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Get the Most Out of Your Chiropractic Care

“Don’t ruin my work!”

These were the words one of my Chiropractic mentors, expressed to each of his patients as they left his adjusting table.

When I think of this it always makes me laugh. I could never say this because it just sounds a little too abrupt and I don’t want to offend anyone. But I understand his sentiment.

Everyone can benefit from regular chiropractic care. Adjustments will always help your body function in a more optimal way. That does not mean that you should take a passive role with respect to your care, though. Even if you exercise every day, but, you have a poor diet, don’t get enough sleep, drink too much alcohol, then you are unlikely to be healthy. The same can be said of your Chiropractic Care and I want you to get the best results possible.

In this post I will go over some great strategies to get the most out of your Chiropractic Care.

 

In order to understand how to heal and recover from injuries we need to understand how they occur in the first place. In most cases, when someone comes into the office with a physical complaint such as back pain, knee pain etc, there wasn’t a specific event that caused the issue. The pain may have appeared all of a sudden but only as a result of something very typical. It may start on one of your runs, lifting a weight or “sleeping wrong”.

 

It’s more often a case of the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back”. Injuries are caused by stress on the body that overwhelms its ability to adapt. These stresses build over time and eventually cause breakdown. Our nervous system actually becomes locked in a stressed (sympathetic) state. Even when you are at rest and seemingly relaxed your physiology can be  in a state of fight or flight. Your body cannot heal and regulate itself properly when it is in this state. Part of the intent of your chiropractic care is to unwind this stress and tension that has become locked into your nervous system. When your nervous system is functioning optimally you can adapt to stress more effectively and the body can begin to heal.

 

Try your best to implement the following 6 habits with respect to your care.

 

 

  • Minimize negative stress

 

To be clear, stress is not always bad. Every time I go out for a run I’m putting my body under stress. But my body adapts to this stress and comes back stronger. It’s only when the stress is greater than your body’s ability to adapt to it does it create a problem. If I run 20k every day then I will be injured, guaranteed. 

There are three types of stress to consider: Physical, Emotional and Chemical.

Here are some examples of some of the stressors that you may be able to modify:

Physical – not getting enough sleep, sustained poor postures (standing, sitting, driving,sleeping), overtraining, excess weight

Emotional - we all have stress in our lives from work, relationships, pandemics etc. These often can’t be avoided but we can utilize different tools to minimize the impact.

Chemical – processed foods, sugar, alcohol, medications, toxins from household cleaners, detergents, municipal water, pesticides/preservatives in our food.

 

 

  • Prepare your body for the adjustment

 

If you are in a very stressed state when you lay down for your adjustment then it will be more difficult for your body to get the full benefit.

Part of the intent of the adjustment is to bring your body into a state of ease. The further you are from this at the start, the harder it will be to achieve that state.

Try some breathing exercises, stretching, or foam rolling.

Make sure you give yourself enough time to get to your appointment so that you are not feeling rushed.

 

 

  • Let your breath flow through you during the adjustment.

 

You have probably noticed that I leave some time in between the adjustments. I am letting your nervous system process the new information and adapt. Your breathing pattern will often change as your nervous system shifts to a more relaxed (parasympathetic) state. You will have deeper diaphragmatic breaths versus shallow chest breathing. Let these deeper breaths flow through you. Try not to think about stressful things but just notice what is happening in your body. Don’t talk during this time.

At the end of the adjustment you should feel very relaxed, like you are sinking into the table and you don’t want to get up. 

 

 

  • Don’t put your body into a state of overwhelming stress before you’ve had a chance to process the adjustment.

 

Much of the healing and “rewiring” of the nervous system happens during sleep. If you put your system under too much “load” your body will go back into its protective tense state. Its old pattern. 

Therefore, try to get a restful sleep after your adjustment before putting too much strain on the body eg. intense workout, excessive sitting, alcohol consumption

 

 

  • Move your body in healthy ways after the adjustment

 

The adjustments will improve your nervous system function but you need to move your body to generate the muscular forces to create structural change (joint function, posture etc).

Walking, easy running, easy cycling, gentle yoga are all good options.

 

 

  • Don’t wait too long in between your appointments

 

The adjustments build upon one another. It’s much like going to the gym. You can’t exercise once and expect to get fit. If you wait too long between your workouts then you’ll just be starting from scratch each time. Once you get fit, it doesn’t take as much work to keep that level of fitness.

Your chiropractic care is the same. The more often you get adjusted and the longer you are under care the more resilience your body will have. Your body will be able to adapt to stresses that life throws at you. 

 

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