Chiropractors use joint and spinal manipulation to correct misalignments of the musculoskeletal system. Chiropractic therapy provides pain relief for a number of painful conditions, ultimately improving overall health and well-being.
A common question from people who are considering chiropractic treatment is, “How long does pain reduction last following treatment?” So, let’s examine the factors that affect the amount of time that chiropractic treatment benefits last.
Conditions Treatable by Chiropractic Care
A great number of chiropractic patients are seeking relief from short-term pain or conditions, like general neck pain and lower back pain. However, chiropractic visits can also help to relieve pain associated with chronic conditions:
Chiropractic treatment can also aid athletic recovery or maintain flexibility and range of motion. Some athletes use chiropractic care as a preventative measure, while others use it after dealing with sports-related injuries. As with any type of injury, consult with a chiropractor along with your primary care doctor to determine if chiropractic treatments will make a difference.
Chiropractic Care: Factors That Determine How Long the Benefits Last
New patients may find that a single chiropractic session isn’t enough to get relief. While some may notice immediate relief after their first visit to a chiropractor, pain can return to the affected area if the subluxation returns.
The length of time that a patient experiences the benefits of chiropractic adjustment depends on several factors:
Present Spinal Alignment
You may think that your spine is properly aligned, especially if you’ve made a full recovery from injury. The unfortunate reality is that injuries can be “healed” for years but your spine may still be misaligned and simply not causing pain.
Sleeping habits and posture also affect the alignment of the spine. If you’ve become used to sleeping in a certain position, the condition of the spine will reflect this. Likewise, if you’re slouching for eight hours while you’re on your computer at work, your spine will suffer the consequences.
Spinal misalignment doesn’t always present itself as pain in the spine, but rather in the neck, shoulders, or hips. Your spinal alignment will greatly affect how long your adjustments hold after chiropractic treatment.
Strength of Muscles and Ligaments
During a chiropractic session, your chiropractor will use physical manipulation to perform joint and back adjustments that restore proper alignment to your body’s musculoskeletal structures.
Your muscles and ligaments, however, can become conditioned over time to be in the “wrong” position. If so, they gradually pull your joints and spine back into the position they have become accustomed to, which is why regular chiropractic adjustments are so important – your soft tissues and nervous system must gradually become trained to be in the correct alignment.
The Severity and Age of Conditions or Injuries
No matter what condition or injury is causing your pain, its severity plays a large part in how long your chiropractic benefits last. If there are injuries to the neck or spine that are years or decades old, the rest of the body has gradually learned to compensate for those weaknesses. Following an adjustment, your body will seek to return to the position it has become used to, similar to the scenario with tight muscles and ligaments.
The Bottom Line About Chiropractic Relief
Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer for how long the benefits of chiropractic treatment last, due to the fact that there are multiple factors in play. Relief can last as long as a few weeks or as little as a few days. That’s why it’s critical for patients who are seeking pain relief to have a treatment plan and return as needed for further chiropractic care.
In the end, it takes time to retrain the human body and “unlearn” bad habits like poor posture. Eventually the body adjusts, and chiropractic adjustments can occur less frequently (or even be stopped altogether).
Make Your Chiropractic Benefits Last Longer
As a chiropractic patient, you can take certain steps to prolong the benefits of your treatment sessions.
- Drink Water: Your body is mostly water and so are your muscles. Water is essential in order to operate efficiently and to recover from chiropractic treatment. Staying hydrated also keeps your body’s waste and toxin removal systems working normally!
- Keep Moving: You may be a little sore after your chiropractic session. And while it may be tempting to rest until the soreness subsides, it’s in your body’s best interest to fight the urge to be still. Activity keeps your muscles and joints limber and loose, and as we’ve learned above, tight muscles and ligaments can be the enemy of your joints and spine.
Your chiropractor will continually reevaluate your condition and adjust the treatment plan as necessary. He or she may even recommend additional treatment methods, including acupuncture, physical therapy, or massage to reach your pain relief goals.
Find Pain Relief at Meridian HealthCare
The bottom line is that the length of time you experience the benefits of chiropractic care depends on your condition, how often you get adjustments, and several other factors.
The best way to find out how long your results will last is to schedule an appointment with a trusted chiropractor and discuss your condition(s). The chiropractic team at Meridian HealthCare is ready to help answer your questions and get you on the path to better health. Contact us today and get a treatment plan that is designed to improve your quality of life.