If you have recently decided to seek out chiropractic treatment, you have made the first step to an all-around healthier body and state of mind. However, visiting your chiropractor is only the first step. In order to maintain back health and overall wellness, there are several steps you should take in the days, weeks, and months following your first chiropractic appointment.
In the Days Following Your Chiropractic Appointment
When you receive a chiropractic adjustment, you’ll want to take care and pay attention to a few crucial things afterwards. As a general rule, we recommend taking the following steps for the first few days after your first chiropractic appointment:
Take time off of other treatments
It is very common for people to schedule their first chiropractic treatment within days of other forms of treatment, such as a reiki session, or massage therapy. However, in order to assess the impact of the treatment on your nervous system, it is better not to mix healing treatments together, so that you and your chiropractor can evaluate improvement from your first adjustment alone.
Pay close attention to changes
It is normal for spinal adjustments to affect how you feel, your muscle sensations, your posture, your respiration, and your mental and emotional states. Pay more attention to your body in the hours and days following an adjustment. Do you feel as if your innate posture has changed? Maybe you are standing taller, or sitting differently in your car. Your body will be positioning you differently as it re-organizes itself, and it is common for a person to notice changes immediately following an adjustment.
Drink plenty of water
Drinking plenty of water is always a good idea, but it is more important than ever to stay hydrated after a chiropractic adjustment. Drinking water after your adjustment will help nourish the discs between the vertebrae, keeping your spine supple and flexible. As a good rule of thumb, you should drink half your bodyweight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 220 pounds, drink 110 ounces of water every day.
In the Weeks After Seeing a Chiropractor
At this point, you should have become adjusted to the changes your chiropractic treatment has made to your body. In order to sustain them, it is recommended that you follow several steps:
Avoid sitting for long periods of time
Try to keep your spine in motion as much as possible, as this will help your body settle into the changes and keep your spine in proper alignment. If you have a desk job, try to stand up, stretch, or just walk around the office every 30 minutes to an hour.
Mind your posture
When you are sitting down, make sure that you are sitting with correct posture. To check yourself, always:
- Distribute your body weight evenly on both hips.
- Bend your knees at a right angle. Keep your knees even with or slightly higher than your hips.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor.
At work, adjust your chair height and work station so you can sit up close to your work. Rest your elbows and arms on your chair or desk, keeping your shoulders relaxed.
It is important to not overexert yourself while you are under treatment for an accident or injury, as this could lead to increased pain. However, light exercise that strengthens your back and core muscles will help the body stay balanced after an adjustment. Yoga, long walks, and daily stretching are all great options.
Continue to visit the chiropractor
While the length of time between chiropractic appointments will be different for each individual based on their needs, it is recommended to not go longer than 3 weeks in between each adjustment.
In the Months Following Your Chiropractor Appointment
By now, you and your chiropractor should have an individualized plan in place, and you should be on a regular chiropractic schedule and exercise plan. Other suggested tips to follow include:
Improve your sleep
Do you sleep on your side or back? If not, you may want to begin. Now is a great time to invest in a pillow that conforms to the shape of your spine, as this will help your spine maintain the healthy curve your chiropractor has helped you achieve. Try to maintain a regular sleep schedule as well, if you have not done so already after your first chiropractic appointment. This means going to bed and waking up at similar times every day.
Follow your chiropractor’s recommendations
Each time you visit your chiropractor, he or she will most likely ask you about your progress, and give you their recommendations to improve your condition and overall health. To obtain optimal results from your adjustments, it is vital that you follow your chiropractor’s recommendations and adjust your lifestyle and habits accordingly.
It may sound like a lot of work to keep your body in optimal shape, but the benefits of chiropractic adjustments not only make good sense, they also make for a healthier, happier life.