Choices come standard when it comes to taking care of yourself. One of the most important – and sometimes toughest – can be deciding which health care provider is right for you.
The answer is all of them. Each provider –family doctor, a physical therapist, a massage therapist, a chiropractor, etc. – can play a key role in your well-being and all can work together to help you achieve the healthiest you possible. The key is an integrated approach, which will result in fewer office visits and less expense when done correctly.
Each provider has a role to play.
Figuring out who to see first or who to see when starts with what’s going on.
Patients in pain most often are dealing with some sort of functional disability – their back went out and they’re stuck or some other body part just isn’t moving right or at all. For example, you have a joint not moving right, which is creating a pinching or choking motion. That pinching or choking is irritating the nervous system. An inflamed joint inflames the nerves near it, and the nerve irritates the muscles it goes to and through. In turn, the muscle is going to irritate the nerve that passes through it, and the irritated nerve will irritate the joint. It’s like a loop of pain and discomfort that can have long-lasting and serious consequences if the cycle isn’t broken.
For example, if you have a pinched nerve leading to your heart, over time you’re going to end up with some sort of heart dysfunction.
The job of a chiropractor, a massage therapist, a doctor, an acupuncturist is to break that cycle and we all can break that cycle at different places.
- Your doctor will give you medicine to help reduce pain.
- A physical therapist will stretch you out and put more motion into muscles, ligaments and tendons.
- An acupuncturist will work on neurological meridians, your chi, to reduce pain trigger points and muscle irritation and inflammation.
- A massage therapist will work to create more motion, reduce inflammation and increase lymphatic flow.
- A chiropractor will analyze the body to detect the pinching / choking point and put motion back into the joint and add mobility.
A chiropractor is trained and licensed to do that:
- Detect and remove a subluxation
- Find a place that’s out of place
- Then go to work to put motion back into that joint
Chiropractic works by creating a fast relief and long-term health. It is a gentle, safe, effective, noninvasive and holistic approach. We believe in your natural ability to heal yourself.
And I, as a chiropractor, have a unique, four-step process to help people feel better and recover.
- First is pain relief. It is imperative that you feel better before you begin to rehabilitate yourself. Pain creates inhibition. Pain turns muscles off. Pain protects your body. For example, if you roll your ankle and you can’t walk normally, you can’t go out and play golf. You simply won’t be able to swing the club properly if you’re bio-mechanically incorrect. So every treatment plan has to start with feeling better.
- Once you feel better, the next step is activation; to turn on those muscles that have been turned off because of pain, and to get you moving again. I do this through a series of adjustments paired with a series of specific exercises you do for two or three weeks at home.
- The third step is balancing. When those muscles were turned off because of pain, ligaments and other muscles were turned on and were working overtime. So, we work to bring their roles back into balance with series of exercises. Think strength and stretching.
- The last step is to get you back to your life: Back to your job, back to the gym, back to your routine. And when you’re back in your routine, we can focus on prevention: Adjustments once or twice a month to keep the situation from arising again.
It’s a comprehensive approach. An MD or an acupuncturist treats pain, a physical therapist helps you regain strength and elasticity and a massage therapist works on your muscles. Chiropractic is going to address all those things and will help you feel better quickly, which, at the right time and in the right circumstances, can be aided by each of those specialists doing what they do best.
For example, if I’m treating you and you’re also seeing a massage therapist who is working on mobility and flexibility, the duration of your treatment is likely to be shorter, think six visits instead of 15.
And that means you feel good again faster, for less expense.