Question: How long do I need to go to the chiropractor? Do I have to go forever?

It’s always fun to meet and get to know the people that make up the Des Moines community. When people learn that we’re chiropractors, we get an array of responses. We mostly hear about their problem areas, chiropractic experiences, and how chiropractic has positively impacted their lives. Sometimes, we get a look of fear with a response of, “I’ve never been- I heard that once you go, you have to go forever.” While this is a common myth in chiropractic, it’s not necessarily true.

The goal for many conventional chiropractors is to help their patients temporarily manage pain, which is certainly a great goal. Our focus goes beyond temporary pain relief and aims to on help our patients achieve normal spinal structure through NeuroStructural Correction. Let’s be clear- this does not mean perfect spinal alignment. However, just like there’s a normal range for things like blood pressure and blood sugar, there’s a normal range when working to correct spinal structure. As our patients go through what we call their initial phase of care, the goal is to make structural changes in the spine so that their spinal alignment is within or closer to that acceptable range.

We often times find that when our patients achieve a more ideal spinal alignment, many of the secondary conditions they were experiencing before they started chiropractic care begin to diminish or completely resolve. This is not to say that the adjustment treated or healed whatever condition they presented with. However, by addressing spinal misalignments and removing stress on the nervous system, the brain and body are able to adapt and communicate appropriately. This allows your body to function at its best which can many times result in the reduction of secondary conditions!

When the body can communicate with itself appropriately, it functions appropriately- it’s as simple as that!

At the end of the initial phase of care, many of our patients achieve a normal range spinal structure and their spine becomes stable in that healthy position.  Our duty is to show them how to protect their investment and maintain the positive structural changes made during the initial phase of care. Major trauma (car accidents, falls, etc) and repetitive microtraumas (sitting for long periods, sitting at a computer, driving, bending the head forward to check e-mail or social media) are the biggest contributors to spinal structural abnormalities. It’s near impossible to say that any of us don’t experience these things on a regular basis.

You likely have regular maintenance done on your car to keep it functioning properly, we encourage our patients to be checked on a maintenance basis to prevent chronic spinal misalignments caused by trauma, stress, and/or toxins. By maintaining proper spinal alignment through a protection plan, we are avoiding the need to continuously perform an overhaul and rehash the same issues over and over again.

The truth is we’d rather not adjust you!

Yes, you read that right! We actually prefer not to adjust you because this means that your spine has stabilized in its proper alignment and the nervous system is functioning without disruption. We use a very specific analysis that determines whether or not an adjustment is needed. If there are no objective indicators, and an adjustment is not required on that visit, we’ll celebrate your victory with you, knowing you are continuing on the path towards greater health and healing!

How often should someone be checked to maintain optimal spinal structure?

This will be dependent on the individual. Both Dr. Adam and myself (Dr. Megan) get checked once per week and for most people we recommend being checked every 2-4 weeks. Research has shown that it only takes 2 weeks with a joint in a misaligned position to build up scar tissue that may effect the body permanently.

We work hard together with our patients to help them achieve a stable spinal structure and allow them to decide what the best option is for them moving forward.

With that being said, our goal is to help our patients achieve and maintain proper spinal structure so that the nervous system can function optimally. Rather than forcing patients to stay under care forever, we work hard together with our patients to help them achieve a stable spinal structure and allow them to decide what the best option is for them moving forward. More often than not, our patients choose to protect the investment they just made in their spinal structure and overall health. They never want to go back to the way they were before regular chiropractic care, and it becomes an exciting thing to prevent secondary conditions and to maintain health!