Amarillo Chiropractor Tells How To Know If You Need To Go To The Chiropractor?
Chiropractor in Amarillo TX discusses when you should and should not go to a chiropractor
I’m going to share a secret with you that may get me in trouble with some chiropractors. The secret is this; not everyone needs to go to the chiropractor. It’s true. Not only that, but very few people actually need to visit a chiropractor once per week for an extended period of time.
You may have heard that if a patient has a spine, they need to see a chiropractor. This just is not a fact when we look at the research on the matter.
Not to say that the chiropractors propagating this idea are intentionally misleading. Not at all. Many believe each and every person should be under constant chiropractic care from birth to death. It is not their fault. In most cases, they were taught this at seminars and, sometimes, in chiropractic college. Depending on which college they attended, of course.
In general, a patient should have a treatment schedule with a beginning and an ending. It should not be long-term, throughout the year in most cases. There are some more severe car wreck injuries that could last more than a year. But, by and large, most patients need us to help them short-term and teach them to self-manage their condition on their own at home.
Who Needs To See A Chiropractor?
The first obvious group of patients that need to see a chiropractor is the group of patients having pain. It goes without saying that if a person is suffering from non-complicated musculoskeletal pain, it makes sense to see a chiropractor.
It all comes down to a chiropractor that can do a competent and very thorough initial exam. Treatment starts with a specific and correct diagnosis.
Non-complicated means without serious complications such as a fracture or something that may require surgical intervention for correction. Run-of-the-mill musculoskeletal pain is typically treated more effectively by chiropractors that are skilled in implementing exercise and strengthening activities as part of their treatment protocols.
Let’s face it, folks; while family practitioners are very talented at treating within their wheelhouse (diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, etc.), they have not been trained or been given particularly effective strategies for treating non-complicated musculoskeletal spinal or joint pain. They just haven’t.
Usual medical treatment for such a thing has been anti-inflammatories, pain medication, and/or muscle relaxers. More and more research has emerged over the last several years showing the sincere ineffectiveness of these modes of treatment. In addition, we have been unfortunately learning more and more about the harms of many of them.
Most spinal or joint pain responds very favorably to manual therapy, manipulation, and to exercise and strengthening activities. When we are combining these strategies, our patients are the winners.
Another great set of patients doing well with chiropractic care are those suffering from disc bulges, disc herniation, degenerated discs, dehydrated discs, arm pain/numbness, leg pain/numbness, facet pain, and/or stenosis. All of these conditions are very effectively managed conservatively by a smart, responsible, and evidence-based chiropractor that knows well when the condition needs to be managed in their clinic or if it needs to be sent out.
The duration of the pain really matters but…..it doesn’t matter with regard to whether you should see a chiropractor. It matters because short-lived pain takes less time to resolve whereas long-term or chronic, pain is a whole different beast and takes longer to resolve. Just to be specific, the National Pain Strategy defines chronic pain as having pain at least every other day for 6 months or more.
Common sense, and of course research, tells us that chronic pain is much harder to treat than acute pain and takes longer in general.
Both chronic and acute pain patients should be under the care of an evidence-based chiropractor though. No doubt.
Who Does Not Need To See A Chiropractor?
There are those that simply do not need a chiropractor. An astute and educated chiropractor can usually pick up some hints on the initial exam as to if a patient is a poor candidate for spinal manipulative therapy. For example, hypermobile people are not always good candidates. If I ask a patient to bend over and touch their toes and they go straight over and put their hands flat on the floor, they may be hypermobile as a result of a connective tissue disorder. At that point, we put our patients through the Beighton Scale on connective tissue disorders to assess where they lie on the scale.
Hypermobile patients already have too much movement in the joints of their entire bodies. That’s why putting MORE movement into the joints is not always the ideal thing to do. Hypermobile people that are stretchy already do better with weight training and strengthening activities to stiffen and firm up their joints.
We do not typically treat pregnant mommy-to-be’s before the 12-week mark or after the 36-week mark in the pregnancy. Although we can have a profound effect on their pain during the window we CAN work with them.
While we can still use non-aggressive means to treat them, osteoporotic patients are not ideal chiropractic candidates. At least not for the traditional high velocity, low amplitude adjustments that chiropractors are most normally associated with.
Those having had prior strokes; it is not usually a good idea to have traditional adjustments to the neck region in these patients. Although, again, much like osteoporosis, there are techniques to still help these patients outside of the manual, hands-on, neck adjustments.
Cauda Equina syndrome is a dangerous condition and an emergency. This is when the patient is having numbness or tingling in any area of skin that would touch a saddle and/or difficulty controlling bowel or bladder function. As mentioned, this is an emergency and needs to be at the hospital. Not in a chiropractic office.
While there are other reasons chiropractic may not be right for a person, those are the ones coming to mind immediately.
In short, people need to quit looking to shots and/or medication as the cure-all for non-complicated musculoskeletal pain.
- The opioid epidemic is to blame for 71,000 deaths in 2018 alone.
- Tylenol and Ibuprofen send over 100,000 Americans to the ER every year and are to blame for 16,000 every year.
- Pain killers, anti-inflammatories, and muscle relaxers are mostly ineffective and spinal manipulative therapy has been proven equal to them in comparison research papers.
- Spinal surgeries have been shown to have increased dramatically over the years but the outcomes as a result of the surgeries have shown no change. Meaning they are somewhat ineffective.
- In addition, the research behind most spinal surgery is not adequate enough to even consider taking on the risk when you look at the percentage that fails or must be repeated. I’m just being honest here; there are clear reasons to do everything possible to avoid any spinal surgeries.
Then consider this:
- The American College of Physicians updated recommendations in 2016 saying that spinal manipulative therapy, exercise, massage, and acupuncture are recommended first-line therapies for back pain.
- The VA system in America now sends its veterans to chiropractors and acupuncturists and the Federal government pays for it. Because the research is so convincing on the matter.
- Almost every insurance plan covers chiropractic
- And every professional and most college sports teams have a chiropractor.
If you need a chiropractor, now is the time to call one. A good guide to get you started finding an evidence-based, knowledgeable chiropractor is by going to this website and looking at the map to see who is in your area.
If you’re in the Amarillo, TX area, of course, feel free to give us a call. We’ll be happy to start working with you immediately.
Dr. Jeff Williams, DC, FIANM is a Fellowship-trained Neuromusculoskeletal specialist and chiropractor in Amarillo, TX. As an Amarillo chiropractor, Dr. Williams treats chronic pain, disc pain, low back pain, neck pain, whiplash injuries, and more. Dr. Williams is also the host of The Chiropractic Forward Podcast. Through the podcast, Dr. Williams teaches fellow chiropractors and advocates weekly for evidence-based, patient-centered practice through current and relevant research. If you have any questions for Dr. Williams, feel free to email at [email protected]
Learn more about Dr. Williams and his practice at https://www.amarillochiropractor.com. Dr. Williams's full-time Amarillo chiropractic practice is Creek Stone Integrated Care at 3501 SW 45th St., Ste. T, Amarillo, TX 79109