Are you anticipating your first visit to a chiropractic office? You likely have many questions about what to expect when you show up for a chiropractic adjustment for the first time. Keep in mind that this is meant to be a relaxing, healing experience! Yes, your chiropractor will be manipulating your spine using movements and motions that may feel unfamiliar. However, every step of the process will be explained to you as you go to ensure that you feel comfortable and empowered as a patient!
One of the big questions that people have is how long a chiropractic adjustment lasts. It’s impossible to say for certain how long any one session or treatment plan will last. Factors like your pain level and medical history will help to determine the duration of an adjustment session. However, it is helpful to have an idea of what to expect in terms of planning out your visits. Let’s break down what the typical time span is for a chiropractic adjustment.
What Happens During a Chiropractic Adjustment?
A chiropractor uses hands or instruments to apply a controlled force to specific areas during a chiropractic adjustment. The goal is to use spinal manipulation to improve function throughout the body. An adjustment can be beneficial for addressing pain and injuries. Adjustments are commonly used to address the following:
- Neck pain
- Lower-back pain
- General aches and pains
- Reduced mobility
Routine adjustments can also be assets for wellness even if you aren’t suffering from an acute injury or pain source. During an adjustment, a chiropractor typically places your body in specific positions that are designed to address specific pain sources. You may experience little “pops” or “cracks” as your chiropractor applies strategic, controlled pressure to your joints during an adjustment.
How Long Is Each Visit?
A chiropractic visit typically lasts for up to 30 minutes. An introductory visit typically lasts longer than a “routine” visit. You can expect your chiropractor to ask you questions regarding your objectives and health history during your initial visit. You may find that you’re able to get in and out of the office very quickly once you’ve started a treatment regimen that targets the specific area of your body that requires correction. In fact, many patients find that their visits can be completed during lunch breaks with ease!
How Long Before Relief Can Be Felt?
The answer varies by patient. That’s because we all heal at different rates. Additionally, the severity of an injury or scar tissue can impact healing times. However, the general expectation is that you will feel better after the first few sessions. Some people feel noticeable differences after the first session.
There’s no need to feel discouraged if a first session isn’t the magic “fix” that you were hoping it could be. The adjustment process is not designed to be a quick fix. It is a process that is designed to create long-term healing over several sessions. Some patients feel a “wow” moment where everything seems to come into alignment. Others see progressive results over time.
How Long Does Chiropractic Treatment Last?
A treatment plan must be customized and personalized to be effective. However, there are some general rules for producing good outcomes. A plan for addressing a specific injury or pain source typically takes two to four weeks. A patient will visit roughly three times per week during a treatment span. You may be instructed to supplement your visits using home-based techniques or ergonomic tools. Patients are often instructed to use elastic bands or foam rollers to stretch at home. Additionally, you may be given some guidance regarding dietary or lifestyle recommendations that could help to address inflammation as part of a comprehensive plan for treating pain.
There are several factors that will determine how long your treatment period lasts. This includes your activity and mobility levels. Additionally, the severity of your pain will play a role in mapping out your treatment plan. Lastly, the way your body responds to treatment will help to determine how long a treatment cycle needs to last. Age can also play a role in how quickly results materialize following chiropractic adjustments.
A person seeking adjustment for prevention or wellness purposes can typically expect a treatment plan that extends for about nine to 10 weeks. The standard schedule is one appointment a week for a window lasting nine to 10 weeks. However, this is something that you can personalize with your chiropractor.
How Quickly Can Relief Be Felt After Starting Chiropractic Care?
This is another area where the results are going to vary by patient. A good way to get an idea of where you might fall in terms of treatment length is to ask yourself how long you’ve been in pain. A person who has been living with pain for several years may require a longer treatment period to see results. After all, you didn’t get to this pain level overnight. Conversely, a person who is seeking a chiropractic adjustment for a relatively fresh injury or presentation of pain may require a shorter treatment span. We find that things like rest, hydration and appropriate levels of exercise on the part of the patient can often improve outcomes.
The Big Picture
It’s important to consider objectives when mapping out a treatment plan. What you want to get out of chiropractic care will determine the amount of time you’ll need to dedicate to treatment. You may simply be focused on getting out of pain. As a result, you may only require a condensed therapy plan that lasts for a few weeks before you can achieve the results you desire. However, the goal of resolving acute pain isn’t the only factor that drives people to seek chiropractic care.
You may be interested in seeking chiropractic care because you want to address the underlying causes that contributed to your injury or pain. Unfortunately, there is no magic fix for pain. Chiropractic adjustments can often resolve the inflammation, misalignment or scar tissue causing pain in the moment. However, there is always the possibility that the pain may return if the underlying cause of the pain is not properly addressed.
One of the best times to begin or resume chiropractic care is when you are free of pain. Ongoing treatment helps to ensure that joints are functioning properly. This can make you less susceptible to future injuries.
The Bottom Line on What to Expect From a Chiropractic Adjustment
The two big factors that are going to impact the duration of your adjustment plan are the extent of your inquiry and your body’s response to treatment. Yes, each session can be “quick” once you get into the groove of things. However, the “process” of having a proper, thorough chiropractic adjustment completed is not fast! Chiropractic adjustments focus on healing you wholly and internally instead of simply putting a bandage on the pain. Don’t you deserve to put the time in?