Most people have been taught that pain relief comes in a bottle. Doctors for years have reinforced this idea however patients are realizing that medicinal pain relief does not solve problems. In fact, there is growing evidence that pain relief through medication results in problems becoming more painful over time, otherwise known as chronicity.
Who you visit first will determine your journey through the healthcare system, and govern its costs as well. If you choose to begin with medical primary care, when the medication or injection fails to relieve the pain, you are likely going to visit therapists and other practitioners who look at your painful parts.
Segmenting the care increases the costs through therapies that cannot work due to an inadequate physical examination and excess medical tests when the problem is standing right in front of the healthcare provider. The problem is, that specialists see things through their specialty while your problems, if they looked at you holistically can be obvious.
In our current world of segmented care, we diagnose mountains out of molehills and then refer to the large systems that will send you from provider to provider. A 15-minute visit with a medical primary care provider who does not think holistically or have the time to properly evaluate you will lead to expensive care that is time-consuming and offers poor outcomes and more risk.
Here’s an example of why you should keep it simple for problems involving the musculoskeletal system.
Recently, a friend of mine had this experience as she was trying to understand why she has such severe muscle cramps in her legs at night, or while seated during dinner which forces her to stand and walk around. She asked me a “professional question” while we were having dinner before a Broadway show regarding her constant cramping which worsens after exercise. She had already been through all the blood work, MRI scans, and many of the things that the annals of internal medicine in 2017 said should be avoided for neck and back pain initially.
Her chiropractor in Florida was not very helpful. She said he tried but could not make anything crack.
I explained to her that spinal adjustments work well however, if she is that tight, there is a reason for it. As a rule, forcing things to move is usually ineffective and a great way of making someone very sore. She then stood up to walk around and I noticed she had a mild limp. When she sat down next to me again, I saw postural concerns that are usually reliable clues to why she was having these issues including her right shoulder leaning forward. Her left hip was rotated forward when she walked as well as her legs not going into extension when she walked.
In her case, the right chiropractor who did a thorough history and workup would have seen all of these things and helped her avoid all of these tests which resulted in no change in her condition. She was getting worse over time.
Chiropractic primary care of the musculoskeletal system is efficient, and holistic meaning they are taught to look at you, not just your symptoms. It is much simpler to look at the patient, and perform a functional evaluation instead of a quick evaluation that results in a poor diagnosis, lots of tests, and care that works on the symptoms rather than the reason you hurt.
The first thing I tell patients is we will look at them from the ground up. Our goal is to get a thorough history of not only your pain now but also your history of other problems in the past. This helps us connect the dots behind why you are hurting. Often, history helps us understand how to examine you.
The exam is functional and looks at how you move and what provokes the pain. The orthopedic and neurological tests help us determine some of what is wrong, however, the exam begins the moment we begin our history conversation. Active tests which are rarely done in medical offices and postural evaluations can help us show you why your knee, back, shoulder, neck, or knee hurts.
It is not uncommon for neck pain and headaches to result from a lower back or postural problem beginning in the feet. The same with the acute stiff neck otherwise known as torticollis. If the problem is in the lower back but the symptom is neck pain and headaches, why are we treating the symptom? The truth is that patient expectations are often developed around where it hurts. Good doctors work on why it hurts.
The amount of people turning to chiropractic care is growing due to the efficient practices these doctors have been using. Most practices have a doctor who diagnoses and treats you, keeping things simple.
The exam is often thorough and focuses on the mechanism of pain.
Research shows that most back, neck, shoulder, knee, and foot problems are due to how we move. Chiropractic sports physicians will look at all the possibilities during your exam.
Treatment consists of Spinal and extremity manipulation and soft tissue treatments such as myofascial release to improve movement and flexibility. Exercises are instructed and given as homework to do to improve outcomes and strengthen and reeducate the musculoskeletal system. These exercises are also a tool kit patients can refer to once their care is complete.
Chiropractic physicians have low malpractice rates compared to most physicians due to their level of safety. Chiropractic is a highly effective and safe method of evaluation and treatment and has been endorsed by Consumer Reports and many other publications. Optum Health, a division of United Healthcare has studied the profession and has claimed the profession has helped them save millions while improving outcomes.
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