T he answer is——Maybe? At some point in your life, you’ve probably heard of someone talk about his or her chiropractic experience. Sadly, you might have heard of something like this, “They wanted me to come back 3 times a week for the next 4 weeks and then twice a week for 4 weeks after that! They were just trying to get my money. I just told them that I was too busy to schedule and that I will call if I need another adjustment. I got the heck out of there!”
The truth of the matter is, once you start hearing some of these concerns about chiropractic treatment plans, you probably can’t get them out of your mind. “Wait, do I actually need to schedule out a whole plan? Am I just wasting my money?”
Dr. Jay Greenstein, CEO of Sport and Spine Rehab, took some time out of his day to sit down and answer some of the most common questions that we get regarding chiropractic treatment plans.
So what evidence is actually out there?
In 1992, a group of MD’s, Chiropractors, and Ph.D’s created something called the Mercy document. This document provided guidelines to providers regarding treatment frequency and duration. Based off of literature and multiple surveys from around the country, they found that in an acute uncomplicated case of spine related pain, the most successful and typical course of treatment was generally 3 times a week for the first 4 weeks and then anywhere between 1-3 times a week for up to 4-8 weeks. Since then, other clinical guidelines have been published stating similar results. Based on the evidence, this is about how long it takes for patients to respond to this type of conservative care (for uncomplicated spinal pain).
In a study led by Mitch Haas, DC, MA (a leading chiropractic researcher for more than two decades who serves as associate vice president for research at the University of Western States), researchers found that the more frequently patients were treated in the first few weeks, the faster they got better and the less back pain they had.
Have you ever gone to the gym for just one day, expecting to be that much healthier?
Dr. Jay compares going to the chiropractor to going to the gym. If you haven’t gone to the gym in a year and you are out of shape, one day at the gym is not going to bring you back to the status of healthy and in shape. The same thought process can be applied to chiropractic. If your joints aren’t moving properly, if your motor patterns are out of wack, one visit to the chiropractor is not going to make you functionally better. It takes time. Conservative care takes time. At Sport and Spine Rehab, we work on joint mobility, proprioception (knowing where your body is in space), flexibility, strength, coordination, balance, and much much more. You can’t possibly master all of that in one visit, no matter how great of an athlete you are! Our doctors and rehab specialists work on both the physical and neurological aspect. We not only want your joints to be mobile and muscles to be stronger, but we also want your muscles to be properly trained to move in the correct motor patterns. This is important so that you stay out of pain!
What do the doctors of Sport and Spine Rehab take into consideration when coming up with treatment plans?
First and foremost, we care about patient values. We work with each patient to help them obtain the result that he or she wants. Our doctors also take into account the patient’s history, the findings from their physical examination, their clinical experience with past patients, and the evidence that exists for certain treatments of varying conditions. Our doctors then will come up with individualized treatment plans for each of their patients. We never just prescribe cookie cutter treatment plans, but instead have conversations with our patients to find out what will work best for them and the results that they want (check out what your first appointment with us would look like!).
At Sport and Spine Rehab, our treatment plans consist of varying types of care–chiropractic adjustments, soft tissue treatment, dry needling, KT taping, cupping, massage therapy, rehab exercises, and much more. It all depends on what the patient needs. Our patient visit average is 10, which is significantly less than a lot of other providers.
In the end, our goal is always to discharge a patient once they are FUNCTIONALLY better–not just once the pain goes away. We never want our patients to experience the same pain again and we will do everything we can take make that happen.
- Haas M, Groupp E, Kraemer DF. Dose-response for chiropractic care of chronic low back pain. Spine J. 2004;4(5):574-583.
- Haas M, Vavrek D, Peterson D, Polissar N, Neradilek MB. Dose-response and efficacy of spinal manipulation for care of chronic low back pain: a randomized controlled trial. Spine J. 2014;14(7):1106-1116.
- Senna MK, Machaly SA. Does maintained spinal manipulation therapy for chronic nonspecific low back pain result in better long-term outcome? Spine. 2011;36(18):1427-1437.
- Vavrek DA, Sharma R, Haas M. Cost analysis related to dose-response of spinal manipulative therapy for chronic low back pain: outcomes from a randomized controlled trial. JMPT. 2014;37(5):300-311.
- Boline PD, Kassak K, Bronfort G, Nelson C, Anderson AV. Spinal manipulation vs. amitriptyline for the treatment of chronic tension-type headaches: a randomized clinical trial. JMPT. 1995;18(3):148-154.