Often when people find out that I’m a chiropractor, they’ll usually jokingly ask if I can “crack their neck”, or they’ll say that if they ever feel that they need a “realignment”, they’ll give me a call. Rarely do I ever get the chance to correct them and give them a better idea of what I really do. However, I do have a chance to do that on this blog.
So, what do I really do? For now, I’ll focus on traditional chiropractic care and not the health counseling I provide. The really short answer is that I help people find a solution to their pain. The short answer is that I help people overcome their pain or injuries through hands on care, exercise and stretching programs, and advice on how to reduce stress on their body and avoid potentially damaging activities.
As for the longer answer, that’s more complicated.
People develop pain and discomfort for a variety of reasons. The type of treatment depends upon the type of injury or condition. The following is an example of the more common types of reasons people see me for help.
1. Acute injury – This is due to a sudden force that overloads muscle, ligaments, and tendons. It causes tearing, irritation, inflammation, and pain. First, the condition must be assessed and diagnosed. This can be done by any competent chiropractor (like yours truly). Some injuries need further testing (MRI, xray) and urgent medical care (bleeds, fractures, etc.), while others can be treated more conservatively through the use of medications (pain relievers, muscle relaxers) and chiropractic care. If I feel that more testing is necessary or a second opinion from a medical specialist is necessary, I’ll refer out. However, most injuries can be treated in the office and by the patient themselves at home.
Chiropractic care for acute injury – Once the patient is examined and found to be a candidate for chiropractic care, the first step is to reduce pain, inflammation, and muscle spasm, as well as reduce the chance of further injury. In the office, I usually use therapies such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and gentle muscle therapy. The patient is usually advised to rest the injured area, avoid aggravating activities, and use ice. Over the counter pain relievers can be used as the patient feels appropriate, or they can contact their family doctor for prescription strength medications. However, most of the time, medications are not necessary. Once the patient’s pain is reduced to a minimal level, we work to restore the full range of motion and strength to the region using muscle therapies, joint manipulation, and home stretching and strengthening exercises.
2. Acute aggravations of a chronic issue – This is one of the most common reasons I see people. Usually there is an underlying issue, such as an old injury, chronic tightness, or weakness that increases the chance of an injury to occur. People with this type of issue come to see me saying, “I don’t know what I did. All I did was bent over to pick up a pencil.” Or, “I must have slept wrong. I woke up with some pain in my neck, and as the day progressed, it became worse and worse.” Or, “I worked in the garden for the first time in months, and now my back is killing me.”
Chiropractic care for acute aggravation of an underlying issue – This will be very similar to care for an acute injury. However, once the person’s pain is to a minimal level, there is some extra work involved to get rid of the underlying issue(s). These issues are usually poor posture, muscle tightness, joint tightness, and muscle weakness. These can be addressed in office with muscle therapy, joint manipulation, and muscle therapy (such as SASTM). At home, and probably just as important or more so than in-office care, is a home strengthening and stretching program. If the underlying issues aren’t addressed, chances are the injury will keep occurring over and over, or may become more and more severe.
3. Chronic pain from old injuries or gradually worsening issues – This is also a very common reason that people come to me for care. This is due to small stresses on the body over a long period of time, or due to an injury that hasn’t quite healed right and are caused muscle tightness and tension, joint tightness, and muscle weakness. All this often leads to posture changes that place even more stress on the body. Examples of this are the dental hygienists that develop upper back and shoulder pain from sitting in one position too often, 40 hour a week computer users, factory employees that work at the same station doing the same activities day in and day out, or a welder that wears a heavy shield on the head every day.
Chiropractic care for chronic pain – With this type of condition, we get right into increasing range of motion and loosening up tight muscles and joints using joint manipulation and muscle therapy (such as SASTM). Just like mentioned in number 2, home care of strengthening and stretching exercises is just as important as the in-office care.
4. Other – This includes systemic health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, etc. These can be caused by a variety of factors such as genetic influences, viral infection, diet, excessive stress, thyroid issues, or other unknown reason. These can be some of the toughest conditions to treat by any health care provider. Often these people are put on pain medication or anti-inflammatories and told nothing else can be done.
Chiropractic care for these “other” types of conditions – As mentioned, these are some of the more challenging issues to treat. Often these people have been to every other health care provider out there, and have tried just about every medication available for the problem. The basic strategy is to work with diet and lifestyle to remove any potential stress on the body and to improve the overall health of the individual. I’ve seen people all but get rid of their rheumatoid arthritis by improving their diet and lifestyle. The still have rheumatoid arthritis, but by improving their health and getting rid of stress on their body, symptoms can be reduced significantly. As for your average pain due to arthritis, I discussed that in detail in another post. Click here for more information on how to address arthritis.
So, hopefully that gives everyone a better idea of what I really do as a chiropractor. As you can see, it’s much more than just “cracking backs” or “realigning spines”.
If you’re having pain for any reason, you should seriously consider seeing me for an evaluation. If chiropractic care is appropriate for your condition, we will start care and you’ll see how effective it can be in getting rid of or significantly reducing your pain and discomfort. If you have back pain, neck pain, or other joint pain and live or work in Orwigsburg, Pottsville, Schuylkill Haven, Hamburg, or other parts of norther Berks or southern Schuylkill County, you’re minutes away from my office. Call 366-2613 to set up an appointment, or click here for more information.
For even more detailed information on the type of care I provide, click here.
2 thoughts on “How I help people through chiropractic care”
Great post doc! Many many people just do not understand because no one in their circle has been to a chiropractor. People have misconceptions and preconceived notions about chiropractic, thanks for helping breaking down that barrier. This reminds me of the phrase, “the mind is like a parachute, it only works when it is open”. Keep up the good work.
Thanks! I was paired up with guy I just met in a charity golf tournemount the other day and on the first hole he mentioned he had a bad back. I mentioned I was a chiropractor and he went on about how he had “three degenerated discs and arthritis of the lower spine”, and that it was beyond “cracking it back into place”. I didn’t feel like getting into it being I just met him (I don’t know, maybe I should have), but as you know, we can provide a lot of options for that situation. Heck, 80% of the people that I’ve been able to help get out of pain are in his situation.
The sad part is, his doctor (orthopedist, spine surgeon, family doctor) probably told him there was nothing that could be done for his problem. Sure, you’re not going to get rid of the disc degeneration or arthritis, but we sure as heck can improve the conditioning of the area and significantly reduce the symptoms. I absolutely love seeing, but at the same time it kills me, those patients that have been treating with various doctors for their issue for months or years with no help, and they walk out after the very first visit with me feeling 80% better. It’s great because we were able to help, but it stinks because they suffered for all that time and no one told them we could help (or they ignored the advice!).