The beginnings of wellness care were not born out of Chiropractic but one embraced by Chiropractic. In fact the wellness paradigm dates back to ancient times where the village doctor in China was removed from their post if someone in the town became ill, as their job was to keep the town healthy not treat the ill.
To get patients well and to maintain that healthy state, Chiropractors stress the importance of maintaining a healthy body and nervous system through a healthy lifestyle. That lifestyle includes;
- Regular exercise (at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a week – as recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine)
- Eating a well balanced diet (low in saturated fat, sugar and red meat, high in dietary fibre, seafood, nuts, legumes, green leafy vegetables and fruit)
- Drinking in moderation (7-14 standard drinks per week)
- Not smoking
- Avoiding unnecessary medication
- Having your spine routinely adjusted to assist in the health of your musculoskeletal system.
Not a believer yet? The research behind wellness.
Thus far in 2011, there have been two papers released that are now beginning to solidify what we as Chiropractors have known for years, that maintenance care is of benefit. One paper looked at 894 individuals who were being treated by either a physical therapist (physio), chiropractor or physician (medical doctor) for work related lower back pain and found that those people who underwent maintenance care with a chiropractor had lower risk of recurrent disability than those who were treated by a physical therapist or physician. Put another way, those people treated by physical therapists and physicians in a health maintenance care plan had a higher disability recurrence rate than those treated by a chiropractor.
A second smaller paper has tried to identify if there were any benefits to maintenance care. 60 subjects were broken down into 3 groups, one group received 12 sham (fake) chiropractic treatments over 1 month, the second group received 12 real chiropractic treatments over 1 month and the third group received 12 real chiropractic treatments over 1 month and then one real chiropractic treatment every 2 weeks for 9 months.
The results were as follows,
Groups 2 and 3 showed significant improvements in pain and disability scores over group 1.
Group 2 after 9 months returned to pre treatment levels of pain and disability.
Group 3 continued to see improvements in pain and disability after 9 months in excess of those scores achieved in the first month.
Although maintenance health care isn’t a highly studied area, hopefully with time more studies will be undertaken and more evidence will surface to reinforce our professional position on maintenance care.
Cifuentest M., et.al “Health Maintenance Care in Work Related Low Back Pain and it’s Associated with Disability Recurrence”, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, April 2011, Vol 53, pg 397-404
Senna MK, and Machaly SA, “Does maintained Spinal manipulation therapy for chronic non-specific lower back pain result in better long term outcome?”, Spine Journal, February 2011 (Epub)