Following a treatment plan for a structural injury can be viewed in the same or similar way as a fitness programme. The more closely you follow your prescribed treatment plan, the more likely you are to get the best out of your care with more positive and longer lasting results.
If you decide to do a fitness programme, it is essential that you go and train frequently and consistently until you reach your desired fitness level, it is then important to maintain that level of fitness with an altered programme. If you only follow your fitness programme intermittently, you wouldn’t expect much of a change!
In the same way, if you are inconsistent with chiropractic treatment appointments, it can hinder your improvement and make progress much slower, particularly at the start of a care plan. This is because we are dealing with the same musculoskeletal structures that are exercised during your training sessions.
Consider joint problems caused by ligament injury, for example. Ligament injuries such as an acute ankle sprain, according to the Journal of Athletic Training (JAT), improve slowly over a period of six weeks to three months and even up to a year. JAT stresses complete healing is essential to prevent re-injury. The long-term consequence of non-healed ligament injury is chronic pain, diminished function, as well as wear and tear known as osteoarthritis (OA).
Joint problems caused by ligament injury progress through three stages of healing: the acute inflammatory phase; the proliferative or regenerative phase; and the tissue re-modelling phase. Your chiropractor understands the way the body heals and progresses. For this reason, the chiropractor sets out a specific plan for you to reach a certain level of comfort, movement and stability. During this time, keeping your appointments is VERY important.
Once a level of joint and nerve healing as well as structural integrity is reached, your treatment plan will slowly reduce to consistent but less frequent appointments. Any subsequent check-ups or treatment is intended to help you to continue to improve during all stages of healing and can hence act as a preventative measure to help maintain on-going body stability.
We all have busy lives, but remember if your body is working well then you will also be better able to maintain that busy lifestyle. Take the time for your body and health; it’s a worthwhile investment! If you have any questions about your care plan strategy, be sure to talk to your chiropractor.