Too many specialists for your painful joints often fail to solve anything. Here’s what to do instead.
A patient recently visited with neck pain, shoulder pain, hip pain, knee pain, and wrist pain. She has recently been seen by a rheumatologist for inflammation, an orthopedic for her back and hip pain, and a therapist for her shoulders, neck, and arms. Months later, with thousands of dollars in MRIs, blood tests, and therapy she visited us hoping we had a better answer for why she was in pain, unwilling to stay on the medication that did little to relieve her pain. Collectively, all these providers had no answers as to why she was in pain, but they all had tests and treatments yet none of them solved any of her problems.
Years ago, medical primary care providers would take the time to help their patients stay out of the system. Today, with our conveyor belt corporate medicine machine, primary care is reduced to a 15-minute intake and a referral for anything they cannot solve with a pill. Increasingly, these appointments are not readily available and patients are resorting to visiting the many walk-in clinics now owned by large hospital systems or large clinic owners. Most of these triage centers offer one-size-fits-all solutions to what you are suffering from and often get it wrong when it comes to many complaints which are commonly musculoskeletal in nature. If you do get a referral to a specialist, be prepared to wait for months for that appointment as primary care no longer does these workups. True emergencies often go to the emergency room (ER) and are often forced to wait hours before being seen, and most of these are overloaded partly because every doctor’s answering service suggests emergencies go to the ER.
The medical system has always done a poor job of managing musculoskeletal pain, and the system has never worked more poorly as care is mechanized by treatment algorithms and protocols that often fail to fix or solve anything but cost a fortune. Is it any wonder why our healthcare costs in the U.S.A. continue to skyrocket compared to other countries that still have some sort of effective primary care systems?
Chiropractors are your best option for cost-effective drug-free primary care of the musculoskeletal system.
Segmented protocol-based care has proven to be costly, ineffective, and in some cases dangerous. Worse, you are not a protocol.
How can a 5″1 woman with wide hips and flat feet be looked at the same way as a 5’8″ male with moderate arches and asymmetry in the feet the same way? How can we overlook that one may have genetically come from Eastern Europe, while the other was Asian? Scientists are now realizing this as they attempt to cure different diseases with a genetic basis. As reported in this blog, a more diverse genome model is now being used as they realize that our gene pools have significant differences.
Perhaps, this is one huge advantage patients who visit chiropractors first have against the conveyor belt system of care; a holistic approach to evaluation, history, and care is far more effective at solving why you hurt based on their understanding of why you hurt.
Do you really need segmented care and all of those people when the current research shows us that chronic pain is usually relieved by improving movement? One doctor using a primary care approach to why you hurt which is specific to your unique reasons for being in pain can be far more effective. To understand your symptoms, we do the math by understanding the mechanism behind your pain.
This describes today’s chiropractor. Chiropractors are not just about necks or backs and I often hear people say to me that I crack a lot of backs. I will correct them and explain I am a body mechanic who fixes those of us who are broken but don’t know why. A mechanical problem in the feet for instance can cause your elbows neck and shoulders to ache. It may also be responsible for the pain in the knees going up and downstairs. You don’t usually need a number of specialists or tests to determine this. What you do need is a thorough evaluation where the doctor shows you what is going on, can explain it simply, and can offer you a rational path to feeling better, having more energy, and a functional improvement that will have benefits for years to come.
In other words, chiropractors keep it simple.
What to expect on your first chiropractic visit.
Initially, the doctor will have their staff check your blood pressure and have a conversation regarding your current and past complaints. This deep history will help them while performing your exam. During the consultation, the doctor may share with you what they notice about your sitting posture as this can often be relevant to why you hurt.
If needed, the doctor may recommend X-rays to rule out past trauma, degenerated joints, or other suspected abnormalities.
Treatment usually commences during the first visit and the doctor is likely to perform spinal manipulation or extremity work depending on what is found. Myofascial release is often performed to improve how you move before trying to manipulate those joints.
Foot orthotics are often part of the management strategy as many patients with back and neck problems are unlevel. Foot orthotics are the simplest way to level the hips and pelvis which can help you feel and function better.
Follow-up visits are patient-centered and may include exercises to improve how you move and function.
Once a patient improves markedly and has reached the doctor’s goals, they are discharged from active care and may have periodic care recommended to help them stay healthy.
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