Help patients maintain spinal health between chiropractic visits.
To a patient with back pain, a good chiropractic adjustment can feel like a miracle. When they leave the DC’s office, they are so elated about being free from pain and stiffness that they continue with their usual activities that may have been restricted before getting a chiropractic adjustment.
Unfortunately, this scenario often leads to a repeat visit from the patient some weeks (or months) later with the exact same complaint, requiring yet another adjustment, again and again. This vicious cycle can be very frustrating both for the patient and the DC, and can lead to the patient not returning. The question than arises: How can this cycle be broken so that patients can maintain their joints in proper alignment between visits to the chiropractor?
One of the biggest recommendations DCs can offer patients is to start exercising the spine as soon as possible after the adjustment. This recommendation may seem counter-intuitive. However, it is important to keep the spine moving so that it can hold the proper adjustment. This does not necessarily mean that a patient should just jump right back into their normal exercise routine prior to injury. The key concept here is to ease the spine back into use. There are many ways for patients to maintain their adjustments between visits.
Many yoga poses (or asanas) are excellent for helping the spine retain its adjustment for as long as possible. Even a few sun salutation poses a day can help loosen up the spine for the rest of the day. Patients who are recovering from a serious injury should consider a gentle yoga class, which may include props such as blocks or folded blankets, to help get safely into the correct asana.
Those patients who are looking for something more challenging from their yoga should consider a flow class, which goes through the various asanas at a moderately fast pace. Over time, patients can incorporate yoga into their regular exercise routine.
The old adage comparing water to life is very accurate. Water comprises anywhere from 55 percent to 75 percent of the human body. Consuming water aids in digestion and helps reduce edema (swelling) in various parts of the body, including the lower extremities (particularly the ankles and feet). In terms of spinal adjustments, adequate water intake ensures that the spinal connective tissue stays supple and flexible, allowing the body to hold the spinal adjustment for a longer period of time.
Most patients have probably heard that they should drink eight glasses of water a day. Although the truth is that it should be eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid per day, the same basic principle applies. Patients should make sure that water accounts for most of the daily fluid intake.
The food we eat is just as important as water intake to maintain a spinal adjustment. The muscles, ligaments, and tendons surrounding the spine must be strong, yet flexible, in order to keep the spine in in its proper position. In order to properly nourish these parts of the body, patients should stick to a diet high in iron from lean meats (particularly beef) or dark green leafy vegetables such as Popeye’s favorite, spinach.
Chiropractic care should go beyond just the spinal adjustment. DCs should be helping patients modify their lifestyles so as to strengthen the spine over time. In the long run, both patients and DCs will be happier with the results from spinal adjustments.