There is an old joke, How many Chiropractors does it take to change a light bulb? Just one, but they have to do it twice a week for the rest of your life. That’s not true but what is true is that once you start getting adjustments, you are going to keep wanting to get adjusted for the rest of your life because they allow you to keep functioning without pain. That leads us into the next question, why do I have to keep getting adjusted, cant you just fix the problem with a couple of treatments and it stay fixed? Unfortunately for a lot of spinal conditions that is simply not the case. Chiropractor maintenance care is required for many spinal conditions.
To explain why this is the case, I am going to use the example of a pushbike.
If you imagine that your spine is like a bike chain. The chain is a whole bunch of little links that altogether make the one chain, well the spine is similar because there’s a whole bunch of joints, there are 3 joints per vertebrae and they all connect to allow us to move freely and support our body while at the same time protecting our nervous system. So if you imagine that the bike chain is like your spine, if you buy a bike brand new the chain works fine, it works perfectly. If you leave that bike out in the rain for a year or two pretty quickly the chain is going to seize up, it’s going to rust up and stop working.
Similarly with your spine, the links or joints in your spine seize up and stop working because of posture, repetitive movements and forces of daily activities, accidents, trips, slips, falls etc. Chiropractors call them subluxations so when you get an adjustment, the Chiropractor will find the spot in your spine where the joint is not moving and then adjust it to get it moving again. You will have noticed that when the Chiropractor feels their way up your spine they are able to find the tender spots. The Chiropractor is feeling for subluxations. To you they feel tender, to the Chiropractor they feel stuck and stiff.
So if you think back to your rusted up bike chain, if you want to take your bike for a ride and you get the chain and manipulate each of the links of the chain to move, the chains going to work again. It’s not going to work very well but it is going to work again. So then you take that bike out for a ride and the act of riding it will get the chain back to working order. It won’t be perfect but it will be working order. Similarly with your spine when you get an adjustment to your spine, the motion is restored to your spine and then you go out and you use your body doing daily activities and moving around and that’s like taking the bike for a ride, the movement that has been restored to that joint, when you move it restores the joint back to normal.
However, most people walk out the door with the same body shape, the same body size, the same emotional stresses, eat the same foods, they do the same activities and they go back to the same jobs and have the same forces going back through them so the same posture, same body, same forces so just like leaving the bike out in the rain, very quickly the chain, or the spine, stops moving again.
That’s why you need to keep getting regularly adjusting. At the start you need to get treated more frequently because it’s very rusted and not moving and as it gets freer and freer you need less and less adjustments. However if you alter your posture, if you alter your daily activities, if you exercise, if you eat healthy nutritious foods and work on your mindset then the period of time between adjustments when your spine is working perfectly will be longer.
So if you’re looking after yourself a maintenance adjustment will be required every six to eight weeks. During this time between visits your body will be functioning perfectly allowing you to do what you want in your life. If not eventually it will get more and more restricted and eventually seize up. When this happens, you will be in a lot of pain and require multiple treatments to get back to normal. So just like you regularly service your car, service your spine so you can get the best mileage possible out of your body.
Doug Eldred - Chiropractor Blacktown - Open sundays