Many people that are afraid to come to a chiropractor have been told that "once you go to a chiropractor you have to go the rest of your life." Chiropractors only see 40% of the population, and yet 85% of people will have a low back pain so bad that they miss a week of work. So what is keeping the other 60% from coming to see us when we are their best bet for recovery? There are a bunch of reasons but one of them is surly the "once you go to a chiropractor..." idea.
I actually used to be one of the people who thought this, back before I got educated. I used to think that people who went to the chiropractor a lot would walk in to the chiropractor with their bone out of place, they would then get their bone popped back in...but then, because they had been seeing the chiropractor so many times, their spine was too loose and they would walk down the street and turn the corner and their bones would pop out of place. They would then walk all wonky back into the chiropractor a few days later. This misconception starts with another misconception. The misconception that bones pop out of place and chiropractors pop them back in place. This is not true. Bones don't pop out of place. What does happen is that because of injuries or repetitive motions or postural strain, the ligamentous tissues that hold the joints of the spine together get stiffened and shortened causing the spinal joints to become stiff, stuck or locked up. Chiropractic adjustments are used to stretch the tight ligaments and restore proper motion to the spine.
So back to the erroneous idea that once you go to a chiropractor you are doomed to go for the rest of your life. See I think people mistakenly think that chiropractic adjustments do something that then causes the person to be dependent on future visits...like make the spine to loose so the bones pop out of place. What really happens is that when a patient comes to our office, we only adjust the stuck joints, the ones that are loose we leave alone.
Many people do see chiropractors throughout their life, but these are one of two types:
1.) People who have been to the chiropractor for a painful issue and got it resolved and now want to keep their spine nice and flexible. This keeps their spinal joints healthy and helps prevent having the problem return.
2.) People who have had a severe injury and their spinal joints are damaged enough that they never make a full recovery. They have found though that if they get regular adjustments their function and pain level is greatly improved. So they come to the chiropractor once a month or so.
Neither of these two patients have to go to the chiropractor because getting their spine adjusted made them dependent on chiropractic care. They both just found that for them, there was great benefit in seeing us periodically.
Many of our patients will see us for a painful condition, we will treat them with adjustments, massage and other things to reduce the inflammation and then teach them exercises to stretch or strengthen muscles. They will most frequently make a full recovery and some of these patients will decide to get maintenance adjustments and some will just call us in the future if they have a new painful condition. Some of these folks will go many years before we see them again. I just saw a man today that hasn't been in for over 10 years and had been feeling pretty good all that time.
So educate your friends and family...it's safe to see a chiropractor. When we are done treating the painful issue they could go years before needing us again.