Why doesn’t my adjustment just “hold” after the first visit?
Consider the adjustment as corrective information to update faulty communication within your body related to your particular issue. During an office visit we always check the need for a corrective adjustment beforehand, and then post-check to see if the indicators show that the adjustment was received. By this feedback we infer that the information was appropriate and did its job. The body presents these indicators like “error messages” related to past traumas, shocks and stresses in a sequential manner, usually in reverse order in which they were experienced. It is possible that your current issue may be associated with more than one layer of trauma, and the resolution will occur later at a rate that the body can process. This applies mostly to body memory and stored trauma of chronic injuries where neurological error is the main problem. Generally, this type of condition responds very quickly and accounts for the bulk of chiropractic “miracles” after ideal communication is restored.
On the other hand, when there is frank injury to tissue, remember that the healing process will always take time. Chiropractic adjustments create an environment that is most conducive to healing the damage, with reduced interference. The chiropractic adjustment itself does not heal the injury – only the body can do that. But the body heals best with support from a neurological environment that provides accurate information.
This can be confusing when someone who is used to responding immediately to a chiropractic adjustment comes in with a ligament injury. Not only did the pain not go away on its own, but now it doesn’t seem to respond immediately to an adjustment. An analogy I sometimes use is the “thumb smashed by a hammer syndrome”, where the thumb “still hurts” even though the hammer was effectively removed from the thumb. Ligament injures are generally slower to heal than skin or muscle because of the more limited blood supply. Nevertheless, the chiropractic adjustment is supportive of the healing process. Homeopathic remedies, nutrition and enzyme therapy can also be used to reduce inflammation and encourage repair while the innate wisdom of the body goes to work healing the damaged tissue.
The standard healing time for soft tissue injuries is 6 to 8 weeks, although it’s common to significantly improve on that. Chronic metabolic issues may take many months to turn around.