One of the most common chiropractic myths – Do I have to keep coming back?
I commonly hear people say that they have been told once you go to a chiropractor you have to keep coming back for the rest of your life. That simply is not the case. The goal of an evidence-based and ethical chiropractor should be to get you out of pain, help you return to doing the activities that you love to do, and then teach you how to mobile, active, and pain-free. A high-quality chiropractor wants to get you better quickly and teach you the ways to stay out of pain.
Why then is there this myth?
Unfortunately, just as in any profession, there are some people who are more concerned with making money then doing the right thing. Some chiropractors use scare tactics to convince people that they have conditions that need constant treatment or else they will quickly become handicapped. The majority of the time this just is not true.
What should happen when you go to a chiropractor?
A chiropractor should take a comprehensive history of your problem as well as perform a fully functional, neurological, and physical examination to determine what is causing your pain. Once this has been performed it can be determined what the next step is. For many the next step is treatment. For some, the next step may be to perform imaging such as getting an X-ray, and for others, the next step is a referral to another type of doctor. A high-quality chiropractor will put you through a trial of care. You should experience clinically significant improvements within 2-4 weeks of beginning care for most conditions. If you do not then continue to go to a chiropractor is probably not what is best for you. Many patients improve during that initial trial of care and are taught how to manage their symptoms on their own. Continuing to go to a chiropractor for months on end with little to no symptomatic or functional improvement is not useful.
Why do some people keep coming back?
Some people enjoy receiving chiropractic care and feel as though it helps them stay looser overall. For these individuals, it is okay to come back to the chiropractor on a regular or semi-regular schedule. This, however, should be left up to the individual and not pushed on people by the practitioner.