greater motion in the joints of the spine, which promotes healing and keeps the joints from getting “locked up.” When we sit for long periods and don’t exercise, our muscles and joints get stiffer, which can lead to more pain.
When it comes to being active, it doesn’t really matter what type of exercises you do, the important thing is that you are doing something. Whether you enjoy running, swimming, cycling or lifting weights, it can all help with the healing process. Even walking at a brisk pace for 20 - 30 minutes can make a positive impact on your spine. Find a type of exercise you enjoy and stick to it. Just make sure you check with your doctor about the type of exercise you like to perform. Depending on your condition, or the current stage of your treatment plan, some exercises might slow your progress. Your doctor can give you tips on what type of exercise is best for you at each stage of your chiropractic care.
Drink More Water and Avoid Inflammatory Foods
Your diet can also play a role in how fast you respond to chiropractic care. When it comes to your diet, the first thing you want to make sure that you do is drink plenty of water. The vast majority of people live in a state of chronic dehydration. Being properly hydrated keeps your joints lubricated, your brain functioning at its optimal capacity and can aid in digestion. There is also evidence that shows that increased water intake can help maintain weight, and even help weight loss.
Especially early in your chiropractic care I recommend to stay away from foods that have been shown to increase inflammation. Almost all patients that have pain have some level of inflammation, and eating foods that are inflammatory can make pain worse. Examples of foods that can cause inflammation include sugar, red meat, processed foods, alcohol and refined carbohydrates (like white bread, white rice and pasta). You certainly don’t have to avoid these foods completely, but at least limiting them during the initial phase of your chiropractic care can help with pain relief.
If you follow the instructions in this post, you will set yourself up for success with your chiropractic care. By following your personal treatment plan, decompressing your spine, performing at home exercises, staying active and making some minor dietary changes, you will not only get out of pain quickly, but be on track for a much healthier life. If you are ready to start your chiropractic care, you can schedule an appointment online, or call our office at 281-752-7388.