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Chain of Compensation

Premise Three: When a part of the body goes wrong for whatever reason, the human body is not static, it tries to help itself continue to perform the tasks required of it. This is commonly called a compensation; we compensate for an injury or we adopt a compensatory movement due to pain. Eventually the compensation strategy starts to cause further compensation altering the coordinated movement of the body, altering the learned pattern of muscular activity. One part altering (easier to begin with to think of alteration as an injury)  can have a chain of compensatory consequences, over time. The longer the body injury is left the more potential consequences that can be learnt in adapting to the unresolved injury.

The idea of self regulation or self organisation is popular, as it is the idea that the body will heal itself back to healthy. However we constantly learn and progress toward a satisfaction of goals. Meaning that our body does not necessarily return to how it was after an injury or a painful episode. Thus in real life self organisation is not always successful.

The chain of compensations is a useful model to bear in mind when you cannot follow why your chiropractor adjusted a different area of your body to where you feel your problem is. For example you may have 7 compensation strategies and it is number 4 that is generating pain and it is number one that the chiropractor needs to treat.

As we get better we are unconsciously going through a process of learning a new normal, whilst we also unlearn our old undesirable normal that left us in pain. The fastest a human can learn new muscular co-ordination for the longer term is 4 months. If you embark on Chiropractic care expect to be cared for over a 4-6 month period for a particular episode. even if you feel better after a week. Stopping your appointments early because you are no longer in pain will likely be a false economy due to future recurrence.

If you visit your chiropractor for regular MOT type maintenance care then the frequency of your visits works differently to somebody who visits their chiropractor when things have gone and stayed wrong.

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