Phone: (606)549-4811 * Fax: (606) 549-4814 * E-mail: * 410 Sycamore Street, Williamsburg, KY 40769

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How Do I Know If I Need To See A Chiropractor? What About Pain?

Did you know that even chiropractors cannot tell if they have a stuck spinal bone that needs to be adjusted unless they have another chiropractor examine them?  For this reason our doctors get checked by each other once a week to prevent problems down the road even if they don't have symptoms.  It would be nice if we could all get checked every day to detect stuck joints as soon as they occur and fix them before they create problems.  However, we do not live in an ideal world.  In our "real world" none of us can visit a chiropractor every day any more than we can eat a perfect diet, exercise for an hour every day of our lives, or avoid chemical toxins or stress all day every day.  Our doctors understand that even at our low cost of $25.00 per visit for a wellness check, spending that money or taking fifteen to thirty minutes out of your busy life to see a chiropractor every week or every month may not be possible for some folks.

That is why we created this blog series to give patients who are interested in "preventative care" or "early detection" some things that that they can do quickly and for free at home to determine if they are likely have a stuck joint that our doctors need to correct. By doing so, they don't need to come in every day to get checked but they are still more likely to catch the problem before it causes major symptoms or complications if the stuck joint stresses the nearby muscles or nerves for too long. 

Previously we have talked about the roles of posture analysis and range of motion in the early detection of stuck joints.  This week's tip is a straight-forward way to tell if you may need to be checked by a chiropractor:  IF YOU FEEL PAIN YOU MIGHT HAVE A CHIROPRACTIC MISALIGNMENT!  Most folks know that pain may be a sign that you need to see a chiropractor, because the search for pain relief is what drives most patients to our office.  No pain is "normal" and all pain in muscles and joints is an indicator that something needs to be rested or taken care of in some way.  Pain can be an indicator that you need to see a chiropractor, but we saved this topic for last because pain is not the best indicator of if you may need to be adjusted.  If you have been in our office before, you probably know that chiropractors don't adjust just to correct pain, but instead we adjust to correct stuck joints which may or may not cause pain.  This is a subtle, but very important, concept in understanding the kind of chiropractic we provide. 

All of us will occasionally perform an activity out of our normal routine that causes us to feel sore afterwards, and this may not necessarily mean that we need to see a chiropractor immediately.  After periods of intense activity we often recommend that patients simply ice and rest the affected joint to relieve inflammation.  If the problem goes away, the pain probably just means you overdid it; in that case it never hurts to get checked by a chiropractor for the sake of wellness and prevention, but the pain itself shouldn't drive you to visit us.  However, if the pain doesn't go away with ice and rest, if it comes back over and over, or if the pain is very severe it is probably a good time to get checked by a chiropractor as soon as you can.  That kind of pain may be an indication that you have a joint problem we can help you with before it has a bigger impact on the muscles and nerves in that area.

Having finally agreed with the idea that pain may be a good indication that you need to see a chiropractor, did you know that we are actually more concerned with your ability to perform your activities of daily living than we are with pain levels?  That is why every time you come in to see our doctors you answer ten easy questions about your activity restrictions and only one question about pain levels.

Why do we care more about activity restrictions than we do about pain?  Because we have your best interest in mind.  Research shows that folks who resume their normal activities as soon as possible after an injury are far less likely to develop chronic or disabling conditions than people with similar injuries who stop doing those activities.  Additionally, if a patient can't walk or stay active due to low back problems, he or she will probably gain weight and carrying that extra little bit of weight around will only serve to make the low back pain even worse.  At the end of the day, the activities that you perform are significantly more important that how bad the pain is because they will determine how long-term your condition is.  Think of it this way:  Who is really better off, the guy whose pain goes away because he is sitting on the couch all day and doped up on pain pills or the guy whose pain only gets some better but he is able to return to work and cut grass without his pain stopping him and without having to take pain pills?  In the big picture, the pain-free guy sitting on the couch might actually find himself even worse off in five years than he is now unless something changes.

Using these simple tools and the ones we have discussed in previous blogs, we can work together to make sure our doctors have a chance to detect chiropractic misalignments and correct them before they fester for too long and create major problems for you.  The good news is that we can do that without you having to see us three times a week for the rest of your life.  If you are passionate about chiropractic and you insist on spending time with us every day of the week please fill out a job application with us and we might pay you to spend time in our office that often, but we really think it is in your best interest to not be adjusted that much when all you need to do is take care of yourself at home and see us periodically for flare ups or for an occasional preventative checkup.

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