In my last blog I talked about what happens with your first visit to a chiropractor. I related how the chiropractor looks at a problem that a patient presents with. The noticeable difference in how a chiropractor approaches developing a treatment plan and how other physicians develop their treatment plan is based on where the doctor focuses his or her attention.
Today’s chiropractor is primarily focused on restoring or repairing lost functions that the patient may have. These will be quite evident from the consultation and examination that has been performed. Most other physicians tend to focus on symptom relief. We are all wired to believe that when the pain is gone the problem is gone. Research, however, indicates that symptoms are a result of lost function. The symptoms that occur can range from vertebrae that are “out of place” (what the chiropractor calls a subluxation) to pain, organ dysfunction, and even disease.
The chiropractor of today is also very aware that the body is intimately related to itself. What is affected at one point in the body, internally or externally, will have an affect elsewhere. Do you remember the old childhood song about the knee bone connected to the leg bone? Keep that in mind as we take a very quick look at how the chiropractor sees things.
A flat foot can cause stress on the ankle with walking. That ankle stress will cause muscles to pull differently resulting in knee pain. The knee pain will cause an abnormal way of moving the hips when walking. This new way of walking will result in low back pain and potentially a disc issue. This can cause postural changes up the spine and can lead to neck pain and headaches. To make all of this even more complicated, all those stresses will cause inflammation that can eventually lead to a weakened immune system. A weak immune system makes you a target for infectious diseases and organ system dysfunctions.
The chiropractor divides your treatment plan into three distinct phases. First and foremost is pain relief. The second phase is tissue repair. The third is the rehabilitative phase of care. The reason for pain relief being the first phase of care is self-explanatory. When you go to the doctor you have two big questions on your mind. The first is can you help me and the second is how fast?
Treating for pain requires reducing inflammation and restoring normal movement to the injured area. This is accomplished in our office with modalities such as electric stimulation that blocks pain signals from moving up nerves to the brain or ultrasound which breaks up congestion and improves circulation to remove inflammation.
The chiropractor will also utilize things like assisting the patient move the affected joints to improve movement ability. This passive movement helps restore normal nerve pathways that may have been altered. He may also prescribe orthotics for inside the shoes to try to start making corrections there. This is important because if the functions of the body have been impaired due to postural changes that result from the feet, the feet must be corrected for lasting results.
Spinal manipulation is essential for removing interference with nerve signal transmission. This is the basis of chiropractic and is the heart and soul of what we do. The nerves are the communication conduits of every cell in the body to and from the brain. Abnormal function will cause changes that will negatively impact that communication system. This system must be kept in pristine condition for a speedy recovery and restoration of function.
So, to recap, the chiropractor takes a good look at what issues you present to the office with from an interconnectedness of the entire body point of view. The chiropractor devises a plan to restore the functions that were lost that are the cause of the symptoms that brought you to the office. The first two goals are to relieve pain and repair what was broken that caused the pain.
In our next blog we will look at things that can speed up the healing process as well as what needs to be done to slow down or prevent these situations from happening again.