Advanced Health Chiropractic in Chicago specializes in chiropractic biophysics, a successful technique that includes thorough exams and x-rays. They treat patients with low back pain, neck pain, repetitive stress injuries, auto accident injuries and more.
As a chiropractor, is back and neck pain among the top conditions that you help treat?
Dr. Luke Stringer: Absolutely, Liz. Back pain, lower back pain, upper back pain, neck pain is the chiropractor’s bread and butter, right? Low back pain is the number one cause of disability in America. It costs the American corporate world billions of dollars a year. Neck pain is the third on that list, too. So luckily for us, as chiropractors, we’re never short of people needing help, because unfortunately low back pain and neck pain is pretty rampant, particularly in the corporate world. So yeah, it’s a really common condition that we treat. Particularly, downtown in Chicago. We help a lot of people with lower back and neck pain.
If back and neck pain go untreated for too long, what other conditions can develop that you also might be able to help treat?
Dr. Luke Stringer: Yeah. It’s all case-to-case specific, right? But a great chiropractor once said that procrastination is a thief of health, right? So, if we have an issue, we want to address that issue as soon as possible, simply because, our bodies are super economical. The body is going to figure out a way to adapt around that issue and get functioning as well as we can.
Now obviously, it all depends on the type of trauma, mechanism of injury, lifestyle, that’s going to be involved in the condition, but let’s just take the neck or the lower back. Let’s imagine we’ve had a car accident, a high-velocity accident. We should have certain curves in the spine that should absorb weight within the disc in the spine, but imagine that rear-ending has just shifted your spine forward, so we lost a lot of the curve.
The first symptoms are usually going to be a sustained sprain, that classic whiplash within the neck or the lower back. It’s all soft tissue between them, or soft tissue injury. So, if you just adjust the soft tissue injury, then obviously you’re going to feel better. But if you don’t look under the hood and evaluate the spine specifically, and what’s going on with the curvatures, for example, of that spine, you’re missing out on some key details.
For example, we’re talking about the neck. Top bone should meet the bottom bone, negative 42-degree curve. We have that curve to absorb the weight of our head, but let’s imagine that rear-end accident or 60-hour work weeks for the last 10 years, you’ve lost that curve, which we discussed on our previous podcast, tech neck.
That’s going to shift away the head from the back, to the front of the disc, and over time, it’s physics. You add gravity to the equation, plus the weight of your head on the front of the disc, there’s no bone to absorb that weight. You going to start showing disc degeneration.
So over time, as you degenerate, other issues are going to be, more pain, pain that starts referring to the extremities, into the hands and fingers and numbness, for example. Similar to the lower back, right? Acute pain can develop into chronic pain that can start referring. So, you’ve got this specifically, and also too, the body is supposed to work in a certain manner, right? So, our muscles ligaments, tendons, work in sequence to essentially support us through movement.
So, if we’ve had an injury or we’ve had repetitive stresses, for example, we sit all day, and all those muscles in your low back, because we’re consistently loading them in a forward position, start to get really facilitated, really dominant. However, the muscles that are designed to move us, pelvic floor, the core muscles, your hamstrings and your glutes, because they’re not being used, they get weak and lazy.
So, essentially, when we’re upright and we’re moving, it can create other issues. So, issues might be pelvic pain. You might develop knee pain, foot and ankle pain, because when you’re loading those joints they’re not getting the stability and the support for the muscles that are designed to do that. So, you’ve really got to address above and below the joint and address several factors of that condition and that injury to figure out what it’s causing today, and then what, obviously, it could cause down the road.
Stress is a common factor among people living in cities like Chicago. How can chiropractors help treat people who are suffering from the ill effects of stress and tension?
Dr. Luke Stringer: Yeah, great question. There are three types of stress, right? We call them the three Ts. You’ve got trauma. We just discussed it. Trauma can be a big trauma, car accident. And then you’ve obviously got environmental stress. So, a high-stress job, working to deadlines. And it also can be toxins, what you’re putting into your body. So, poor hydration, essentially, poor diet, medications that you’re on, they all break the body down and they’re all different types of stress.
And chiropractors, essentially, when you go through their clinical training, are trained to address all three of those stresses. But the biggest one that we see downtown in Chicago, are those repetitive traumas, those repetitive stresses. Unfortunately, we are built, or fortunately, we are built to be upright and moving. However, modern society dictates that we now have to sit for a living. We’re not designed to be sitting, so when we sit for extended periods of time, like we discussed on our previous ergonomic podcast, over time those repetitive stresses can really shift the spine out of alignment. And classic symptoms, you’re getting lower back pain, you’re getting neck pain, headaches, pain that refers into the hands and fingers into the legs. Chiropractors, particularly ours at our office in downtown Chicago, are really versed in those repetitive stresses and addressing those repetitive stresses through a different, a wide varying of treatment, essentially.
On a different note, how can chiropractors help people recovering from injuries either from playing sports or from being involved in an auto accident?
Great question, Liz. We see a lot of both of these, right? You’ve got the weekend warrior who sits all day every day in a corporate environment, and then just love to be active and exercise on the weekends. I think we discussed this on an earlier podcast. If you’re sitting all day, muscles are going to become weak, because we’re not using them. Again, we’re built to move. The body’s economical. So, if we’re not moving, the body’s just going to shut those muscles down.
So, we sit for 50, 60 hours a week and then we run around on the weekend. We go play tennis, or we play golf. You’re asking the body to be functional, yet those functional muscles aren’t going to be doing their job. So, it creates that compensatory issue, right? Which usually leads to some form of a sports injury. “I pulled my back out playing golf.” “I pulled my back out playing tennis.”
The opposite of that, you know, downtown Chicago, I’m not sure if you’ve been here Liz, but the driving is pretty crazy. Massive amounts of auto accidents, right? Auto accidents kill more people in America than any other form of trauma. We see a lot of people who have been in car accidents, unfortunately. Car accidents are very significant. They damage the soft tissue, and also, they shift the spine out of alignment. So, it’s obviously case by case, but chiropractors in general are versed on addressing issues within the spine and the soft tissue.
So, if it’s a sports injury where you pulled you back due to muscle imbalance, then a chiropractor should be able to diagnose and create a treatment plan, which should involve adjustments, physical therapy, and soft tissue therapy to address that.
Had you been in the car accident, similar. Chiropractors who are worth their salt, should be able to diagnose and create a plan that’s going to address those trauma changes. So, alignment in the spine, function of the joint, damage to the soft tissue, and, obviously, the weakness that comes from those muscles being damaged.
For a new patient visiting your chiropractic office in Chicago for the first time, for any of the reasons we’ve discussed, what would their first visit involve?
Dr. Luke Stringer: Every chiropractic office is different, right? The beauty of chiropractic is, as a chiropractor, you’re not pigeonholed. You can practice however you like within the scope of practice. I have friends that focus on mainly on muscle injuries. I have friends and colleagues that are more of a sports chiropractor. We have other friends and colleagues that are just specific to a couple of joints within the spine. So, I can only speak to myself, and however other chiropractors practice, it’s not necessarily right or wrong. It’s just how they practice.
But at Advanced Health Chiropractic, obviously you come to the office, you fill out a packet that allows us to evaluate your health history. You then sit down with one of the doctors and we do a really detailed health history, figure out why you came to the office. And we patiently go through the OPQRST, right? The answer, the onset, the progression, how it feels, how it affects your functioning. Then we like to do some goal setting with our patients.
From there, we’ll shift into an orthopedic examination. That’s where we’re going to evaluate the joint in question or the spine, the area of the spine. We’re looking for a good spinal alignment i.e. joints that are going to move freely and stably. Then we’ll perform a neurological exam and a functional movement exam. We’re going to evaluate the nervous system and then how well that joint moves.
How we practice is more objective. We like to shoot x-rays, case-by-case dependent, obviously. But if you add any form of trauma or any type of significant pain or pain that refers, we’re going to shoot some x-rays to evaluate the alignment of your spine. And those four or five diagnostic tests, your orthopedic exam, neurological exam, functional exam, and the x-rays will give us enough clinical information to be able to figure out what’s causing your issue.
And from there, we’ll be able to build out a treatment plan, which will work towards your goals of whatever it is. Being able to run a marathon, pick up your kid without pain, sit through a work day without having to get up and take breaks. Our care plans are comprehensive. We don’t just adjust the spine. Adjustments are our bread and butter. That’s all about joint function, but we’re also practicing a technique called chiropractic biophysics, where we’re addressing misalignments of the spine, structural misalignments. We work heavily on the soft tissue and the changes that happens from those traumas, big or small. Then we do a lot of physical therapy to address those muscle imbalances.
When you combine all of those four things, we get really good results, and that’s why our clinic’s got over 200 5-star reviews and is one of the highest reviewed clinics in the city.
If you are interested in speaking with Dr. Luke Stringer visit www.southloopchiropractor.com or call (312) 987-4878 to schedule an appointment.