by Dr. Adam Podraza
Picture walking onto a construction site, and the contractor shows up with no blueprints or plans. He says he is going to show up every day, view the progress thus far, and make all decisions on what to do as he goes. Is that a fool-proof plan that will lead to successful results? Unfortunately, it is not.
Before even lifting one hammer, the contractor should explain in detail the different stages of construction, what to expect during each stage, and when you should expect the job to be completed.
Chiropractic care is, and should be, the same way. Your Chiropractor should have a plan for your care and explain the three phases in detail, so you can fully understand what to expect during each phase and where you are throughout the process.
Phase 1: Crisis (Relief) Care
Most people begin in this phase, unless they have been under care for a significant amount of time or if their spinal structure is in excellent condition. The primary objective of Phase 1 is to eliminate pain and have patients function as they did before the pain started. First, a thorough examination is done to reveal the areas of spinal dysfunction. Then, a care plan is created with two objectives in mind: eliminate or reduce discomfort/dysfunction and stabilize your condition in the shortest time possible. Each plan is personalized depending on the presenting condition of the patient. Phase 1 typically takes 4-6 weeks and is confirmed through objective testing.
Phase 2: Corrective (Rehabilitative) Care
This phase is centered on maintaining the progress that has been made in the relief phase while also strengthening the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. With the areas of stress in the spine diminishing, it is important to give the body the time it needs to adapt all of the surrounding structures and tissues to their position of optimal function. The frequency of visits reduces during Phase 2 because the body is starting to hold the adjustments longer and is becoming more stable. This phase typically lasts 6-8 weeks depending on the patient's progress.
Phase 3: Wellness Care
Wellness is the third and final stage of Chiropractic care. This phase is meant to maintain your improved health and spinal function while also preventing the return of any condition we have corrected throughout this adjusting process. At this point - depending on a person’s goals- specific suggestions can be made to take a patient’s health to the next level, such as on the topics of fitness, mindfulness, and nutrition. Please understand that if during this process you suffer an injury or setback, you may need to begin with Crisis Care initially to support your body, and that is perfectly okay. The good news is that your body has gone through this process in the past, so it will be ready to move through the phases more quickly!