When you experience back pain, chiropractic care can help relieve the pain and identify the underlying cause. But your care shouldn’t stop once the pain stops (or comes back, which can frequently happen).

A new study suggests maintenance chiropractic care (defined by the researchers as “treatment at regular intervals regardless of symptoms”) is more effective than symptomatic treatment (receiving chiropractic treatment only when you’re experiencing pain).

In the study, patients with recurrent / persistent low back pain who received maintenance care (scheduled every 1-3 months) after their initial treatment reported an average of 19.3 less days of “bothersome” low back pain over a 12-month period compared to patients who received only symptomatic chiropractic care. Overall, during the 12-month period, maintenance care patients made seven visits, on average, to their chiropractor, versus five visits, on average, for symptomatic patients.

So, if you’re suffering low back pain and your chiropractor suggests you come in periodically for treatment, you may want to heed his/her advice. It’s a research-supported suggestion that could dramatically reduce the amount of time you spend in pain.