Types of Chiropractic Care

Acute Care

Acute care is the initial stage of chiropractic care. It is the stage when a patient chooses to seek chiropractic care for various reasons, the most common reasons being wanting to feel better, to get rid of pain or other symptoms or to improve their posture.

Symptoms such as poor posture and pain are usually the tip of the iceberg, the iceberg being the pyramid of health. The base of the pyramid represents optimal health, the body of the pyramid represents gradual and slow deviation from optimal health, which, in many cases takes years, and the tip of the pyramid represents the point beyond which the less than optimal health begins to become obvious as various symptoms.

It is important to note that although this is the initial phase of chiropractic care, it is in fact, usually a late stage in the development of dis-ease. By the time symptoms are present, getting rid of the symptoms alone, does nothing to remove the causes of the less than optimal health state.

The goal while under initial care is to to start to see improvement in symptoms present. Your office visits are more frequent and composed of therapies designed to help offer relief of your symptoms and to show you ways to protect yourself. Depending on your age, condition, lifestyle, and response to treatment, repeated visits over weeks may be needed to reduce or eliminate your symptoms. The goal is to move through this phase as quickly as possible to in order to stop symptoms from progressing and to get symptomatic relief.

Although your symptoms may be gone at the end of this phase of treatment, it is very important to continue your care into the next stage in order to completely heal and to help prevent recurrence of your problem(s).

Rehabilitative care

Underlying causative factors such as tissue dysfunction, scar tissue, chronic nerve irritation, chronic muscle dysfunction, degeneration, poor posture, poor lifestyle and nutrition habits, remain after your original symptoms have improved.

Rehabilitative Care promotes more complete healing by addressing these factors. Your visit frequency is reduced as the effects of the treatments remain or ‘hold’ for longer periods of time. Your assigned homework, such as advanced exercises, also increases. You learn how to take care of yourself for life to avoid re-injury and you learn how to minimize problems should they arise again.

Schedule of care in this phase typically varies from once a week to once every 2-3 weeks and the duration also depends on your age, health status, condition, response to treatment, lifestyle habits and willingness to implement the assigned rehabilitative programs and to adopt new healthier habits.

Preventative/Maintenance care

Maximum therapeutic benefit (MTB) represents the point beyond which, the patient does not experience any further improvement in their condition symptomatically or objectively (e.g., maximum range of movement has been achieved). Once MTB has been gained, because many problems are due to overuse (e.g., prolonged sitting at work), regular visits can help maintain the changes achieved in the previous two phases of care and catch problems before they become serious again.

Unreasonable demands are often routinely placed on the body, for example, as in repetitive overuse working postures such as overhead work and computer work even when we adopt healthy ergonomic habits. Essentially, we do not live in perfect gravity-free environment where we can have just the right amount of different types of postures and movements in order to maintain a perfectly aligned spine and body.

Our normal daily routine, even when we have very healthy habits such as ergonomic posture, frequent stretch breaks and balanced exercise schedule, can still lead to misaligned joints and spine by virtue of the cumulative gradual effect of mechanical, chemical, electrical, and mental stress on our spine, muscles, joints and nervous system.

By treating problems early on, when the symptoms are mild, progressive chain-reaction types of problems can be minimized. For example, a restricted mid-back due to continued sitting posture can eventually lead to neck problems and headaches. This may happen even when one exercises, although the time it takes for symptoms to develop can be significantly greater because exercise helps maintain our body’s equilibrium. There is not any one single fix that can guarantee that problems won’t recur, although exercise, healthy habits and regular care can help greatly with prevention.

Your Preventative/Maintenance care schedule will include treatments and re-evaluations at a frequency that proves to work well in maintaining your maximum therapeutic benefit. This phase includes specific self-help activities, and an exercise plan.

As your life situation changes (for example, increased job or family stress) your treatment needs change and so will your schedule of care. Our mutual goal is to reduce your dependence on passive therapy and help you maintain an optimal quality of life.

Supportive care

Unlike Preventive/Maintenance Care, after MTB has been gained, some patients fail to sustain this benefit and progressively deteriorate upon withdrawal of treatment. Typical reasons include chronic injuries and ongoing stresses of work and daily living. Such patients benefit from Supportive Care to help them manage their conditions while avoiding becoming dependent on passive therapy. The schedule of care depends on how long the benefit of each treatment lasts in combination with other preventive programs.

How long you decide to benefit from chiropractic care is always up to you.