A ONE-VISIT CURE?
A person came to see me, worried sick about his chronic neck pain. For the better part of a decade he has been invalidated by the medical community and suffered the humiliation of being called both a malingerer and a drug-seeker. He actually had to leave a good job because he could not physically function. As you might guess, he had been through everything — MRI’S, specialists, tests galore, more specialists, THERAPY, CHIROPRACTIC (lots of visits —- a typical approach for both professions), and a variety of drugs from the “BIG FIVE” family. How do I go about solving problems like this?
- HISTORY: Have you ever injured yourself in a fall off a horse, SPORTS, an MVA, or some other event that may have damaged your neck? What does your job entail? What makes your problem better? What makes your problem worse? Is it possible to reproduce the pain? Is your pain worse now than it was a year ago? Five years ago? For my LONG-DISTANCE PATIENTS, the history is a much bigger deal because I am trying to figure out whether or not I can help them via an email — not always easy to do (HERE).
- EXAM: Mostly this involves testing RANGES OF MOTION. Unless you are rather older, you should be able to put your nose over the center of both shoulders without pain (right & left rotation). You should also be able to put your chin to your chest or thereabouts (flexion). And as for the most important ROM in your whole body — your ability to tip your head backward and put your neck into extension —- you should be able to set a glass of water on your forehead without leaning your body backwards (i.e. all the motion is occurring in the C-spine). To put it a different way, you should be able to get your forehead parallel to the floor without real effort.
- X-RAYS: Not that I’m not interested in them on some level (it’s always interesting to see just how much DJD a person really has) but in light of numerous studies showing virtually no relationship between the amount of pain a person is having to the amount of degeneration that seen on their x-ray (HERE), they are not usually pertinent to what I do. As a side note to this issue, it is fairly easy to see whether a person has Forward Head Posture (FHP) without an x-ray. Although FHP is a very big deal, I don’t worry about it at this point in the process, although it will be addressed.
- TREATMENT: Although the typical patient I see has some serious ROM restriction in their cervical spine (neck), I sometimes run into people — usually younger people — that can fool you with “normal” ROM (HERE). Before I ever make the first adjustment, my goal is for the patient to have a normal or near-normal ROM in the neck. Although this is not always possible, usually I can at least get in the ball park. Yesterday I had an individual come see me for vertigo. Although he had zero neck pain, he was extremely (extremely) kyphotic / hump-backed, with severe FHP and an ROM that was less than half of what it should be. After dealing with SCAR TISSUE / FIBROSIS in the appropriate areas, his ROM was about 75-80% of normal. I was then able to adjust him quite easily. He was improved immediately.
- POST-TREATMENT: I approach this bullet point from two different angles. Firstly, it is important to get most people doing some sort of EXTENSION THERAPY, which often involves using some sort of device like the DAKOTA TRACTION. In order to truly change the structure of the neck, EXTENSION-TRACTION is far more important than the number of adjustments a person receives. And the cool thing is that virtually all of this can be done at home. The second approach is to take a minute or two to talk to people about INFLAMMATION and give them the appropriate information from THIS HANDOUT. Because inflammation always leads to fibrosis, it is important for the patient to do what it takes to solve this problem. Again, I have shown you how most of you can tackle this on your own (HERE).
- RETURN VISITS: Although this drives the average chiro absolutely batty, I rarely make an appointment for a return visit. Out of the half dozen new patients I saw yesterday, exactly zero were rescheduled. This does not mean I kicked them out on the street, telling them either that they were “cured” or that there was no hope. It’s fairly simple; if what I do is beneficial (less pain / increased ROM / better function / improved activities of daily living), they’ll see improvement after the first treatment. Come back as needed. Most chiros can’t even fathom this sort of approach to patient care because as a profession we’ve been led to believe that the single most important indicator of a successful practice is something called PVA (Patient Visit Average — the number of times the chiro sees a patient). Suffice it to say that large numbers (3 figures) are highly sought after. Let me clarify. I am not saying that one treatment will necessarily solve your problem. I will say that you will know after that first treatment whether or not we are on the right track.
Does my renegade approach to patient care work? Not always. But then again, what does? However, it does work better than anything I have ever seen. PERIOD. Want proof? Take a look at our VIDEO TESTIMONIALS for neck pain (HERE). We won’t keep you coming back over and over and over again for adjustments that are failing due to FASCIAL ADHESIONS. And we won’t make you worse. In other words, you’ve got nothing to lose. BTW, HERE is the video (it’s not brand new) of the person I used as my example in the second paragraph.
- DISC PROBLEMS: HERNIATED DISCS require an entirely different approach. Firstly, in light of decades worth of research, it is very difficult to tell if a person’s problem is actually coming from their disc from looking at their MRI (HERE). If I suspect disc, I will give people THIS INFORMATION. If this fails to solve their problem, SPINAL DECOMPRESSION THERAPY is an excellent option before jumping into surgery. The odds of success are better than 50/50 (between 60 and 70%) and you can always go have surgery if you really need it. You can’t “unhave” a SPINAL SURGERY.