The Importance of Maintenance Care
Often we have patients who are nearing the end of their structural rehabilitation portion of care and they say, “Great! I’m almost done!” This may be true of the intense 3 times per week portion of care but, what is missing is the incredibly important understanding of maintaining the changes that they have worked so hard to accomplish.
Structural rehabilitation is not always easy, the physical therapy, the workouts, sitting in traction and doing the home icing and exercises can be tedious. However, the benefits are astounding! Improved strength, flexibility, and endurance, less pain, more mobility and function, and improved quality of life are rewards that make the journey well worth it.
Structural rehabilitation, however, is only the first part. We will see our patients for as little as 3 months to as long as 2 years on this regimen. When the structural rehab is over, then the most important phase of care begins; maintenance.
It is easy to see why we maintain our teeth, not only does tooth decay have smelly and unsightly side effects, it can also increase the susceptibility to heart disease and decreased fertility. It is easy for people to know when their teeth need a check-up; all they have to do is smile! Daily brushing and flossing are important and so are yearly to bi-yearly visits with the dentist for cleaning and evaluation. Even our 6 year old daughter understands this!
Car maintenance is also a no-brainer. Changing the oil every 3000 miles, keeping the tires rotated and changed, and keeping the engine in good working order are all necessary to maintain a long life for the vehicle; people don’t hesitate to pay when it comes to their car, without it, how would they get around? Maintenance of vehicles and our homes come naturally when we want to keep our material possessions in good working order.
However, rarely do people understand the importance of maintaining a healthy spine and nervous system. Why this is completely baffles me! The nervous system controls and coordinates the function of every cell, every issue, every organ and every organ system in the body and without a well functioning spine and nervous system, not only can we expect pain and disability, but also serious consequences and diseases! My guess as to why people don’t maintain their spine is probably because the importance is not instilled on a daily basis, unlike MichelinTM and CastrolTM commercials. But also because we don’t have a zipper down our backs! Without constantly being reminded of the importance of our posture, spine, and nervous system, it is easy to get the, “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. Don’t let this happen to you! Understanding that your posture, spine, nervous system, and health are all inextricably connected is fundamental to having a higher quality of life. As Rene Calliet, MD says, “To live a long, active, energetic life, few things matter more than good posture.”
So, when you are finishing with the structural rehabilitation portion of care, don’t let all that hard work go to waste, maintenance is the most important phase of care as it can help prolong the amazing changes you’ve made in our office as well as improve your future health and quality of life!
Dr. Jason W. Haas