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Do I Have To Keep Going Back To The Chiropractor?

One of the complaints you will often hear about chiropractors sounds like this, “Once you go, you always have to go.” Ironically, it’s more common to hear that complaint from someone who has never gone to a chiropractor before instead of someone who has.


If you talk to someone who goes to or has gone to a chiropractor, they will tell you the statement “Once you go, you always have to go” is simply untrue.


The chiropractor doesn’t show up at your house looking for you if you miss an appointment. Your spine doesn’t have a self-destruct sequence that gets triggered if you discontinue chiropractic care. That’s silly.


Even if you ask a chiropractor, they will tell you the same thing. NO…you don’t always have to go to the chiropractor if you don’t want to. Chiropractors can tell you from their personal experience, patients quit care all the time. Some quit because they feel better. Some quit because they don’t feel better. Some quit because they are quitters.


The bottom line is you don’t have to go to the chiropractor if you don’t want to, and no one is going to make you. But let’s not stop there. Let’s figure out where this, “Once you go, you always have to go” complaint comes from.


Personally, I believe it’s just a big misunderstanding. The general public isn’t familiar with the different ways that people can use chiropractic care. If someone assumes people only need a chiropractor when they are doubled over in pain, they may also assume anyone who goes to a chiropractor who is not doubled over in pain is being scammed or bullied into going.


Both of those assumptions are incorrect, but people don’t know what they don’t know. That’s our fault as chiropractors. Historically, we have done a bad job of explaining the different ways to use chiropractic care in a way that makes sense to people.


As a result, some people simply refuse to go to a chiropractor, and they miss out on the benefits of chiropractic care. There are many other people out there who go to a chiropractor but they don’t benefit from care as much as they could.


So I’m going to do my best to help remedy those problems. My goals are to encourage those of you who have never tried chiropractic to give chiropractic a try and to help those of you who are already chiropractic patients to get the most out of your chiropractic care. Here we go.


There are three basic ways that people can use chiropractic care: short-term, long-term, and wellness. These categories aren’t unique to chiropractic. The same three categories exist in the world of exercise.


In fact, the ways people use exercise and the ways people use chiropractic are so similar, I’m going to use exercise as an example to help you better understand chiropractic care.


Short-term care:

The most common way that people use exercise is short-term exercise. Swimsuit season sneak up on you? New Year’s resolution? Single again? Training for a marathon? Got your wedding coming up? Better go to the gym.


In the same way, the most common way that people use a chiropractor is for short-term care. Hurt your back? Got into a car accident? Headache? Neck and shoulders are tight? Go to the chiropractor. It makes perfect sense. Short-term chiropractic care and short-term exercise are designed to meet a specific, short-term need. They aren’t supposed to be long-term fixes to chronic problems. They aren’t meant to be a lifestyle change.


If someone goes to a chiropractor with a chronic issue and is hoping their chiropractor can fix it in 1 or 2 visits is sort of like being 75 lb. overweight and hoping to lose it all after a week of going to the gym. The best trainers in the world can’t get that done, and neither can the best chiropractors. It’s not realistic.


There is nothing wrong with using chiropractors for short-term care what you want/need. Just make sure your goals line up with your actions. If you try to fix a long-term problem with a short-term solution, you are just going to be frustrated.


Long-term care:

A lot of people who start exercising for short-term benefits will stick with it long-term once they have experienced the upside. Exercise becomes a lifestyle, not just something they do for a month or two.


Maybe they like how they feel. Maybe they like how they look. Maybe they are sleeping better. Maybe they can get off some of their medicine. Regardless of the reason, there are plenty of benefits to long-term exercise, and that’s why so people choose to make it a regular part of their life.


Believe it or not, the same is true about chiropractic. A lot of people who start short-term chiropractic care will end up using chiropractic on a long-term basis.


Maybe it’s because of how good they feel. Maybe their problem is more serious than they originally thought and it requires more care. Maybe their work or hobbies put a lot of wear and tear on their body. The possibilities are endless.


It’s highly unlikely if you ever meet someone who is a long-term chiropractic patient, that someone is forcing them to do it. More likely they have experienced the benefits of chiropractic care and they are choosing to make chiropractic an ongoing part of their health care. 


Wellness care:

Have you ever met a health nut? Are you a health nut? You know who I’m talking about. It’s the type of person who eats super healthy and exercises just for the sake of eating super clean and exercising.


They aren’t doing it because of health problems. They aren’t fat. They aren’t in pain. They aren’t training for an upcoming event. They just exercise and eat healthy because they want to be healthy and be at their best.


Well, chiropractic has its share of health nuts, too. Maybe your chiropractor is a chiropractic health nut. They are the type of person who isn’t in pain. They aren’t concerned about anything in particular.


They want to stay mobile and active for as long as possible, and they want to be at their best. So they make ongoing chiropractic care a part of their wellness lifestyle.


Just like there is a place for wellness exercise, there is a place for wellness chiropractic. Is it for everyone? No…of course not. Is it for some people? Yes…absolutely. 


Wellness chiropractic patients are often big advocates of chiropractic in the same way that wellness exercisers will rave about the benefits of exercise. No, most people aren’t going to do either one, because most people are not health nuts, but it is hard to argue with the results.


Final thoughts:

When you look at chiropractic care and exercise together, the picture becomes much clearer.

Chiropractic care can and should be used in a variety of ways. It just depends on the individual. It’s a mistake to think that chiropractic is only for people who are doubled over in pain. It’s also a mistake to think that chiropractic is only for people who eat kale and want to be at their very best.


Since you have a spine, you should probably take good care of it. This means you should probably have a chiropractor. Does that mean you have to go to the chiropractor once per week for the rest of your life? No…of course not.


You get to decide how you use chiropractic care. You get to decide how it best fits into your goals and life. Your chiropractor will be there to help support you along the way.

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