Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: March 29, 2017
Note: this is a guest blog from chiropractor Dr. Neal Griffin of Green Oaks Spine & Sport.
Chiropractic treatment is not an inexact science, but it does vary broadly in the scope of its practices. Chiropractors can often take very different approaches to patients’ physical concerns, so it’s important for patients to take their health care experiences through different chiropractors with a grain of salt. At the same time, it’s good to ask questions to understand the treatment you’re receiving. To that end, this article will help you discern whether or not your chiropractor is a consummate professional or just a professional limbo trainer.
What to Expect From a Chiropractic Visit
The first part of a clinical chiropractic visit should be exactly what you remember from most other health care experiences. You’ll fill out some paperwork on which you document your family medical history and provide your chiropractor with other necessary information. This includes lingering or prior injuries, as well as pre-existing conditions. It’s a good idea to go into a consultation contemplating how you remember the pain first starting and how long ago that was, in addition to what kinds of activities seem to exacerbate it. The term back pain is obviously quite vague, so you want to explain what region of your back is affected and how the pain feels. If you’ve had a back injury in the past, you’ll want to have included that on the aforementioned documentation as well.
Chiropractic Exam for Back Pain
An actual chiropractic exam is not some government conspiracy to catalog physical data about you, so don’t be wary of what might seem like a short battery of neurological and orthopedic tests. Your chiropractor needs to test your neurological integrity as well as your muscle tone, the strength of said muscles, and the range of motion in the anatomical region you’ve designated as the source of your discomfort. Of course, there will also be brief reflex tests, respiration tests, and blood pressure tests. Depending on the nature of your discomfort, a chiropractor may have you twist and move in specific ways. Sticking with the back pain example, since many see chiropractors for spinal or back-related discomfort, your physician is most likely going to inspect your spine in its entirety in addition to your hip and legs. If you’re suffering from lower back pain that’s limiting your range of motion, there’s a good chance that the cartilage in the joints of your spine is eroding; at this point, we’re talking osteoarthritis.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Chiropractic diagnosis begins after the chiropractic examination, although it may require a diagnostic study in some cases. Your chiropractor will diagnose a particular condition that seems to be manifesting in your muscles or tissues. In keeping with our example, your diagnosis would be spinal osteoarthritis. Your consultation should conclude with that diagnosis, and your chiropractor will likely use this moment to explain what he or she recommends your individualized treatment plan should be. If your chiropractor neglects to mention the length of time during which this treatment plan should last, that’s a more-than-valid question you’ll want to ask.
Keep in mind, there’s no actual cure for osteoarthritis, so in this case, your chiropractor’s recommended treatment would focus on pain relief and decelerating the further erosion of cartilage. The idea is to control joint inflammation and make it physically easier for you to do what you feel like doing.
Dr. Griffin is from Saskatchewan, Canada. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education from the University of Regina in Canada. He moved to Dallas in 1994 and earned his Doctorate of Chiropractic from Parker University in 1998.