Traditionally, chiropractic care is most commonly rendered for a finite amount of time, usually until symptoms that initially drove the patient to our office resolve. However, some patients find that periodic chiropractic treatments make them feel better and they have an improved sense of well-being.
Three basic methods of chiropractic care exist: 1) Acute care, 2) Supportive care, and 3) Maintenance care.
Acute care is considered “medically necessary” as the patient is typically in a lot of pain and unable to self-manage it. Although most of our patients choose short-term pain relief care, other types of care include functional improvement and prevention of future episodes. By the conclusion of the first month, the patient can frequently get along independently and is released. Some may need additional care, perhaps once a week to every two weeks for a few visits (depending on the case). Nutritional counseling such as an anti-inflammatory diet is often included and ergonomic/work related problems addressed which may include training for proper bending, lifting, pulling, and pushing methods. At discharge, these patients are typically placed on an “as needed” plan where they do not reschedule, but rather, just come in when they cannot properly manage their condition with what they’ve learned.
Supportive care is treatment rendered periodically, usually at similar time intervals (such as every 2, 3, 4, 6, etc. weeks). Prior experience proved that waiting longer results in an acute exacerbation. This type of care is not for most patients; it’s primarily used for chronic, permanent conditions.
Maintenance care is elective and rendered as a preventative measure, “…to keep a healthy individual healthy.” Typically, insurance policy language excludes payment for supportive and maintenance care.