More than 35 million Americans, whether grappling with acute or chronic pain, seek chiropractic care annually. This trend is fueled by a mounting body of research, indicating that skillful chiropractic care delivers immediate pain relief and offers a lasting solution by enhancing posture, aligning the spine, and optimizing bodily mechanics to prevent long-term pain.
Chiropractors are healthcare providers who utilize their expertise to provide a holistic approach to healthcare that leverages the body’s natural healing abilities to achieve the desired results. However, accomplishing this may take multiple visits or as part of a treatment regimen. In this article, we’ll explore chiropractor visit frequency and help you round out how many trips you can expect to take if you decide to visit a chiropractor.
Exploring Chiropractor Visit Frequency
Like any medical service, chiropractic care may require more than one visit to the practitioner. Chiropractor visit frequency varies widely depending on factors such as:
- The specific condition
- Response to treatment
- Individual goals
For example, an individual experiencing acute back pain from a sports-related injury can likely expect to spend less time at the chiropractor’s office than a patient with scoliosis seeking postural correction. To help you determine chiropractic visit frequency, consider your condition: acute or chronic.
Acute conditions have a sudden onset, typically from an injury. Common acute conditions that result in trips to the chiropractor include:
Chiropractors can provide speed relief for acute conditions. The acute phase of an injury lasts for 2-3 days, categorized by active swelling and inflammation. Over the next 2–3 weeks, the injury will move into the subacute or passive phase of inflammation. and then moves into a more pa Typical acute care plans will last 3 weekly visits over 2-3 weeks. However, this can also vary depending on the prognosis and the patient’s response to treatment. For example, while a typical treatment of a lower back sprain may only last 2-3 weeks, it could also need to be maintained for 10-12 weeks or more to resolve an underlying spinal misalignment or curvature issue.
|Chiropractor Visit Frequency for Acute Conditions|
|Condition||Initial Visit Frequency||Frequency as Treatment Progresses|
|“Whiplash” & Trauma from Car Crash||Dependent on the extent of injury||Dependent on the extent of injury.|
|Sprains & Strains||3 times per week||Re-evaluate 3 weeks and decide with the provider.|
|Sports Injuries||3 times per week||Until function and performance are restored.|
|Acute Sciatica||3 times per week||Frequency may need to be sustained to fix unlying causes.|
On the other end of the spectrum are chronic conditions—those that don’t onset suddenly and instead develop gradually over time (from weeks to years)—and may also worsen over this period.
Some common chronic conditions that chiropractors provide care for include:
- Lower back pain
- Neck pain
- Shoulder pain
- Hip pain
- Chronic headaches and migraines
- Chronic muscle tension
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Chronic Sciatica
Chronic conditions usually stem from some form of underlying condition that is the actual cause of symptoms. For example, many of these conditions can arise from poor posture or improper spinal alignment, as the spine plays a vital role in the body’s ability to distribute weight evenly to individual parts.
|Chiropractor Visit Frequency for Chronic Conditions|
|Condition||Initial Visit Frequency||Frequency as Treatment Progresses|
|Scoliosis||3 times per week||General Chiropractor: Gradual reduction over time as pain is improved.Corrective Chiropractor: Based on scoliosis improvements, pain reduction, and improved posture.|
|Lower Back Pain||3 times per week||General Chiropractor: Decreased frequency as pain and function improve.Corrective Chiropractor: Following evidence-based guidelines, reduce frequency when pain is reduced, and safe ranges of curvature & posture are achieved.|
|Neck Pain||3 times per week||General Chiropractor: Decreased frequency as pain and function improve. Corrective Chiropractor: Following evidence-based guidelines, reduce frequency when pain is reduced, and safe ranges of curvature & forward head posture are minimized.|
|Shoulder Pain||2-3 times per week||Transition to maintenance or as needed as pain subsides.|
|Hip Pain||2-3 times per week||Decreased frequency with symptom improvement.|
|Osteoarthritis||3 times per week||General Chiropractor: Transition to care or as needed for pain control.Corrective Chiropractor: Reduce frequency until underlying alignment is within safe range or at maximum medical benefit.|
|Fibromyalgia||3 times per week||General Chiropractor: Ongoing maintenance with periodic adjustments.Corrective Chiropractor: Follow evidence-based guidelines for improvements – 10 weeks and re-evaluate.|
|Chronic Migraines||3 times per week||General Chiropractor Tailored to individual responses and triggers.Corrective Chiropractor: Reduced when safe ranges of neck curvature are achieved & forward head posture is minimized.|
|Chronic Muscle Tension||2-3 times per week||General Chiropractor: Reduced frequency as muscle tension decreases. Corrective Chiropractor:Dependent on spinal alignment and postural imbalances causing the issue.|
|Carpal Tunnel Syndrome||2-3 times per week||Transition to maintenance or as needed for symptom control.|
|Plantar Fasciitis||2-3 times per week||Frequency may decrease as pain and function improve but may require maintenance care for prevention.|
|Chronic Sciatica||3 times per week, then maintenance care if necessary||General Chiropractor: Adjusted based on ongoing symptom management and prevention needsCorrective Chiropractor:Reduced when safe limits of lumbar and pelvic alignment and postural balance are achieved.|
Patients can expect a more protracted treatment experience in managing chronic conditions as they require addressing issues with the body over mere pain relief. However, while patients can expect more frequent visits to the chiropractor for chronic conditions, doing so can fix the underlying causes and prevent the need for visits in the future.
Moreover, addressing mechanical issues such as posture and spinal alignment improves overall health and well-being, which can also prevent acute conditions from occurring. For patients who do require postural correction or spinal realignment, 3 visits per week will be the standard.
This is because when using some specific treatments such as traction and postural exercises, there is a 24-48 hour window that, upon expiring, causes the body to begin returning to its old position. So, chiropractors will have patients visit 3 times per week to ensure consistency and the optimal strength and flexibility improvements needed to correct posture spinal misalignment long term.
Ongoing and Preventative Chiropractic Wellness
It’s essential to understand that the numbers provided are based on general guidelines and will vary from person to person based on their specific needs, treatment plans, and their response to treatment. Furthermore, some conditions, such as fibromyalgia and carpal tunnel, will require ongoing maintenance as part of a health improvement plan.
Even patients who do not or no longer suffer from acute or chronic conditions can benefit from ongoing wellness plans, as chiropractic care is a proactive healthcare option that approaches whole-body health improvement. This is due mainly to the fact that the spine has a natural curvature—unique to every individual—that it needs to maintain in order to function properly. This preventative approach to wellness can help identify postural irregularities and spinal misalignment well before they manifest into acute or chronic conditions.
For instance, a spinal misalignment can alter an individual’s gait or weight distribution to the lower extremities. Over time, this can manifest as plantar fasciitis as the muscle in the foot experiences excess weight and stress.
Ultimately, the best way to ensure the least visits is to address your problems at the root, especially if you have chronic conditions. This means partnering with a chiropractor equipped to identify your unique needs, especially if they stem from postural issues or spinal misalignment.
PostureWorks Provides Customized Treatment Plans to Eliminate and Prevent Pain
Here at PostureWorks, we know how frustrating pain can be. Whether it’s acute or chronic, it can prevent you from engaging in daily activities and doing the things you love. That’s why we’re dedicated to providing the best chiropractic treatments in Lakewood, CO, and San Francisco, CA.
We strive to get our patients out of pain as fast as possible and limit chiropractor visit frequency. However, we don’t cut corners. We utilize cutting-edge treatment strategies like Chiropractic BioPhysics® (CBP) as the bedrock for our treatment plans.
CBP allows us to comprehensively understand your health and the cause of your pain. With a complete examination of your medical history and an in-depth postural analysis, we craft customized treatment plans to address your specific needs and the actual cause of your pain.
Contact us today for more information on chiropractor visit frequency or to schedule your appointment with PostureWorks in Lakewood or San Francisco.
Chiropractic BioPhysics®, or CBP, is a deeply researched and results-oriented corrective care technique. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health and optimal function. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is conservative, painless, and non-invasive as with all chiropractic care.