You've thought about seeing a chiropractor before, but have hesitated because you:
- Heard it was "BS" or "quackery"
- Thought that once you start going, you'll have to go for life
- Were afraid of being adjusted
- Thought they just won't be able to help
Let's first address the reality that all chiropractors are not the same. While "chiropractic" refers to the profession as a whole, what many people experience - from one chiropractor to the next - can be quite different. There are numerous techniques and specialization within chiropractic that enable chiropractors to do more than "just crack necks and backs".
In fact, chiropractors have the ability to successfully treat a number of common musculoskeletal problems. Below you will find five reasons why you shouldn't be so skeptical of chiropractors and why finding a great chiropractor can prove to be a priceless investment to your health and well being.
1. Solve joint and muscle pain without unnecessary medication or surgery
Let's illustrate the significance of this point with an all-too-common experience for many of us. You begin to experience joint (neck, back, shoulder, knee, etc.) pain seemingly for no reason at all. Your pain has just appeared and you are puzzled as to why.
What do must people do first?
Most commonly, they start in the medicine cabinet with common over-the-counter (OTC) medications like Tylenol, Motrin, Advil, or Aleve. They may ice the area or apply pain-relieving gels. Others may just give it time and play the waiting game to see if the pain goes away on its own. If OTCs, ice, pain-relieving gels or time don’t do the trick, then they pay a visit their primary care physician only to receive a script for either anti-inflamatories or muscle relaxers and a referral for an orthopedic consult. The orthopedist will likely perform a physical examination along with possibly ordering imaging studies such X-ray, CT scan, or MRI. Based on your examination and imaging results, one of two recommendations is often made - physical therapy or surgery.
Too often surgery can be recommended before more conservative approaches are given a chance. Disregarding the risks associated with surgery, what happens when the procedure fails? Surgery is not a great choice when pain is associated with a positive — often incidental — finding on an MRI. These incidental findings are well document and often times structural adaptations to functional problems.
When assessed properly by a trusted conservative musculoskeletal care specialist, whether a chiropractor or physical therapist, many muscle and joint problems can be resolved without the need for surgery.
Seek conservative care first. If you don't respond to care within 6 weeks, then it wish to consider more invasive procedures if they are indicated.
2. Manage complicated disorders
Remember when I said all chiropractors are different? It's true.
Just like the medical profession, there are many areas of specialty in chiropractic. Those who specialize as a sports injury & rehabilitation chiropractor (such as Dr. Gallagher) have undergone the traditional education on joint manipulation or adjustments. However, in addition to their core curriculum, sports injury & rehabilitation complete hundreds of hours in continuing education learning about exercise and sport-related injuries, manual therapy, and functional rehabilitation methods.
Chiropractors who utilize a sports injury & rehabilitation approach incorporate joint mobilization/manipulation, soft-tissue treatments, various manual therapies, and functional rehabilitation techniques to provide a gold standard of care in treatment for individuals with exercise and sport-related injuries. This combination of complementary approaches uniquely positions sports injury & rehabilitation chiropractors to manage complicated disorders that other specialists may have difficulty in treating.
3. Prevent future episodes of pain by changing function
Imagine a world where patients get the advise, education, and treatment they need. Imagine doctors who:
- Make sense of what a patients says
- Know exactly what a patient needs
- Confidently provide gold standard advice and treatment interventions
This world is obtainable, but it must first begin with better quality, order and structure to our thinking patterns. One of the fundamental challenges with healthcare is that the human body is amazingly complex and adaptive. In response to the complex nature of dealing with the human body, doctors and therapists may have the tendency to routinely provide services that serve their own skill set better than appropriately addressing the patient’s needs. Often times this leaves both the patient frustrated with lack of response to care.
As ac chiropractor it's my job to educate my patients and help them problem solve. I have to help them understand not just what
their problem is, but more importantly why
In understanding why their problem started, we aim to change the function of their body. If patients don't commit to changing their behaviors and habits that got them into pain in the first place, then how can they expect to find a solution to their problem?
4. Enjoy a healthier lifestyle
As stated in the point above, chiropractors should be educators. As educators, we teach individuals how to live their best life and do so in a model that promotes our patients's have a sense of independence, capable of making informed, intelligent lifestyle choices.
Regardless of specialization, a universal truth to chiropractors is that they generally practice a “holistic” approach to patient treatment. Meaning chiropractors view the individual as a whole, identifying and focusing on more than just physical symptoms such as pain. By employing a combination of manual treatments, ergonomics, postural education, exercise prescription, nutritional interventions, lifestyle advice, and other strategies (practitioner dependent), chiropractic is more than just cracking backs to reduce pain. Chiropractors want their patients to enjoy a healthier lifestyle.
5. Enhanced performance
We put our bodies through the ringer daily (some more intensely then others). Periodic treatment from a qualified chiropractor will help keep your body running like a fine-tuned machine, improving your ability to perform and progress in your training programs by optimizing the body’s ability to function at it’s best.
By combining chiropractic with functional rehabilitation and strength and conditioning principles.
It's exactly why we do what we do at Gallagher Performance.
Almost every case involving muscle or joint pain requires some level of strengthening exercise progression and education. We will make sure you are doing the most appropriate exercises for your situation and your level of ability. By clearly educating each patient on why they are performing their prescribed exercises or stretches, the focus becomes about patient empowerment and providing them with a sense of what they can do for themselves to keep pain from returning.
Regardless of the number of treatments you receive, the goal remains the same – to make a lasting change in your body through posture and movement re-education.
There are many great reasons to visit a chiropractor. Every chiropractor is different, so just because one didn’t work for you it doesn't mean that all chiropractors are useless. You just haven't found the right one for the job and that can prove to be a difficult task. Yes there are some bad ones out there (like any profession), but there are plenty of good ones that can be trusted.
No matter who you see, keep in mind that it is critically important that you understand your problem, your treatment plan, your expectations for recovery, and how to manage your problem during as well as after treatment.
At Gallagher Performance it is our intent to get you back to what you love doing and as quickly as possible. We create clarity by helping you understand your problem, why it behaves they way it does, and apply the right tool to make a lasting change in the way your body functions.
More related reading: