How long would you expect to see your dentist? Do you plan on seeing them as a way to prevent future dental issues, or do you only see a dentist when you absolutely need to? How frequently do you get your car worked on? Is it only when it’s broken down and won’t start, or do you take it in for regular maintenance?
Many people are dealing with different circumstances and have different priorities in their life, so to be expected, the answer to those questions may vary from person to person.
What about seeing a chiropractor? Do you only see a chiropractor when you’re in pain, or would you go for wellness/maintenance? Also, how frequently would you expect to see a chiropractor, whether it’s for an acute flare up or for wellness? In short, I would answer this again with it depends, as people have different priorities, expectations, and circumstances.
As you can imagine, various doctors and patients will have different opinions on this topic. I will provide my opinion that above anything else, has the patient’s best interest that is supported by research. Another reason for this topic is I hear all too often of patients getting sucked into extremely long and unnecessary treatment plans. My goal is to properly educate you on what you can expect with my treatments for the best outcome.
Before I dive into this topic it’s important to know that this is a very broad topic and EVERY patient has a unique presentation and expectation. I’d like to break this up into patients who present with an acute flare up (less than 2-3 weeks) and chronic issues (lasting longer than 1 month). As you can expect, a chronic condition may require a lengthier treatment time than an acute flare up.
ACUTE FLARE UP
With an acute musculoskeletal flare up, you can expect a localized inflammatory response to occur. This is a NORMAL part of healing that NEEDS to happen. There are various things I can do as well as you can do (and take) to speed this up. More frequent visits will likely be necessary for the first week or two, to again speed up the healing time. Personally, I have never seen a patient over 3 times a week as I find anything over this a bit unnecessary.
That’s not to say someone wouldn’t benefit from a more frequent visit (I think of professional athletes), but there are things you can be doing at home to also help speed up the healing time that ultimately will help someone’s outcome and not require high frequency “passive” treatment visits in the office.
So in general, the visit frequency for an acute flare up would likely be a few times a week for the first week or two. Home recommendations would be incorporated to help assist in the healing and correction of your symptoms, and then spacing out each visit as someone progresses in their healing and symptom recovery.
Does this look different from what you’ve seen before?
I bet it does! I pride myself in trying to get my patients feeling better AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. My treatment is not just a 3 minute adjustment. I allow 30 minutes per visit and I incorporate various soft tissue techniques, as well as corrective exercises. All of this is what allows me to LOWER the frequency of someone’s visit (LESS cost to the patient, faster results). Some of the work is on you though! I can only do so much, so the patient must be willing to be active in their recovery for the best and fastest results!
Most insurance-based chiropractic clinics have treatment plans that look something like this: 3 visits per week for 3 months, then 2 per week for 2 months, then…etc. If I were presented with that, I’d personally walk away. Sorry to be blunt, but it gives me the feeling that they are more after your wallet than your health. Even if someone’s complaint is chronic, all of that is excessive in my opinion.
As you can imagine, a chronic issue that is lasting greater than 3 months may require a different treatment approach. The frequency of a visit may or may not be as frequent, but the duration may be longer considering how long someone has been symptomatic. The actual treatment would likely NOT differ from acute or chronic. I will still address joint movement, biomechanics of movement, soft tissue therapies, and corrective exercises.
So while acute flare ups may require a more frequent visit, chronic issues may or may not be as frequent, but would likely be of longer duration.
WELLNESS OR PREVENTATIVE CARE
Whether someone initially comes in for an acute injury or a chronic condition, they will likely get out of pain or at least lessen their symptoms (hopefully sooner than later). THEN WHAT? Here’s where wellness care can address issues to help minimize the likelihood of any future flare ups.
As you can imagine, wellness or preventative visits will be LESS frequent. These visits would look similar as far as treatment, but at this point the care would likely incorporate a greater amount of corrective exercises in effort to prevent recurrence. At this point we can also address movement mechanics and improve the way you move! Initially treatment is geared toward lowering your symptoms, but now we can focus on improving STRENGTH and MOBILITY.
How frequent are wellness/preventative visits?
As mentioned in the beginning, this is very personal to someone’s goals, circumstances, their priorities, and their lifestyle..etc. For example, do you sit for work or is your job very physically demanding? That answer will certainly help guide my suggestions. I think on average a patient on a wellness plan is usually in for treatment once every month or two. My opinion, at the minimum it should be once every 4 months. Three times a year to address spinal movement, biomechanics of movement, and imbalances.
What most people do once they are out of pain… NOTHING. “I’m out of pain, why would I need to keep going to the chiropractor?” In general, I find my patients who maintain regular occasional visits have the least amount of flare ups, and if they do get them, they are more rapidly taken care of! And again, exercise progressions will be incorporated to improve strength and mechanics to lessen the likelihood of flare ups.
A Unique offer
My services are usually set up as a pay-per-visit fee. This can be beneficial for some, but for those who require a lengthier treatment plan, I realize it can add up. I now offer concierge chiropractic which is a one-time fee for the year. Use me as frequently as you need me, and I will help guide you on your health journey. Whether you are currently in pain, or looking to maintain optimal health, mobility, and strength, chiropractic can help! Don’t WAIT until you are in pain, take control of your health and start being proactive. Another BIG bonus is that this yearly membership allows anyone in your immediate family to utilize my services. No need to pay for every single visit, for every single person!
Whether someone is coming in for an acute flare up or a chronic condition, the treatment will likely look similar. The frequency of visits may be more frequent in an acute flare up in effort to decrease symptoms faster. As you would expect, chronic issues may take longer considering how long someone has been symptomatic. Once someone’s pain is gone or greatly lessened, I still believe there is great benefit in preventative treatment as one ages (concierge chiropractic). At this point, more specific exercise prescriptions will be implemented in effort to stay mobile and as strong as you can = less pain, better movement!
In effort to DECREASE CHIROPRACTIC VISITS under my care, both the patient and I are trying to:
-improve biomechanics (the way they move)
-strengthen various muscles to improve mechanics
-loosen tight muscles to improve mechanics
-improve joint mobility
-improve proprioception (bodies awareness in space)
-address negative lifestyle habits
Remember, everyone has a unique presentation, expectations, and circumstances so treatment style and frequency may look different for everyone. But if your goal is to see a chiropractor as less frequently as possible (whether you’re in pain or not), you need to address the things listed above.
I am always here to help anyone in their health journey. Whether I’m seeing you for an acute flare up, chronic condition, or preventative care, I will have suggestions for you to get you back to feeling your best! If you are interested in learning more about what I offer, please contact the office for more information or fill out a contact form through our contact page on our website!
Dr. Ryon Bosscher, DC