In my 5 years of practice, I find myself answering the same questions over and over again at my Robinson chiropractic office. Chiropractic is still a relatively new paradigm, so naturally, people are curious. I decided to start writing to help educate people on what chiropractic can do, what my practice can help with in particular, and hopefully provide people with health care options they did not know were available. I will start with my approach to chiropractic care.
I believe most pain is biomechanical and is NOT due to spinal misalignments, as many chiropractors would have you believe (sorry D.D. Palmer-google him). You may be surprised to hear this from a chiropractor since that is sort of the foundation of chiropractic, but I digress. Some chiropractors may tell you that your knee pain is due to misalignment of your L4/L5 vertebrae (I’m not saying it can’t be) as seen on x-ray and you need to come in for 36 visits to get your spine realigned or you will always have pain. News flash- everybody has misalignments. I could take a perfectly normal x-ray, find something wrong with it, and convince you that “misalignment” is causing your pain. I have seen patients with 45 degrees of scoliosis that function pain free and I have seen patients with beautiful x-rays that can barely walk. This is why I don’t put too much emphasis on static position of your bones, or misalignments. I prefer to emphasize that beautiful word- function. If you are functioning well, you usually won’t have pain because that is how your body was designed to function- without pain.
Unfortunately, none of us were created perfectly balanced which, over time, leads to functional deficits. Over time the stress from these imbalances builds up somewhere within our mechanical system. Think of driving a car that is out of balance. It may be able to function decently for a while, but eventually the machinery will get worn down and something will give. Our bodies are no different. The accumulation of stress from minor imbalances in our mechanics causes dysfunction and eventually pain, from neck pain headaches to the inability to stand or walk.
So what do we do about this? Sure you can take medicine to mask the pain while your body heals itself, and it will heal itself because your body is extremely good at healing. At the end of the day, though, whatever functional deficit that caused the pain is still there and you can expect it to return at some point. You can “get adjusted” which will make the pain go away by temporarily restoring motion and function while your body heals itself, but if you haven’t identified the functional problem and fixed it, that pain will return just like it will with medicine. This is where the “once you see a chiropractor you have to go the rest of your life” myth comes from. In my humble opinion, too few chiros, orthos, PTs, etc. emphasize correcting the functional problem like they should. I believe that what you are doing at home is just as important as what gets done at the doctors office. This is why the long term 30 visit “treatment plans” baffle me and why I place a strong emphasis on identifying why you have pain and giving you the tools to fix it. My job as the leading chiropractor in Robinson, Township PA is to get you out of pain as quickly as possible so you are able to fix whatever functional deficit caused your pain, and teach you how to keep it that way. My job is not to treat you for the rest of your life. This leads us into core stability (sorry but abs are not your core), posture (your mom was right- it’s important), home exercises (sorry but a bird dog and planks do not qualify as home exercises), and even nutrition (yes sugar causes pain). I will go into these in more detail in future posts, as well as break down individual conditions and what I believe causes each.