Acute Care vs. Wellness Care

As a self-proclaimed “wellness” chiropractic clinic, we are often asked what wellness care really is. This is because the general idea of chiropractic care is based on the pain or injury model. A person is injured – say an auto accident or sports injury – so he or she sees a chiropractor to get “fixed.” As the problem resolves, the patient goes back to life as usual, likely not returning for further care. This is good, as every person who has been in an auto accident or sustained an injury should seek chiropractic care. It works very well for assisting in the proper healing of the body. However, this limited care disregards many of the health benefits of a routinely well-adjusted spine.

 

So, let’s look a little deeper into the difference between acute care and wellness care. Acute care is as previously mentioned – short-term care, maybe a few weeks or months, to resolve a specific injury. Symptoms might include neck pain, low back pain, sciatic pain, etc. These symptoms can result from any number of sources, and are frequently due to underlying spinal movement/dysfunction issues. Along with these symptoms, inflammation (swelling), muscle tension or spasms, and bruising may occur. In this phase, treatment is focused on symptom relief, as well as correcting the contributing spinal causes. Proper healing can occur with the appropriate chiropractic care, and the body will return to a near-normal state. If not treated, damage can worsen, scar tissue can build, and function can ultimately be lost.

 

Wellness care, on the other hand, is not focused on restoring injured tissue to a normal state. In fact, it is highly focused on the proper function of a healthy body. In many cases, the patient is experiencing almost no symptoms, such as pain. Wellness care focuses on the movement and function of the spinal joints in order to improve the overall health of the body. Much of the information in the body travels though the spine – from brain to body and body back to brain – so keeping the spine functioning well is of high importance for optimal wellbeing. The goal is not to restore damaged tissue, it is to prevent future problems from occurring. This shift in mentality distinguishes our philosophy of prevention, rather than treatment. Combined with a healthy lifestyle, diet, and exercise, we often observe that patients who make it a priority to get adjusted frequently are able to experience a much higher quality of life.

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