A Chiropractic Patient’s 4 Stages of Improvement
New patients are fun.
On the first visit, a Chiropractor can reasonably predict which patients will cruise through their treatment plan and which ones will struggle. This is because the most important factor for Chiropractic patient improvement is motivation.
When I’m listening to a new patient, I’m finding out why they are seeking my help. Is it really just about pain reduction, or is there a bigger story behind it?
Patients above 65 are often motivated to feel younger. They want to be flooded with youth, vigour and vitality, like a 20 year old in their prime.
30-something year olds are often more focused on performance. Whether it’s keeping up pace at the office or hitting personal bests in an F45 class, they are motivated to function well and function better.
No matter your age, Chiropractic patient improvement happens in these stages:
- In the right place.
- The Chiropractic roller coaster.
- Better quality of life.
- A lifelong habit.
So, is your motivation strong enough to last all 4 stages? Let’s find out.
Stage 1 - In The Right Place
The first 2 weeks as a Chiropractic patient is quite enjoyable. You learn so many new things about your condition and you experience your very first adjustment.
An adjustment is when your Chiropractor applies a gentle, comfortable “push” onto a subluxated bone. Usually, the Chiropractor uses the soft part of their hand to do this.
For most patients, you will hear a “pop” or multiple “popping” sounds during the adjustment. Because the sound is coming from your body, you may even feel the little vibrations around the bone.
It feels good during an adjustment, and patients also feel their bones going back “in the right place” or proper position. Any stiffness, pressure or discomfort you feel dissipates into a light, loose and well-balanced frame.
The most obvious improvements happen in stage 1, so it’s exciting and motivation is easy to find.
Stage 2 - The Chiropractic Roller Coaster
This is the most interesting stage of Chiropractic patient improvement. Symptomatically, it’s up and down, twists and turns, all without a dull moment.
As your brain and nervous system adapts to the stimulation from your adjustments, your level of pain or discomfort may fluctuate. One day you’re feeling 100%, the next day it feels like you’re back at square one.
If you’ve had any noteworthy injuries in the past (even as a child or teenager), those areas might start to ache and feel sore again.
Sometimes your initial complaint feels like it’s come back with a vengeance! This may discourage some patients from completing their care, which is understandable because it feels like you’re getting worse.
My patients find it encouraging when I compare this to feeling sore after a massive workout. As much as I hate to use this phrase, “No pain, no gain” is an appropriate description of this stage.
Stage 3 - Better Quality Of Life
In these latter stages of Chiropractic patient improvement, your nerves start to stabilise. What felt like flashbacks from “Jazz Junction” at Dazzeland now seems more like kayaking along the Port Adelaide river.
Patients who are well aware of subtle changes in their body will notice improvements in basic daily activities:
- Climbing up the stairs quicker
- Happier mood and emotional state
- Chopping carrots with more power
- Faster reaction time (reflexes)
Chiropractors call these functional improvements. It is a sign of a finely tuned nervous system. It means your nerves are communicating well with each other and that is healthy.
Although functional improvements aren’t as obvious as the first stage, they usually happen in a wider variety. It’s also a great way to age gracefully (or like fine wine).
Stage 4 - A Lifelong Habit
Saving the best for last, Chiropractic should be used more often to promote good health rather than a way to fix bad pain.
My most motivated patients live by this code. They choose to continue their adjustments despite no longer having pain.
Just like taking your vitamin C, going to bed early or hiking every Sunday, it’s become a part of their regimen. Good for them! All the benefits are theirs to reap.
Keeping healthy requires effort. But if keeping healthy is a lifelong habit, it’s as easy as ABC.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of every Chiropractor or the Chiropractic profession as a whole.