Laying the foundation
Chiropractic care is like building a house - there is a specific process to follow to ensure maximum healing occurs. When building a house, you have to start with a strong foundation before putting up walls, or the walls will eventually collapse. Or if you put a roof on the walls before they were finished, you would have the same problem and your roof (and walls) would eventually collapse. The body's healing process is the same; you have to start with a solid foundation of care before moving onto the next phase to make sure the healing process is maximized and your tissues can repair correctly and fully. There are three general phases of chiropractic care, and the length and frequency of care in each phase depends on the severity of your specific problem.
Phase 1: Relief Care
Relief care is focused on getting you out of pain and feeling better. Depending on the severity of your problem, you will likely have more treatments in this beginning stage of care, up to daily or 3-4x per week. Initially, treatments are passive in nature, meaning the doctor will provide treatment and you won't have much to do at home. The doctor may give at home icing instruction if necessary.
Phase 2: Corrective/Restorative Care
During the corrective care phase, the focus is on improving the healing of muscles and other tissues more completely, thereby helping prevent injury. In this phase, the doctor will teach you exercises and stretches to do at home or the gym, and you will be seeing the doctor less frequently. This phase may last several weeks, depending on your overall health, your compliance with doctor's instructions, and the severity of your problem.
Phase 3: Wellness Care
Once your body has fully healed, you enter wellness care! In wellness care, your healing and progress is maintained to help prevent future problems. This is usually a quick visit to the doctor about 1-2 times per month, based on your lifestyle and goals. Treatments consist of manipulations, and therapies are utilized as needed.