There is not one simple, one-size-fits-all answer to a question about how frequently a person should have a chiropractic adjustment. Each person’s individual needs and overall health must be taken into account. That said, a reasonable short answer to this question is “whenever you have developed a spinal misalignment.” However, knowing when this has occurred (as a subluxation can be completely painless) can be difficult.
For this reason, the best policy is to visit your chiropractor on a regular basis, much as you would visit a dentist to have your teeth cleaned from time to time so as to avoid cavities. But the frequency of adjustments is primarily based on your health and wellness goals, the severity of any specific issues and how quickly your body responds to treatment.
If you are a person who follows a healthy diet, gets adequate amounts of exercise and has a relatively stress-free life, then some chiropractors suggest a visit between once a month and semi-annually. This will allow your chiropractor to treat any emerging subluxations and get rid of them before they become a problem. If you wait until you have pain, it will likely take more chiropractic adjustments to heal the problem than if you had gone in for a periodic adjustment.
Dr. Greg Haitz from Rimrock Chiropractic in Grand Junction, CO, says “I can say from 10 years of experience in this profession that my regular once or twice a month patients rarely have much going on and seem to always be much healthier over all. They get sick less often [and] don’t catch every bug that goes around. They have better spinal range of motion and they tend to not have accelerated spinal degeneration on their x-rays. What we do consistently makes the biggest impact in our health. [It] doesn’t matter if it’s brushing our teeth, daily exercise and stretching, eating well 85+% of the time or monthly chiropractic adjustments. Consistency is the key.”
Certain circumstances, such as an injury or some type of trauma, may call for frequent adjustments at the beginning, gradually tapering off as you heal. For minor to moderate subluxations, a single treatment may be sufficient to relieve pain. However, the long-term success of the treatment also depends on how your body reacts to the adjustments. Some people’s muscles, joints and ligaments are in excellent condition and once a misalignment has been corrected, they can go for months until needing another. Others, particularly in cases where there is a lot of stress on the body through repetitive motion, bad posture, bad muscle tone, etc., have to train their body to “hold” the alignment through periodic readjustments.
A consultation with your chiropractor can tell you the frequency of chiropractic adjustments that will provide you with the most benefit and will work with you to develop a treatment program that includes adjustments, lifestyle advice and exercises you can do at home to speed the healing process. Once healing has occurred, it may also benefit you to visit your chiropractor from time to time for a preventative adjustment to help you continue to remain pain-free.