This week, our Chiropractor Jess explains what maintenance care is and discusses the benefits.
For the majority of people, the first visit to a chiropractor is to help them relieve pain. If chiropractic care is appropriate, we would expect to see you more frequently while you have active treatment to help manage the pain and symptoms. Once things have settled, we may then discuss the option of maintenance care.
What is maintenance care?
It is common for chiropractors to recommend maintenance care to support those who are no longer in an acute state of pain; the purpose being to prevent recurring episodes and/or maintain a desired level of function. These treatments include manual therapy, muscle/soft tissue release, individualised exercise programmes and lifestyle advise delivered in regularly spaced visits over longer periods of time. Currently, the most promising intervention for prevention is exercise and education; however, for some people a more structured framework of on-going support and pain management may be required.
The frequency of maintenance care appointments varies based on how someone responds to treatment, their occupation or the level of function we are trying to maintain. This can change throughout the year with some people needing more visits in the winter when they are less active or vice versa if their work is seasonal dependant for example. Therefore, some people may come in monthly whilst others visit every 3 months; it’s all about finding the length of time between sessions that keeps you feeling optimal.
It should be mentioned that maintenance care is not for everyone, and that’s okay! Your chiropractor will always discuss if they think you would benefit from maintenance care based on your previous history of pain and the effectiveness of the active treatment stage.
Is it worth it?
A study in 2018 of 328 people with low back pain compared the difference between those that had regular maintenance care and those that visited the chiropractor as and when they needed it. Over the course of a year, they found that those which had maintenance care had approximately 13 fewer days of bothersome low back pain.
In 2021, a study looked into people’s opinion of maintenance care and found that regular visits were viewed as positive, encouraging and motivating. Additionally, participants in the study reported that the approach provided reassurance; they felt it was comforting to know that care was only a phone call or booking away.
It is always your choice to commence this style of treatment. Just because you don’t book regularly, doesn’t mean we won’t see you in the future if the pain returns (though we hope it doesn’t!)
Maintenance care is not a cure that prevents new episodes, but rather a management strategy that reduces bothersome pain. It is only one aspect of looking after your health but prevention goes a long way to maintaining your well-being.
Want to speak to one of our chiropractors about maintenance care? Call us on 01452 883232 or contact us today!