There are many chiropractors out there that promote ‘wellness care’. This confuses a lot of people. Many people understand why you would go to the chiropractor for low back pain or a headache. Why would you go to the chiropractor when you’re feeling fine?
Many of my colleagues will answer, ‘because you still go to the dentist every six months to get your teeth cleaned; it’s the same concept.’ You see the dentist every 6 months for preventative cleanings and to have a check-up to be sure that you don’t have any cavities…which you can then have filled before any serious problems arise. At a wellness visit I will adjust you, same as the dentist will clean your teeth. I can check-in with you about your overall health, check your blood-pressure, see if you’ve been holding up your end of the deal by cutting back on the bad stuff (smoking, junk food) and getting more of the good stuff (veggies, exercise) to help ward off the ‘root canals’ of low back pain, headaches, and even cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. So in that way, yes, it’s like going to the dentist.
However, wellness care is more than preventative maintenance like your semi-annual dental appointment. I feel that the chiropractic adjustment makes everything function more efficiently in your body; everything just works better when you get regular adjustments. Sleep quality improves, digestion improves, your ability to concentrate improves. There are several theories on why this works, but the one I most subscribe to is because when one piece, i.e. a joint, isn’t functioning correctly it creates more stress on the rest of the system. Joints, particularly spinal joints, will inevitably get stuck and stop functioning properly for a myriad of reasons, most owing to poor body mechanics that we have set up in our bodies over the years doing things in the less than ideal way. (This is one reason to start chiropractic care early, but more on this topic in a future post.) One joint gets used a little less than it’s neighbor joints for whatever reason and so the body finds ways to secure that joint. The body will always stabilize a joint in the part of it’s range that joint is not moving to prevent injury. Before you know it, certain joints are more stuck than others. The chiropractic adjustment gets the stuck joints moving again, removing that stress; frees up the prana flow, for all you yogis out there.
You may be wondering, how often should I get adjusted for wellness reasons? The answer is, it depends. It depends on how often you’re body needs it. I have seen patients that could use chiropractic wellness care every week and I have seen patients that could benefit from wellness care every 6 months. This is a patient specific situation. The frequency you should receive chiropractic wellness care depends on your overall wellness state. The once a week patient is typically not very active and has a lot of degenerative change in their body. They really rely on chiropractic care just to maintain the amount of mobility they have. The every 6 months patient is not your average American, this patient is a very active person living a very healthy and active lifestyle with excellent overall health; moreover they don’t ‘over do it’ in their activities and therefore avoiding sport injuries and pain from pushing beyond their limits. Most of us lie somewhere in between and in my experience the average adult in good health is could benefit from chiropractic wellness care somewhere between once per 2-6 weeks.
Something to be aware of is that standard health insurance does not typically cover wellness chiropractic care. Health insurance is there for preventative care like annual check-ups and screening procedures like the dentist, as well as getting you the care you need when you are sick or injured. Health insurance will cover chiropractic care for injury and chronic pain, so few people are aware of this, so have your doctor check your benefits. Health insurance is there to keep you from sinking below baseline, not to help you grow beyond that. I appreciate health insurance for being there if I break an arm or contract strep throat. But just the same as most health insurances don’t cover the produce portion of your grocery bill or your membership to the yoga studio, they don’t typically cover wellness chiropractic. I believe an investment in your optimal health, and therefore your best self, is one of the best investments you can make.
All this said, injury and rehabilitative care with chiropractic may need to be initiated at any time that pain and injury occur; so call your doctor to get in if you get hurt. I’ve had many patients on wellness care wait the 2-3 weeks to come in after they fall off a ladder and hurt themselves, just because they weren’t due to come in. Your chiropractor is not a fortune-teller, so get in there when something happens!
I recommend wellness care because I want to help my patients live their best lives, and that means continually raising the bar; always giving patients the tools and support they need to live their best life. Ask your chiropractor about wellness care at your next visit, and discuss what time frame is optimal for you to receive regular chiropractic wellness care.