To a clinician, there are a variety of reasons that the public comes knocking. As a chiropractic physician, the overwhelming reason for that initial visit boils down to the presence of pain. Pain is the problem and people come to us looking for a solution. Sure, chiropractors are in the healthcare field and many have opened their own practices but the bottom line is that we are in the solutions business and to be successful you must give the people what they want.
Now, treating pain naturally is a chiropractor’s specialty. The use of various soft tissue techniques, cold laser or e-stem, and of course the adjustment all can work wonders in alleviating pain. However, many times the pain returns after the initial relief from treatment. The reason for this is that the underlying cause of pain was never addressed. This is where the profession and healthcare as a whole falls short.
When someone presents with a symptom such as pain, the goal of both the practitioner and patient is to get out of that pain. However, pain alleviation should be just phase one of the treatment progression. Throwing a treatment at pain, whether it be an adjustment or drug, is nothing more than symptom care at its best. Granted, the all-natural former comes with virtually no negative side effects but the application of both by their lonesome remains the same. This is “sick” or “symptom care” that usually leaves the pour soul dependent on treatments due to ignorance, greed, laziness or a combination of all three by the practitioner.
This is one of the main reasons that chiropractors are looked at in a negative light, as the constant need for treatment has many proclaiming, “that once you go to a chiropractor you need to go forever.” On the same level, it is the reason people pop NSAIDs or prescription pain killers like daily vitamins (yet it seems there is less discontent in resigning to the latter).
It must be pointed out here that it truly does take two to tango in these situations. The reason NSAID sales, prescription drugs and non-stop palliative chiropractic treatments even exist is because there is a market for it. It is not just the practitioner who is lazy or ignorant. Breaking the pain-treatment cycle takes more time and effort and thus many on both sides of the equation do not want to be put out.
The proper way to approach any health issue, whether it be pain or any other symptom, is to take it a step further and find the break down in function. Symptoms such as pain are helpful signs from our body letting us know that something is wrong. Somewhere along the line a breakdown in optimal function has occurred and because of that, symptoms of that breakdown are now outwardly manifesting themselves to the point that we have the pleasure of meeting and working together.
For the sake of this discussion, we will stay focused on pain and take it one step further to the chiropractor’s traditional forte: back pain. Back pain continues to be one of the most debilitating conditions in this country and if the current trends continue, the majority of us will unfortunately fall victim to chronic back pain at some time or another.
Well, this is your wake up call. You don’t need to be another statistic. Just because something is deemed “the norm” due to the majority of the population succumbing to it, doesn’t make it right. You can free yourself from the back pain sentence if you work with a well-trained healthcare professional to identify its cause and do what you can to properly heal and prevent it in the future.
As we stated, pain is a symptom that manifests due to an underlying breakdown in function. Outside of trauma, back pain in this country is largely a result of our culture of desk jobs, prolonged sitting and poor posture. What happens is our anterior muscles become tightened and shortened due to us always leaning forward. This leaves our posterior muscles (think glutes, hamstrings, spinal muscles, etc.) lengthened and weakened. The problem here is that it is these muscles of the posterior chain that are designed to move us efficiently through the world.
Somewhere along the way in our world of laptops and long hours seated we have picked up a new hunched forward posture and thus a new movement pattern. Just like with anything else, we eventually adapt to this new mode of operation even though it is not the most efficient for our bodies. The result is an eventual structural breakdown in the form of disc herniations, osteoarthritis, muscle strains and inflammation.
So how do we tie this all together? Well, obviously the pain needs to be addressed. It is the reason treatment was sought in the first place. Once the pain is alleviated, it needs to be understood that this pain was not just a random, inevitable occurrence. It occurred for a reason and many times it was due to these faulty movement patterns and a breakdown in proper function as we described.
At this point, it takes extra effort and commitment by both patient and practitioner in order to identify the exact breakdown in function and work together diligently to reset and reprogram the body’s movement pattern. This is done through repetition and a controlled, intelligent progression through exercises and treatments in order to rebuild the foundation and retrain the body to move correctly. Only then can we see long lasting relief and prevention of pain.
If any of this resonates with you as it has with me and you would like to work together to not only get out of pain but prevent it in the future, please give me a call (321-848-0987) and let’s get to work on a pain free, smooth moving life.