Here at Advanced Health Chiropractic in downtown, Chicago, we see new patients every day. Some patients are here to maintain their healthy spine while others are here to find pain relief and rehabilitate an injury. The majority of patients that we see have done their research, they’ve been online, they’ve checked out our website, they see how we practice. So, most patients have an understanding, but some don’t. If they ask the question: “what is this going to involve?” then they will be told exactly how we practice.
How we practice is kind of a four-pronged approach:
Joint Function: We are going to look for joint function. Do we have any misalignments or any joints that aren’t moving well? If they aren’t, then those joints need to get moving. We’re going to get them moving via adjusting the spine.
Alignment of the Spine: We are then going to evaluate the alignment of the spine, because your alignment dictates how much weight and load is being put into that joint in the tissue. So, if we’re out of alignment, and a joint within the spine is just having too much pressure put through it, then it’s obviously not going to function as well as a joint that isn’t having that; then that joint is going to break down.
X-Rays: We will shoot some x-rays. And based on those x-rays, and the condition, we’ll recommend a treatment plan.
Soft Tissue Protocols: The health of the soft tissue is really important. Adhesions form in the tissue and that is kind of a by-product of repetitive stress or injury; it acts like glue in a muscle. It is not going to allow a joint to move well. It is not going to move well with stability. So, we’ll take you through our soft tissue protocols, and obviously any muscle imbalances that we found in the functional examination. For example, you want to run, but your hamstrings and your glutes are weak, in comparison to your back, and you have back pain, well that’s an issue that we need to address. We need to strengthen the hamstrings and glutes; they move you. Your lower back is designed to obviously stabilize and move the lower back, not move the inside of the entire body. So, we’ll spell it out for you so you have a good idea of what we’ve got going on and how we’re going to approach your case.
For people who are in acute back or neck pain, which is new onset of pain, the pain generators are really high. Usually on the first visit we don’t like to treat patients, just because we don’t guess at what we do. If you’re in a lot of pain, we’re going to do two things. If the pain is referring, so for example, you’ve got neck pain that’s referring to your arm, you’ve got lower back pain that’s referring into your feet, then we’re going to actually get you going through an assessment called a McKenzie assessment. McKenzie is a specific technique that is used for pinched nerves and disc injuries. And there’s a protocol you follow, but it’s going to involve some rehab that is done with one of our doctors, and it is going to involve you doing lots of homework at home. When you come back at your next visit, the goal is to have reduced those pain levels and improve range of motion, because that’s obviously going to allow us to get more treatment done on that second and third visit.
If you’re in acute pain, if the pain is really quite intense and you’ve got changes in the muscle tone, these are called muscle spasms. We will use a unit called a TENS unit. We’ll apply an electrical current in and around that nerve, and the tissue that’s creating the pain. And then we’ll add some ice to it. The whole design of the TENS unit is to interfere with the nociception which is the sensory signal from the nerve to the brain. And it helps just calm down the pain, improves blood and oxygen into the area, helps calm down that tissue, and then we will send you home with an ice pack, and you’ll do some icing protocols. So again, when you come back for your next visit, hopefully the pain has disappeared a little bit, that will allow for a better treatment at the second visit.
Following a car accident, if you’ve got referral pain, we are going to do specific disc checks within the neck and the lower back. If you’ve got weakness, instability, we’re going to do some muscle grading checks, to evaluate how damaged the issue or the structure is. And then we will shoot x-rays. You have to shoot a specific x-ray for auto accidents, it is called a motion study. When you’ve been involved in a car accident, the velocity lengthens soft tissue really quickly, and that velocity, that force, can actually damage those ligaments.
You might not be able to find those ligaments on a basic exam, but on an x-ray, if you’ve moved the joint while the picture is being taken, you can actually show or find ligament instability. That’s really important to know when treating. It’s also really important for attorneys to know, because if an attorney is litigating a case, and you can unequivocally prove that there’s been ligament damage post-accident, that’s obviously something an attorney, and a patient needs to know, because that’s going to benefit the case when litigated.
If someone has a sports injury such as a knee injury, a shoulder injury or a hip injury, the first thing we do is evaluate the mechanism of the injury. How did it happen? Was it acute? Was it a trauma? You slipped and fell? Or you had a contact injury? Or is it a repetitive injury? Overtime have you just beaten up that joint and that tissue, which has slowly broken down? Then we will evaluate you for range of motion. A prerequisite for a healthy joint is full range of motion. We will evaluate the integrity of the structures that are designed to move and stabilize that joint, see if we can find any weakness or any deficiency within those joints. If we shoot an x-ray we will want to see if there are any mitigating factors. Is there any shift in the joint? Are there any fractures?
The first goal for us in the first phase of care, is to decrease inflammation, improve range of motion, and essentially by doing that, we can start people working towards their sport and fitness goals.
Every new patient is welcomed into our practice by our highly skilled and experienced team of professionals who will take a detailed medical history and understand your goals for being here. After your first visit our team will evaluate your case so that when you come back in, on your second visit, we’ll go through everything we found clinically and explain those clinical findings. Then we’ll go through treatment recommendations and we’ll get you going with treatment which will involve adjustments, spinal traction, soft tissue therapy, and rehab in some form or another. Our goal is to help you live a pain-free life doing what you love to do.