If you’ve been dealing with chronic neck or back pain, or are recovering from surgery, your doctor might recommend chiropractic care. Here are 4 ways for you to get the most out of your treatment.

1. Set Small Goals

Rather than focusing on a complete recovery, make some short-term goals with your chiropractor, such as to reduce the swelling and stiffness, or improve range of motion.

No one can perfectly predict how the body will respond to any kind of therapy, however, it helps to have goals that measure whether the treatment is working or if it should be modified or discontinued. Reaching your goals will also motivate you to continue with the treatment and help you remember to do any recommended stretches and exercises at home.

2. Follow your Therapist’s Advice and Directions

It is important to work with your chiropractor who can teach you exercises and stretches that will strengthen the affected area and decrease the risk of further injury or pain. Once you learn these proper techniques, it is equally important to exercise and stretch between therapy sessions.

A person receives chiropractic care for issues relating to their spine.

3. Don’t Give Up

Chiropractic care may not yield immediate results. The area may actually feel stiff, sore or swollen after the first session, but you must not get discouraged, and rather try to focus on your first therapy goal. However, if you find that an exercise or stretch greatly increases your pain level, let your physical therapist know immediately.

When you start to feel better, it is ill advised to stop treatment, miss sessions or stop stretching and exercising. Stopping care too soon will mean you will not reach your goals and the pain and discomfort is most likely to return. It is important to continue the prescribed therapy program all the way through to completion.

4. You will Need to Make Lifestyle Changes

A comprehensive chiropractic care program also includes educating the patient about how daily choices can affect the afflicted area. Living a healthy lifestyle by staying active, eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet, and getting quality sleep every day is recommended. Being aware of and maintaining good posture throughout the day, and taking regular breaks from sitting to stretch is important. Once the program has been completed, it is wise to continue to use the home exercises and stretches to prevent future pain or injury.

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