Maybe you’ve heard about chiropractic care through a friend or did some research online. Maybe you’re just tired of living in pain. If going to the chiropractor is a new experience for you, don’t worry! We’re here to help you shed your pain and get back on your feet. Your first visit to our practice will be about getting to know your chiropractor, and a chance for us to get to know you! Appointments at our office typically begin with a bit of paperwork, as you no doubt would expect. Dr. Opachich (Dr. Pat) will perform a physical examination to learn more about the cause of your pain. We’ll also discuss your current condition and your goals. We will take a look at the overall results, and, together, come up with a plan of action specifically for you. We will talk about the type of treatment you will be receiving, any preparation necessary before beginning treatment, and when you can expect to see results. We will also discuss any lifestyle changes that may help you with your goals. As your partner in improving your health, we will be with you every step of the way during your treatment.
Current research reveals that most causes of neck or back pain are due to what's called a primary subluxation. These are restrictions at dural attachment points (around the spinal cord). These are due to chemical (bad diet/toxins), mental (stress) or structural (posture, etc.) stresses to the body. There usually are no symptoms at these sites but these cause a neurological response, most commonly elsewhere in the spine, which we call a secondary subluxation. It is here that we find pain and muscle spasms as a compensation to the primary site. It is the primary subluxation that must be treated to correct the cause of the problem, otherwise the secondary/pain site will persist. It is also important to understand that as the primary subluxation causes a neurological response, the effects can go beyond pain at a secondary site. It can affect many systems in the body. Nerves go everywhere!
Some cases of neck or back pain are due to injuries or malfunctioning spinal (facet) joints which are due to the common incidents of everyday life – strenuous work, poor posture, etc.. Over time these facet joints develop adhesions (scar tissue) which cause them to lock up (joint fixation). When this happens the other facet joints in the area now move more & farther than usual to compensate for the “fixated” (locked) joint. It are these overworked joints that get inflamed and cause pain and spasms.
The primary objective is to find the primary subluxation and correct it. This is done using a method known as Torque Release Technique. Once the primary subluxation is identified, an instrument known as the Integrator is used to correct it. Physical therapy is used to alleviate pain and spasms at the secondary subluxation site. Occasionally we must find fixated joints and free them up. Motion palpation is a chiropractic diagnostic procedure in which the doctor uses his hands to feel for the motion (or lack thereof) at each of the vertebral facet joints. Once the fixated joints are identified, specific chiropractic manipulations (by hand or instrument) are administered to bring about the normal full range of motion. Also when needed flexion-distraction manipulation is done on a specialized table to reduce lumbar disc herniations. We also use physical therapy and massage therapy to assist in healing, to decrease muscle spasm, swelling, etc. in the area.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?
Treatment time varies from one person to another. Depending on age, health, occupation, posture, the severity of the injury, how long injury has been present, etc. The average patient is symptom-free in 5 to 6 visits. However, recovery is not just pain relief, but the attainment of a normal, healthy, mobile spine which is free of subluxations. Usually, a few more treatments are needed beyond the point of pain relief to reach the point of total correction. Otherwise, you might leave yourself open to a relapse or start a chronic problem. Maintenance checks are a good idea as the 3 stressors (chemical, mental and structural) are always coming at us and causing primary subluxations.
The good news is that Torque Release Technique and motion palpation can be used as screening tests in prevention procedures. Subluxations that develop today, if left unattended become major and more difficult problems in the future, and can be the underlying cause of deteriorating health. Remember, nerves go everywhere and if uncorrected, abnormal spinal mechanics will result in progressive local degeneration; such as bone spurs, deformation, disc thinning, etc. A skilled Chiropractor can detect and correct subluxations early.
Just as you should seek periodic dental examination to detect cavities, it is equally important to have a spinal checkup at least every six months, more often if you want to stay fine tuned or have a chronic problem. In doing so we are truly practicing health care instead of sickness and disease care. Beyond providing specific treatment, we can help you in health maintenance by teaching you to be more aware of your role in preventing spinal problems through proper exercise, posture, stress control and diet. The highest function of a doctor is to prevent what he treats!