PHASES OF CARE
This is the initial phase of treatment when a patient is most acute. This phase can last anywhere from 2-6 weeks. The goal of this phase is to help patients get out of pain and achieve a renewed sense of comfort. While getting out of pain is important, this initial phase lays the groundwork for eventually correcting the underlying condition. Improvement during this phase depends greatly on whether the condition is uncomplicated or complicated. Complicating factors include severity of pain, duration of pain, history of previous episodes, and presence of re-injury. Typically in the relief phase a patient needs to be seen in the office more frequently.
In the second phase the emphasis turns to stabilizing and rehabilitating the affected area. This phase may last anywhere from 2-4 months depending on the severity of the case; however, it is not always necessary to be seen as often. This might be the most important phase of care because, even though there is typically no discomfort, relapse and injury is still highly likely. At this stage, in addition to adjustments, it becomes important to emphasize balance and strengthening exercises. Often patients are given “homework assignments” in the form of home care exercises that help augment the work we do together. These exercises help to decrease time spent in the corrective care phase.
Supportive care is the final phase of care that focuses on maintaining the corrected spinal alignment. Some patients experience gradual deterioration after their treatment because of adverse work environments or other daily stressors that gradually reverse proper spinal alignment. In this phase patients are seen much less frequently but consistent, scheduled appointments ensure proper maintanence.