You probably already think you know what chiropractors do, right?
I would bet that if I asked you, you probably would say something like, chiropractors generally make adjustments to the spine to treat back pain – or something along those lines.
Right? Well, yes, – sort of.
It is true that chiropractors do make spinal adjustments to relieve pain and may use some conventional chiropractic interventions such as hot packs and low-frequency electrical stimulation to treat said pain, some other chiropractors take treating patients a step further. These chiropractors use advanced treatments, an integrated approach, and modern technology to not only get patients temporarily out of pain but to stop the pain for good.
I’m one of those chiropractors.
You see, symptoms, such as pain, numbness, tingling, or stiffness are warning signs that there is a bigger problem going on with your body. Let’s think about your car. If your check engine light comes on, what do you do? You probably would head into your local mechanic to take a look. If your mechanic simply fills all of the car’s fluids and checks a few wires and hoses, and the engine warning light turns off, you are likely to think everything is fixed and your car is fine and you go on about your business as usual.
That is until you’re back on the road a few weeks or months later and your check engine light turns on again.
Would you go back to the same mechanic to have him take another guess at what is wrong with your car, or would you seek someone with more expertise and experience at diagnosing engine trouble?
The Potential for Breakdown
I know the analogy sounds a little strange, but bear with me.
You can think of symptoms like pain, numbness, tingling, and stiffness as symptoms as the “check engine light” for your body. They are warning signals that something is wrong and needs to be fixed.
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, you could get the surface level treatments (aka filling fluids and checking belts and hoses) of spinal adjustments, steroid shots, heat therapy, TENS stimulation, pain relievers, or muscle relaxers and then go on down the road for a bit longer.
However, you will run the risk of a breakdown eventually.
When your car breaks down, it’s a likely going to be a minor inconvenience. If your body breaks down, you’re going to be in big trouble.
You can prevent a body breakdown by seeing an expert to keep your body tuned up. You need a chiropractor that has a different approach. You need more than spinal adjustments; you need multidimensional treatments and highly personalized care.
You need me.
I am different from most chiropractors. Instead of focusing on just the area where pain or numbness is showing up, I go deeper to find out what is causing the pain to develop in the first place.
For example, if you have pain in the neck, the problem may not necessarily be something wrong with your neck. It could be a problem further down in your back that developed as a result of years of poor posture, sitting hunched over your computer keyboard or tablet, or from just looking down to check Facebook on your cell phone. (Yes, this is a very real thing – it’s called “tech neck” and can be a serious problem!)
Or, you could have pain in your knee when you walk, stand, or go up the steps? While it may seem, at first glance, that the problem was with your knee because that is where the pain is – so a plausible treatment plan would be pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, steroids, and physical therapy.
Some physicians may even suggest replacing your knee with an artificial joint to “fix” your problem. Joint replacement surgery is serious at any age because it has the potential for complications. Not to mention, artificial joints have a shelf life of just 10 to 15 years, which means that you could potentially need two replacement joint surgeries depending on your age.
But, what if the cause of your knee pain was actually due to spinal compression in the lower back caused by chronic constriction/contractures of muscles/tendons and ligaments in the gluteal, hip and pelvic region creating dysfunction and thus affecting your knee? Is that really possible?
Yes, it is, and it happens a lot.
In fact, it is my contention that unless something happens directly traumatically to the knee, the pain you may be feeling likely stems from the lower back, pelvic, and hip region, both from a skeletal and muscular standpoint or perhaps even below at the ankle and foot. Why? Well, dysfunction in either or both places catches the knee joint in the middle which may be where the pain ends up. One thing I have learned again and again in treating patients is that where the pain is being felt is never where it is coming from.
The body is always responding to the stresses and strains of daily life and it will compensate for those forces in an effort to remain stable. But, sometimes that stability comes with dysfunction and that’s when the pain shows up. As a rule, I don’t treat pain, I treat dysfunction and by restoring function, the pain is gone, permanently.
Of course, the patient must do things daily to support the changes we make here in the office and often modify things during their daily life so the dysfunction doesn’t return.
My point is this; playing guessing games and using temporary treatments to fix what is ailing you simply prolongs the inevitable and does not get you out of pain for the long run.
Using an approach that looks at the whole body allows me to identify the source of dysfunction, how the body is compensating for that dysfunction, and why that compensation is causing pain.
This is in contrast to the way many conventional doctors practice medicine. Medical schools often put physicians through paces of simply treating symptoms or areas of structural damage but do not necessarily train them to trace the pain back to a root cause or associate with a change in behavior.
Insurance companies can also make patients go the long route to treatments in many cases. A diagnosis of back pain or knee pain could mean that you are required to get expensive imaging services such as CT scans and MRIs before you’re able to get approval for treatment. They also could require you to go through needless physical therapy before allowing you to try another treatment option. Find out what I think about that here.
Even seemingly benign habits such as tucking a leg underneath you when you sit in your office chair have long-term consequences. If this is something you do, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, you’re going to have some changes to your body. These changes can show up in your neck, back, foot, and even your jaw.
Think about it; tucking a leg under causes one hip to be lower than the other, which will eventually affect your pelvis and spine. Over time, your body will “learn” that as shifted position as its new “home position”. So, it compensates by pulling muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones to that new position. Your body gets so used to being off-kilter, that even when you are not sitting, your body still compensates by holding itself in its new “home”.
The longer you practice this habit, the harder it is to recover. If you’ve sat a certain way, slept a certain way, drove a certain way, or held your body out of position for years, that’s all your body knows. Muscles build memory and it is hard for them to forget unless retrained.
Yes, you can work to change your posture and stop sitting with your leg underneath you, but you may end up putting yourself in a new, awkward body position and end up with more pain and discomfort.
Bad posture can happen anywhere – from your desk chair to the car to the basketball court to even sleeping. If your body is routinely held out of its normal position, you are going to see warning signs that something is wrong eventually.
Is all hope lost? Not at all. You can recover from it by getting the body back in its natural position. Yes, it is going to take work and time. It may require spinal adjustments, but your treatment will also include stretching and strengthening exercises to do at home. In your case it may even be recommended to include other daily tasks such as inversion therapy. It could also involve deep laser treatments to reduce scar tissue and encourage cell growth to repair damaged connective tissues. It could also mean you could benefit from cryotherapy (cold therapy), too, to reduce inflammation and swelling.
Using a total body approach to both diagnose and treat your pain or discomfort yields more significant and meaningful results for you. It also means that you get out of pain and discomfort more quickly, which is really what you want anyway.
Take the time to find out why our practice is different and how that difference means better care for you.
Are you tired of feeling rushed or like you are simply a diagnosis or co-pay? Try something different. Call Physical Evidence Chiropractic today at 561-674-1217 for more information and just more.