I have found this to be an effective way of provoking a thought process from everyone. Especially from those that have never been to a chiropractor or thought about going to a chiropractor. In most instances, the answer would be, “Yes, of course. I trust my doctor to make recommendations that are in my best interest.”
For years, in the allopathic medical world, the common recommendations for back pain were fairly simple and straight forward. Those recommendations were to take some muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatories, and go home to rest and wait it out. Either that or, if serious enough, the recommendations could include physical therapy, shots, or surgery, many times when it wasn’t even necessary.
It is my opinion that in 20 years, doctors everywhere will look at x-rays of lumbar fusions and wonder to themselves, “What on Earth were we ever thinking to do this to people?” That does NOT make surgeons bad people and most importantly, bad doctors. It means that things progress and right now, this very second, back pain is at the forefront of the newest information.
That is due to two factors:
- Back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
- The opioid crisis is still at its peak with no end in sight.
As a result of the increased attention on back pain, new recommendations are coming out daily that have been proven to provide patients superior results and outcomes when we compare them to even five years ago.
In fact, the medical profession, via some of the most important and influential groups and publications, now recommends spinal manipulative therapy as an effective first-line therapy for back pain. This is HUGE for chiropractic because chiropractors perform about 90% of spinal manipulative therapies in the United States of America.
Essentially, the medical profession has been telling America for the last 2-3 years to try chiropractic first for your back pain. That means before aspirin or Ibuprofen. Before any kind of pills. Before expensive and invasive shots and surgeries. Before any of those treatments, alongside a few other options, you should try chiropractic care. First!
Here is an easy-to-read flow chart demonstrating what a big deal this is. When the sources of the recommendations are sources such as the American College of Physicians, The British Medical Journal, the Journal of the American Medical Association, The Lancet Medical Journal, The Joint Commission, the FDA, the CDC, and non-medical sources like Consumer Reports and The White House…..well, I’m not sure what else we could add to the discussion.
SEE THE FLOW CHART BELOW
If your doctor told you to visit the chiropractor for your back pain, would you do it?
We have never met a patient in 20 years that looked forward to surgery. Some new research coming out on shoulder surgery should make them smile though.
It’s important to note that the shoulder is one of the most complicated joints in the body. It is also the weakest of the major joints. We can move our shoulders in all different kinds of directions but that freedom of motion comes with a price. That price is pain and overall instability. It can be very easy to injure a shoulder.
Historically, when a shoulder gets injured, shoulder surgery is almost a given eventually. Instability will lead to altered function which leads to uneven wear and tear…..and on and on. You get the point.
New research is turning this idea upside down. The new paper is called “What happens to patients when we do not repair their cuff tears? Five-year rotator cuff quality-of-life index outcomes following nonoperative treatment of patients with full-thickness rotator cuff tears(Boorman RS 2018).” It is authored by RS Boorman, KD More, RM Hollinshead, et al. and published in Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery in March of 2018.
At 5 or more years follow-up, approximately 75% of patients remained successfully treated with nonoperative means. Those patients had a quality of life score of 83 out of 100.
Between years 2 and 5, only 3 patients thought to have a successful outcome regressed and had surgery. The operative and the nonoperative groups at the 5-year follow-up were not significantly different.
The authors concluded, “Nonoperative treatment is an effective and lasting option for many patients with a chronic, full-thickness rotator cuff tear. While some clinicians may argue that nonoperative treatment delays inevitable surgical repair, our study shows that patients can do very well over time.”
This means that there is a very real chance, 75% as a matter of fact, that you can injure your shoulder and suffer a full-thickness tear of the rotator cuff and STILL be able to rehab the shoulder and STILL lead a very happy and productive life without having to endure surgery and recovery.
That’s exciting news for all of us!
We are well-versed in helping our patients rehab just about the entire musculoskeletal system. This is helping more and more of our patients right here in Amarillo, TX avoid surgeries and lead productive, happy lives.
Call us at 806-355-3000 if you think we can do the same for you, your friend, or family!
Hi, I’m Dr. Jeff Williams and I want to take time in our blog to tell you about us, about our office, and what you can expect when you visit us!
Here at Creek Stone Integrated Care, we have some very key, very vital principles guiding everything we do, every day, every week. Those principles are summed up as patient-centered, ethical, honest, highly trained through continued education, experienced, and lots of fun. Let’s break those down quickly so we’re on the same page.
When we say we are a patient-centered practice, we mean that we ALWAYS do what is best for the patient and NOT what is best for our wallet. We don’t see how many times we can get patients through our doors. We want to treat your problem, get you well, and send you on your way as quickly as possible. Then, we’ll see you the next time you have an issue. Pretty simple.
When we say we are ethical, we mean as an ethical chiropractor, we do not scare or manipulate our patients into doing what we think they should do. We simply make the good, responsible recommendations we think are best for our patients and then we are happy to be here however they’d like to use us. Nothing more, nothing less. Ideally, all chiropractic offices should operate in this manner.
When we say we’re honest, you can take comfort in knowing we follow the latest researched treatment guides. Not only that, but as honest chiropractors, we take the trust a patient puts into us very seriously. We honor that trust, not betray it.
When we talk about continued education, we pursue continued education with cheetah-like intensity. I do not believe a practitioner should graduate from college and simply ‘call it a day.’ No, the work has just begun, in my opinion. I typically get 4-5 times more than the minimal required continuing education hours each year. Not only that, but I host The Chiropractic Forward Podcast reviewing the newest research papers each and every week. Believe me, something like that will keep you on your game!
When I mention experience, having graduated in January of 1998, I have been practicing now for over 20 years. I don’t make the mistakes I made just out of school. In fact, in some ways at this point in practice, I’m a mentor to others. Experience absolutely matters and you’ll find it here at Creek Stone.
Lastly, when I say we have fun, we really do. On a typical day, you’ll hear music drifting down the hallways here at Creek Stone from Motown and Memphis to the blues and boogie. You just never know. We love to laugh. At the end of the day what matters most is having a fun, energetic experience with caring people all working together to try to help you feel better.
We have chiropractic care, spinal decompression, advanced and traditional massage, acupuncture, exercise/rehab, low level laser, and physiotherapeutic treatments all under one roof here at Creek Stone where there’s good, there’s better, then there’s Creek Stone.
Pain can change a person but we can absolutely change pain. It’s clear that the right choice can change everything.
Call us at 806-355-3000 to set up an appointment or free consultation if you would like to meet us and get to know us.
Let us start by making a comparison with the medical world. Many MDs that graduate prefer to be general practitioners and take care of people for anything and everything. What they do not have specialized knowledge in, they refer to other MDs possessing that particular specialization the patient’s condition requires.
This brings us to the term ‘specialization’. Specialization is what happens when an MD decides to go into different fields such as Neurology, Pediatrics, OBGYN, etc… They specialize. They don’t see patients for anything and everything. They are focused on their one little corner of healthcare and they rock it out within that specific specialization.
We can relate this to the chiropractic profession too. Some, in fact most, chiropractors get out of school and keep their heads down and just work all their lives and try to build a business and build a practice the best they can. Some chiropractors are amazing at building their practices while some, unfortunately, are not.
This is sometimes reflective of their lack of skill and knowledge. Sometimes it may be a lack of business acumen. Sometimes it’s just simply bad luck all around.
For the chiropractic profession overall, there has not traditionally been a significant amount of specialization over the years. However, that is slowly starting to change.
With different changes in the healthcare world, including the American College of Physicians now recommending chiropractic for low back pain, chiropractors are starting to move into more integrated treatment systems. With this opportunity comes a need for more specialization in the profession.
Over the last 5-10 years, it has become more and more common for doctors of chiropractic to specialize in pediatrics, nutrition, neurology, sports, rehabilitation, and orthopedics.
Dr. Jeff Williams here at Creek Stone Integrated Care has been working toward what is called a Diplomate in American Chiropractic Orthopedists (DACO). The DACO consists of 300 hours of education. That is 50 hours live and 250 hours online before finally taking and passing a big test to make sure the doctor is worthy of the title of DACO.
What exactly does a DACO provide a chiropractor as far as knowledge goes?
According to the website for the American Chiropractic Orthopedists, it is as follows:
“Board certified chiropractic orthopedists are doctors of chiropractic who have completed extensive postdoctoral education in non-surgical orthopedics, and have passed rigorous specialty Board examinations leading to Diplomate status as a chiropractic orthopedist. Less than 2% of chiropractic physicians attain this status.
To become Board certified, the chiropractic orthopedic specialist is required to demonstrate advanced proficiency in the evaluation and non-operative management of a broad range of injuries, conditions and disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system with particular emphasis on the spine and extremities.”
The DACO course is current with evidence and research. Everything as far as testing, evaluation, and treatment is current with research. Going to a DACO means you have received one of the best evaluations a person can get because DACO are HIGHLY knowledgeable in the neuromusculoskeletal system, how it works, what makes it not work, etc..
Let us take neck pain for example. Many general chiropractors will simply do a couple of tests to make sure it’s safe and then adjust. Don’t get us wrong: many chiropractors are MUCH more thorough than that but some simply are not.
A DACO though, they know that chronic neck pain may not just lie in the joints of the neck but that proprioception from the upper part of the neck, from the eyes, and from the vestibular system could be contributing to altered function of the movement of the joints in the neck, contributing to the ongoing pain.
The proper exercises, many times, can help with this sort of malfunction but, a chiropractor that is not a DACO will most likely miss conditions such as this.
We can go on and on with different conditions but experience and education truly set professionals apart in all fields of business or healthcare.
Dr. Williams is about halfway to his DACO and already gets to use the latest knowledge and techniques on a daily basis.
If we can help you, call us at 806-355-3000 and let us set you up for an evaluation and come see the difference.
Have you ever heard the term back alignment used when talking about visiting a chiropractor?
What does the term mean exactly?
It could mean that there are a bunch of bones stacked up like a Jenga game and that the chiropractor lines them all up perfectly straight so that everything works perfectly. If that is your picture of what back alignment means, then keep reading.
On the other hand, it could be an outdated term to describe how chiropractors once used (and some still do) to market their practices. This discussion gets into a little of a difference in some chiropractors but it’s an important distinction and an important discussion to have from time to time.
Some chiropractors have a more philosophical way of practicing that dates back to the turn of the century and the early 1900’s and to the “founders” of the chiropractic profession. Others chiropractors prefer to refer to themselves as evidence-based chiropractors due to the fact that they are using research papers, protocols, and guidelines to steer their way of practicing.
Here at Creek Stone Integrated Care, our doctors are evidence-based. In fact, Dr. Jeff Williams hosts a weekly podcast called the Chiropractic Forward Podcast discussing relevant research papers that are coming out literally every month.
“Back alignment” is a term commonly used by the more philosophical chiropractors in the profession. “Back alignment” is rooted in the word “subluxation.” Subluxation is the term vitalistic, philosophical chiropractors use as a reason many maladies throughout the body. However, if you look up the word in a medical dictionary, it will basically mean something less than a dislocation. For instance, when an orthopedic surgeon uses the term, they mean to describe a near dislocation that injured the joint but did not in fact fully dislocate.
Essentially, the more philosophical chiropractors say a subluxation is a bone that is out of place in the spine and this malposition puts undue pressure on the nerves exiting in that region. In addition, once the bone is repositioned by a chiropractor, the nerves will be able to function better thus the body functions better overall. Basically, if the back is aligned, everything works better.
The more evidence-based chiropractors reason that profession learn more and more as the years go by. As new techniques emerge, more research is realized leading to new studies and new techniques and on and on. The profession improves in effectiveness as the techniques and knowledge base expands and will then continually improve through the years.
This has happened with the chiropractic profession just like it has happened with the medical field. The medical doctors used to make a common practice of drilling holes in people’s heads, bloodletting, and leeches. Ugh.
Just like our medical counterparts, chiropractors now know so much more than the “founders” of the profession knew back in the early 1900’s.
While we have mountains of research for chiropractic care’s effectiveness in treating neck pain, back pain, headaches, and joint pain, there is no good evidence so far that supports using the term “back alignment” in the year 2018.
Of course, if you ask a vitalistic, unorthodox, and philosophical chiropractor, you will get a vastly different opinion. But, if we are paying attention to research, the literature suggests the vitalistic, philosophical chiropractors only make up approximately 20% of the profession.
The vast majority of doctors in this great profession follow more current research and guidelines and run their practices accordingly.
The more important concept to understand when it comes to going to a chiropractor, rather than “back alignment,” is that chiropractors primarily treat joint dysfunction. The technical term in the research literature is spinal manipulative therapy. One can find mountains of support in the literature for chiropractors treating joint dysfunction and movement dysfunctions.
When a person is moving better, everything is working better.
Think about it this way: spinal pain is primarily related to movement dysfunction and it makes perfect sense that movement disorders respond better to movement-related treatments (chiropractic, exercise/rehab, yoga, etc.) rather than chemical treatments such as pain pills, anti-inflammatories, injections, etc..
It is my hope that we can move beyond the term “back alignment” or coming in to get your back aligned. Instead, it is my hope that visits to the chiropractor are framed more and more in terms of correcting movement disorders or movement dysfunctions.
Call us at 355-3000 and let us help here at Creek Stone where we are uniquely equipped to give you solid, responsible recommendations and treat you with current technology focused on your complaint.
We want to get right to the point on cervical manipulation and address the elephant in the room. People come into Doctors of Chiropractic all of the time scared to death of having their neck adjusted. Why exactly is that?
I have a couple of theories.
- They have seen far too many Chuck Norris/Rambo/Jackie Chan movies where they had no guns or knives on hand so the only way to do away with a foe was to take their head from behind and twist their neck until you heard an awful cracking noise quickly followed by the victim dropping immediately to the ground dead. On behalf of all chiropractors around the world, I’d like to ask that the movie industry not do this ever again, please. Thank you.
- They were told by their uncle’s cousin’s best friend’s barber that going to the chiropractor is dangerous.
- Worst of all, a healthcare professional told them that going to a chiropractor was dangerous but, “Here, take this pill and you should feel better in no time.” Or how about this one: “We’ll just inject this stuff into you that eats the bones up and only helps about 25% of the time, but it’ll be great.”
Let me first say that the human body, in may aspects, is put together very stoutly and when it comes to a chiropractor manipulating joints, they have to be particularly incompetent or really trying to hurt someone to actually do some serious damage.
Of course there are oddities and doctors should be doing their due diligence before performing any procedure to assess for safety but, assuming the condition is non-complicated, chiropractic spinal manipulation is primarily exceedingly safe.
Here are some simple quick fun facts:
- The odds of being struck and killed by lightning is 1 in 174,426 according to the National Safety Council.
- The odds of being told to “Come on down,” on The Price Is Right is 1 in 36!
- The odds of being born with 11 fingers or toes is 1 in 500.
- The odds of dying from a firearms assault is 1 in 113.
- How about this one: the odds of winning an Oscar are 1 in 11,500.
Now that you know these little tidbits, consider this: the RAND Institute estimates that some sort of adverse event that is the direct result of a cervical manipulation happens in about 1 out of every 1-2 million adjustments.
Feeling better yet? You should. What I’m demonstrating here is that there is very little (to zero) risk in going to the chiropractor.
Everyone has heard of malpractice insurance. Most higher level healthcare practitioners have to carry this insurance because we’re all human. When assessing how much malpractice is going to cost for different professionals, you can certainly count on the insurance companies knowing their numbers.
Knowing this fact, ask yourself the following question, “If there were big risks in going to a chiropractor, why does their malpractice insurance cost 1/10th that of the medical doctors?”
Because the risk is so incredibly low. That is exactly why it is so low for Doctors of Chiropractic to carry malpractice insurance.
I would say another reason is that Doctors of Chiropractic are so highly trained.
Chiropractors have the EXACT SAME basic science courses as medical doctors have and are much more adept at reading x-rays than their medical colleagues. Here are some of the classes chiropractors take:
- Cell Biology
- Gross Anatomy (dissection of human cadavers)
- Systemic Anatomy
- Bone Pathology
- Differential Diagnosis
- Embryology, etc…
If you ever perceived Chiropractors as having attended a weekend course or a 6 month course, you have some homework to do. Doctors of Chiropractic go to school for a total of 8 years. They can get out in maybe 7 years if they are fast-tracking it.
Doctors of Chiropractic also must pass 4 parts to the National Board exams and they are NOT easy, folks. Allowing chiropractors to make a living doing, among other things, cervical manipulation is no joke to a chiropractor nor to their licensing boards.
Here in Texas, chiropractors are accountable to our state licensing board and be sure that if a chiropractor has a history of injuring patients, they likely no longer have their license to practice.
What reasons would a chiropractor recommend using cervical manipulation?
The first reason would be simple, non-complicated neck pain. Many people just wake up one day with neck pain that simply will not go away. Some people have been involved in car wrecks and can’t quite get back to normal. There are lots of reasons for neck pain and people around America are turning to chiropractors for help in alleviating it.
Another reason for cervical manipulation would be headaches. Cervicogenic headaches respond VERY WELL to cervical manipulation. In fact, you’d be amazed at some of the recoveries we’ve seen here in our practice. Many of the recoveries have been from life-long, life-altering migraines.
The reasons for cervical manipulation are varied but the effectiveness is consistent. Below we have picked out some excellent quotes from high-level research that has been performed on cervical manipulation effectiveness:
- “Subacute/chronic patients treated with SMT (spinal manipulative therapy) were significantly more likely to report relevant “improvement” compared with CNRI (CERVICAL NERVE ROOT INJECTION) patients(Peterson CK 2016).”
- “Manual therapy (spinal mobilization) is more effective and less costly for treating neck pain than physiotherapy or care by a general practitioner.”(Korthals-de Bos IB 2003)
- “Moderate quality evidence supports this treatment combination (cervical manual therapy combined with exercise) for pain reduction and improved quality of life over manual therapy alone for chronic neck pain; and suggests greater short-term pain reduction when compared to traditional care for acute whiplash(Miller J 2010)”
- “Our best evidence synthesis suggests that therapies involving manual therapy and exercise are more effective than alternative strategies for patients with neck pain(Hurwitz EL 2008)”
- “There was moderate level evidence to support the immediate effectiveness of cervical spine manipulation in treating people with cervical radiculopathy(Zhu L 2015)”
- “In short, manual therapy techniques and manipulation applied to the suboccipital region for four weeks or more showed great improvement and in effectiveness for several aspects that measure the quality of life of a patient having suffered from tension type headaches(Espi-Lopez G 2016)”
- “Six to eight sessions of upper cervical and upper thoracic manipulation were shown to be more effective than mobilization and exercise in patients with cervicogenic headache, and the effects were maintained at 3 months(Dunning J 2016)”
- “Chiropractic is effective in acute, subacute, and chronic low back pain, migraines and headaches originating from the neck, for the treatment of some forms of dizziness, extremity and joint issues, as well as mid back and acute and subacute neck pain(Bronfort G 2010).”
You may also enjoy a different, more thorough article I authored on this topic at:
We’re going to talk about Chiropractic Manipulation. It’s easy for us to say but, for us, chiropractic manipulation is a no-brainer. We see it every single day. We see chiropractic manipulation take someone from severe pain and and help transition that person into having a life again.
We all know that pain can change a person. While pain is certainly a difficult thing and a difficult concept to deal with, we have seen chiropractic manipulation make all the difference in the world and really be a significant part of decreasing our patients’ level of pain. Not only that, but we’ve seen chiropractic manipulation help us increase a person’s enjoyment of life and increase their ability to go through their normal activities of daily living.
It’s stunning if given the chance through consistency.
A brand new report recently came out from the Annual Gallup-Palmer Report. These reports have given our profession a lot of VERY useful information over the most recent few years concerning chiropractic care, chiropractic manipulation, and how the public uses us.
Some of the insights gathered from the report this year are as follows:
- For neck or back pain care, 8 out of 10 adults in the US (80%) prefer to see a healthcare professional who is an expert in spine-related conditions instead of a general medical professional who treats a variety of conditions (15%). This makes sense. Doctors of chiropractic are absolutely experts in spine-related conditions. In fact, some, like Dr. Jeff Williams in our practice, are either in the process of achieving or have already achieved designation as a Diplomate of American Chiropractic Orthopedists. Some get a Diplomate in Neurology or Radiology. This is in comparison to your general practitioner who treats a myriad of complaints from internal medicine to everything else. While some are absolutely amazing, you just cannot be an expert in EVERYTHING. It makes sense to stick with the practitioners that specialize in your back or neck pain.
- Prescription pain medications are not preferred as a first step for care among the vast majority of US adults. When given a choice, nearly 8 out of 10 say they prefer to try other ways to address physical pain before they take pain medication prescribed by a medical doctor. We are seeing this more and more every day. Patients do NOT want medication that masks the issue. They want solutions and, in the end, back and neck pain are movement-related disorders and it makes sense that treatment employing movement-related treatment will make far more difference for patients that will chemical treatment.
- Among those who saw a health care professional for neck or back pain in the last 12 months, 62% saw a medical doctor and 53% saw a chiropractor. About a third saw a physical therapist (34%) or massage therapist (34%) for care. Well, here at Creek Stone, we have a Doctor of Chiropractic as well as about 4-5 massage therapists. We have 87% of your needs covered according to this poll! Again, medical doctors garner a high percentage because that is our culture in America but, for back and neck pain, chiropractic manipulation is the treatment you should be seeking out first.
- Nearly half of adults who saw a DC for significant neck or back pain (52%) said one of the biggest reasons they chose chiropractic care was because ‘this health care professional provides the most effective treatment for my pain.’ More than four in 10 patients who saw a physical therapist (42%) and 23% who saw a medical doctor for significant neck or back pain said effectiveness was one of the biggest reasons they chose this type of healthcare provider. Again, an expert in your complaint is always going to be far more effective for your condition. If you get a belly ache, you don’t go to a neurologist or a lung doctor. You go to a gastroenterologist. If you have a heart issue, you go to a cardiologist, not a chiropractor. If you have a back or neck problem, your first stop is a doctor of chiropractic and chiropractic manipulation. Plain and simple.
- Roughly nine out of 10 adults who saw a chiropractor most often for significant neck or back pain in the last 12 months say their chiropractor often listens (93%), provides convenient and quick access to care (93%), demonstrates care/compassion (91%), and explains things well (88%) – and 90% of chiropractic patients say that their chiropractor spends the right amount of time with them. All that can be said on this one is that doctors of chiropractic are known for taking time and really caring for their patients. We have to. We don’t have patients knocking down our doors and waiting for hours to see us. We make connections with our patients and typically, we get them better about 80% of the time.
- 53% of the population says Chiropractic is either pain relief, an alternative to medication/surgery/traditional, or spinal manipulation vs. 8% that view chiropractic as holistic, long-term wellness. The other 19% don’t see chiropractic as having any benefits. Make sure you’re contacting an evidence-based, patient-centered Doctor of Chiropractic. You can expect chiropractic manipulation, exercise/rehab, various therapeutic modalities, and an exercise protocol for your own self-management. This is a powerful combination to get you back on track and back into your life.
If we can help you here in Amarillo, TX, call Creek Stone Integrated Care at 806.355.3000 to get your started.
Call Jeff Williams, DC, Chiropractor in Amarillo – your expert in spine-related disorders.