In previous blogs we’ve touched on one of the most common criticisms of chiropractic care, which is that patients are somehow hooked into coming back again and again. It’s like the old Lay’s Potato Chip slogan: “Bet you can’t eat just one!” The chiropractic equivalent might be: “Bet you can’t be treated just once!”
Because some patients return regularly to their chiropractors, it has somehow been made to seem ominous as if an unhealthy addiction. With the potato chip eating, just one might be better for you than chomping down another and then another until the bag is empty. But potato chips are unhealthy as some point, while regular chiropractic care is quite the opposite if it makes you feel better. Feeling better is what health care is all about, especially if it is preventive in maintaining optimal care and keeping pain and illness at bay.
“Once again, for the vast majority of people, it’s a therapy that has a beginning and an end,” says Dr. Brad Butler, Chief of Staff at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy. “The misconception comes from people who choose to go for chiropractic treatment on a periodic basis to maintain how they feel.”
This is essentially maintenance care, and should be an optional part of chiropractic practices and not a requirement or a compulsory part of the regimen. In medicine, patients are advised to undergo periodic checkups on a six-month or yearly rotation. If they are diagnosed with a developing disease or ailment, those checkups may be more frequent to allay a worsening condition.
“Maintenance care is a healthy lifestyle choice,” Dr. Butler points out. “It’s not part of chiropractic care; it’s optional. However, what we find is that people who participate in maintenance care stay better longer and rarely have exacerbations. Isn’t that what we all want?”
As we previously noted in a blog on “misconceptions” about chiropractors: People with chronic issues, whether back pain, a pinched nerve, tendonitis, sciatica or fibromyalgia, do tend to return regularly because of the relief it delivers. However, there are many patients who are fully recovered after seeing a chiropractor one, two or three times.
Some addictions do make you feel better, but only temporarily. Continuing an unhealthy addiction —even potato chips to some extent—will ultimately endanger one’s health. It is true that the traditional definition of addiction requires dependence on the part of the user. If that dependence is feeling better, at the same time making you healthier, that’s a good thing. It is still up to our patients, not the chiropractor, and they come back as needed.
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