Chiropractic: What Should I Expect From A Good Chiropractor?
Far too often in today’s healthcare system, patients are being let down by their healthcare providers and Chiropractic is no different. As the patient, you deserve to be guided back to health appropriately and efficiently. Too many injured and ailing people are not being thoroughly evaluated, therefore not receiving appropriate conservative care, nor are they given a game plan to prevent the pain or injury from returning in the future. There are many types of ailments and illnesses, but for the purpose of this article we will be discussing musculo-skeletal pain and injuries.
There are 3 fundamental aspects of care you deserve as the patient:
- Comprehensive Evaluation and Assessment
- Conservative Treatment Options
- Prevention Training
Comprehensive Evaluation and Assessment
Too often we hear of patients who received chiropractic care and did not receive any form of consultation to discuss their pain, nor an exam to determine a diagnosis. They were simply ushered into a room, asked where it hurts and treated. Another scenario is a patient presents to their primary care physician or specialist and they are given a proper history and consultation, but a very low-level musculoskeletal exam. Many times, the doctor doesn’t assess the muscle tissue, joint function and/or the movement of the patient. There may be a few orthopedic tests, a referral diagnostic imaging, a suggestion of rest and finally prescribe you some medication to help “manage” your condition.
As a patient it is important to understand what you should expect from a comprehensive evaluation and assessment. Your evaluation and assessment should provide you with a working diagnosis and the potential indirect causes of the pain or injury. The diagnosis should be specific and clearly communicated.
In order to determine an appropriate working diagnosis a comprehensive evaluation should include, but is not limited to:
- A thorough History & Consultation
- Functional Assessment: Assessing weakness, tightness, faulty movement patterns.
- Orthopedic Exams, Range Of Motion, Neurological testing as needed.
- Muscle and Joint Palpation/Testing.
- Gait Analysis (if necessary)
When a thorough evaluation and assessment is performed it provides the doctor with the information required to determine the appropriate course of care. This allows for an informed decision regarding which conservative treatment options would be best suited for your individual case.
Conservative Treatment Options
Everyone deserves to have a comprehensive, hands-on approach to their pain or injury. Most patients respond best to a specific combination of therapies. This may include muscle therapy, joint manipulation, rehab exercises, and advice on how to train and prevent further injury. You may not need both muscle therapy and chiropractic joint manipulation for all pain or injuries, but many will optimally benefit from all four approaches above.
Conservative treatment should not be a “one size fits all” approach. With multiple therapies available, each targeting a different tissue, it is important that your care plan is individualized based on the findings from your comprehensive assessment.
There is nothing more frustrating than the return of the pain or injury. There are many potential factors that can contribute to re-aggravation of your injury or symptoms. These include; over-use strain from work, life or sport, not following the prescribed exercises, or the lack of injury prevention training from your healthcare provider. As an informed patient, these are a sample of some prevention options you should expect instructions on.
- Activities of Daily Living Advice: Many activities we do in our daily life cause physical strain when performed improperly.
- Return to Work/Sport Advice: Proper time frame for return and potential modifications.
- Body Awareness and Preparation: Proper lifting, bending, posture, etc.
- Corrective Exercises: Core or joint stability exercises.
- Desk Ergonomics Tips: Helping position your work area for success.
- Proper Equipment recommendations: Proper running shoes for a runner.
- Skills/Technique Training: Golf swing technique from a teaching professional.
To summarize, there are many potential shortcomings when seeking chiropractic care for musculoskeletal pain or injury. The first step is being an informed patient, and understanding what quality care entails. I have outlined some key points that you, as an informed patient, should come to expect from your provider when seeking treatment for a musculoskeletal condition.
- A comprehensive assessment including but not limited to a thorough history, a functional movement assessment, palpation (assessing by hand) of the joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments
- An exam that assesses the body as a whole in order to determine the cause, and does not only focus on the point of pain. For example, many times a patient with low back pain has hip range-of-motion and mid-back mobility issues that have led to the low back being over-worked.
- A specific working diagnosis based off of the comprehensive exam.
- All conservative treatment options should be explained and discussed, offering you a chance to ask any questions you might have and provide clarity regarding your plan.
- You should expect to receive advice regarding preventative care for your injury, so once you are out of pain, you can avoid re-injury or aggravations.
If you are looking for chiropractic care in the Friendswood, TX area, one of our doctors would be happy to give you a full consultation and exam, explain your diagnosis, discuss your treatment options and begin the healing process with you.
If you are read, give us a call at 281-993-2122 or schedule online today!