Taking Care of Your Adjustment
I’ve just had a great adjustment- now what?
When you are first adjusted, your body is in a new relationship with itself, and with gravity. All the time the problem has been building up, your body was in an unhealthy pattern. Some ligaments have shortened or lengthened inappropriately, and some muscles are in habitual spasm. It takes time and healing to create a new pattern that will be healthier for the rest of your life. Following these instructions will help your body heal properly and not fall back into the old painful pattern we’re trying to change.
- Walk before you sit or drive. This will allow your muscles to get used to working together properly, allow the adjustment to settle in, and rhythmically move all of the joints we’ve corrected so they can get nourished.
- Don’t stretch right away, or ‘scrunch’. Your body is going to feel different. It should feel different- we’ve made some changes. If you stretch around and make your body feel ‘normal’, you will have put it back into the same old unhealthy pattern you came in with. If things feel odd, just let it be, hang in with it. Your body will soon get used to the new regime, and the oddness will fade.
- Stand evenly on both feet. We often develop the habit of standing on one leg in order to relieve pressure on painful areas. Continuing to do so will reinforce the old pattern. Stand with your knees ‘soft’ (slightly bent) and use your abdominal muscles to tuck your pelvis.
- Ice 20 minutes on, one hour off for the first 24 hours. We have been working on joints that were already sore and inflamed. Moving them inevitably brings the inflammation up a little bit. Ice reduces the inflammation, reducing soreness and preventing the joints from swelling. There is no need to stay up all night icing, but do it before bed and upon waking, then as often as possible through the first 24 hours. If soreness persists after that time, continue the same pattern of icing until your next visit.
Follow Dr. Benson’s Recommendations
My recommendations are based on extensive professional education and decades of experience with chiropractic care. I know what’s required to get you truly well. I’ll evaluate you at each visit, and recommend only the care I feel is needed.
Chiropractic is a progressive process, and one or two adjustments, except in rare circumstances, are not going to keep you well for the long term. If you fail to keep a scheduled appointment, especially early in your course of care, you may be throwing away the gains you’ve already made.
If you decide, based on how you’re feeling at a given time, to give up your care, you may be setting yourself up for worse problems a week, a month, or a year down the road, and complete recovery from another episode may be much more difficult or impossible.
The long view
When the pain and disability that brought you into the office is just a fading memory, it may be tempting to decide that you’re well now and need no further care. If you have a stress-free life, never do anything physically awkward, never overwork, have an ideal sitting and working environment wherever you spend time, eat properly, sleep properly supported and comfortably, drink plenty of water, exercise properly, never age, and never work at a computer, you may potentially be correct.
Otherwise, there are stresses acting on your body that are likely to turn into pain, degeneration, and disability. These build up slowly, over time, and as long as your body is able to compensate, they stay beneath your notice. When one more stress exceeds your body’s ability to handle it, the system fails, and usually in the areas where you’ve previously had problems- they’re the ‘weak links’. “Suddenly” (but not really suddenly) you’re back in trouble and have to recover yet again. Every time you go through the cycle it leaves a mark, not to mention the fact that you’re now older and slower to recover.
The smarter approach is to find the correct tune-up interval, and keep your body maintained. After all, you don’t wait until the black smoke is coming out of your car’s tailpipe before getting the oil changed (I hope)!
I have very sophisticated ways of finding problems while they’re still minor and below your awareness, and correcting them before they become big issues. Of course I can’t guarantee that nothing will ever go wrong between visits, but I have many patients who have been happily pain and disability free for years, even decades on such a program.