New Easy Ways Chiropractors Help Through Telehealth
Dr. Jeff Williams, chiropractor and orthopedic specialist in Amarillo, TX offering TeleHealth Appointments explains
When the pandemic really kicked into gear in March 2020, many of my colleagues and I made a fairly rapid pivot. The question that had to be answered was, "If we know that pain doesn’t take a break just because a pandemic has taken over, then how do we continue to take care of patients during a pandemic?" The pain is still there. Patients just no longer had the option of being safely evaluated for a period of time.
For some, that period of time is still ongoing.
This pivot was much easier for some than it was for others. For our clinic, it was fairly straightforward and a simple transition. With me having a Fellowship in neuromusculoskeletal medicine and being an orthopedic specialist, my direction forward was very clear. For me, chiropractic is a profession. It is not simply a treatment modality such as popping bones. While popping bones, also called spinal manipulative therapy, is the cornerstone of what we do at Creek Stone, it is not the sole treatment.
In general, chiropractors should either stabilize or mobilize joints or regions of the body. Popping bones is but one method of mobilizing. But what about exercise and rehab? What about stretching and increasing one’s range of motion? What about strength building to stabilize certain areas?
If a person thinks that chiropractic only concerns itself with popping bones, then they would understandably have a difficult time imagining how a chiropractor can conduct a virtual office visit. What would that even look like? After all, a chiropractor can’t reach through an electronic device and pop bones. However, for those patients that realize chiropractic is a profession and not just one modality, then it is not such a difficult thing to wrap one's head around.
Chiropractic is an umbrella under which many types of therapies exist that can be used to the patient’s advantage. Again, spinal manipulative therapy is the cornerstone of the chiropractic profession but chiropractors commonly use massage and soft tissue techniques, targeted exercises, low-level laser treatments, new shockwave treatment, acupuncture, balance training, and biomechanical and postural recommendations just to name a few.
Because of the wide array of treatments available to doctors of chiropractic, there are techniques we can use to evaluate a patient at a distance through the wonders of technology and TeleHealth. This allows chiropractors to evaluate from a distance and to make solid recommendations going forward that can help patients self-manage their issues from afar.
Let me give you an example. Let’s pretend a patient schedules a TeleHealth appointment with us and the patient is suffering from low back pain. I would first determine the history of the injury which can tell us a vast amount about what is going on.
Then I would observe how the patient moves to make sure to note what hurts and what doesn’t hurt. What triggers the pain and what movement relieves the pain. Does it hurt when the patient stands from a seated position? Does it hurt if they cough or sneeze? Does walking help or hurt. There are questions that can help us dial in and decide what is causing the pain.
Even without physically touching someone, through the history, observation, and knowledge of how certain conditions behave, I can usually come to a fairly quick and solid conclusion as to what’s causing the pain.
Let us assume I determine the patient is suffering from pain caused by a posterior disc herniation that causes pain down the legs when they bend forward. From there, I would be able to guide the patient through some very specific exercises that focus on extension at the waist instead of bending forward at the waist. I would then lead the patient through a comprehensive discussion with regards to proper biomechanics, moving and lifting correctly, and ways to manage any flare-ups.
This disc patient that had no way of being treated is now able to be competently treated from the comfort of their own home while getting ideas and recommendations for ongoing self-management and prevention of flare-ups.
Another great use for Telehealth appointments is for second opinions. For example, a patient may live in rural Texas and not have a wide range of options when it comes to chiropractors, medical doctors, or orthopedic surgeons. Many times, patients feel they are railroaded into shots and surgeries and pharmaceuticals when they’re either against it or just don’t trust what they’re being told. Many times we develop a gut feeling and want other options.
This is where Telehealth can come in handy. We may be close to a thousand miles from a patient but can still give them an honest and independent evaluaton of what we think and can give guidance going forward.
TeleHealth appointments really are ideal for these patients because insurance covers the visits and the patients do not have to drive hundreds of miles to be evaluated by an orthopedic specialist.
The pandemic has led to a lot of negative things for all of us. But, in times of difficultly and stress, fresh and new things can emerge as well. Things that truly help enhance our lives. I absolutely believe that Telehealth appointments with an evidence-based, patient-centered practitioner like myself are one of those things.
Call us at 806-355-3000 and get yourself on our schedule for your Telehealth appointment. Alternatively, you can simply click HERE to be taken to our TeleHealth page.
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 (https://www.chiropracticforward.com). 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 was voted Best Chiropractor In Amarillo in the Best of Amarillo 2020. Dr. Williams's full-time Amarillo chiropractic practice is Creek Stone Integrated Care at 3501 SW 45th St., Ste. T, Amarillo, TX 79109. If you are searching for a chiropractor near me, Dr. Williams is your Amarillo Chiropractor.