The Game Plan
In some ways, one could say that chiropractic care is a bit like building a house – certain things have to happen in a particular order in order for everything to stand strong and work together correctly. When building a house, if you tried to build your walls before you had a solid foundation, your walls would be weak and eventually may even collapse. If you tried to build your roof before the walls were ready, you would run into the same problem. These concepts apply to your body as well, and chiropractic care addresses many common reasons why people experience pain and other health issues. If something is not right with your body’s foundation, then that needs to be addressed before true health can be achieved. With chiropractic care, your body has to go through a particular plan of care in order to repair itself correctly and fully. There are three general phases of chiropractic care . . .
Phase 1: Relief Care
In this first phase of care, the main goal is to reduce your symptoms. If you are in pain when you come into one of our offices, our first objective is to help you reduce pain and start feeling better as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of the underlying condition which is causing your pain, it is typical for a patient to need chiropractic care or adjustments 2-3 times per week for 4-12 weeks.
For example, consider a cavity in your tooth. Does it hurt when it first develops or only after it has become serious? How about heart disease? Regardless of whether you are talking about cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stress or problems with the spine, pain is usually the last thing to appear. When you begin chiropractic care, pain is also the first symptom to disappear, even though much of the underlying condition remains.
Most people are under the assumption that if they don’t feel any pain that there is nothing wrong with them – that they are healthy. Unfortunately, pain is a very poor indicator of health. In fact, pain and other symptoms frequently only appear after a disease or other condition has become advanced.
Phase 2: Corrective/ Restorative Care
During the corrective phase of chiropractic care, muscles and other tissues are allowed to heal more completely, which helps prevent further injury or pain. The goal of corrective or restorative chiropractic care is to help bring your body back to 100% functioning. It is typical to need chiropractic care or adjustments about 4-8 times per month for 6-24 months, depending on your overall health and the severity of your problem.
Most chiropractors regard the elimination of symptoms as the easiest part of a person’s care. If all that the chiropractor does is to reduce the pain and stop there, the chances of the condition recurring are much greater. In order to prevent a rapid recurrence of symptoms, it is necessary to continue receiving care even though your symptoms are gone.
During the correction / restorative phase of your care, you will not have to receive adjustments as often as you did during the first phase of care and, depending on your particular circumstances, you may begin doing exercises and stretches either at the center or at home to help accelerate your healing.
Do not be discouraged if you have mild flare-ups in your symptoms on occasion. This is normal. Flare-ups are bound to occur during this phase because your body has not fully healed. Depending on the severity of your injury or condition and how long you have been suffering from it, this phase of your care may last anywhere from a few months to a couple of years.
Your First Visit
When going to a new doctor we know there will always be questions you might have on what is going to happen and how things will work. Here at Gulf Coast Rehabilitation and Wellness Center we break down exactly how your first visit will go so that you don’t have to wonder.
Upon entering our office, you’ll be welcomed by our receptionist with open arms. They will then give you our patient form to fill out. This paperwork provides us with your health history and information on your condition.
Next, you will have a consultation with one of our doctors to discuss your health-related problems, concerns, and potential treatment options. This initial visit is designed for us to learn more about you, your condition, and expectations to determine how chiropractic care can meet your goals.
After your consultation, one of our doctors will perform a complete chiropractic examination testing your reflexes and flexibility. Other standard neurological, orthopedic, postural, and physical tests will be performed as well. However, nothing will be done in our office without your consent.
Depending on your specific condition, we may take X-rays as well. X-rays help us develop the most effective treatment plan for you, and alert us of any serious spinal conditions. Most people are amazed once they see their X-rays up close. In some cases, they can even identify their misalignments and degeneration themselves.
Report of Findings
Once the information is collected and examinations are performed, one of our doctors will give you a detailed report of all findings and answer any questions including:
- How can you help me?
- How often do I need to come in?
- What will my treatment cost?
After reviewing your health history, goals, and examining your spine and X-rays, one of our doctors will discuss recommendations and notify you if your condition requires care with other providers. One of our doctors will provide the best treatment and wellness program for your needs.
At the conclusion of this initial appointment, you can choose to experience your first treatment. This may include spinal adjustments, physical therapy, and/or soft tissue massage. Treatment is interactive, so you can express concerns about the different styles of treatment anytime.