Advanced Health Chiropractic follows a unique protocol for treating people suffering from headaches which includes Chiropractic Biophysics, biomechanical assessments, Palmer chiropractic technique and physical therapy.
At Advanced Health, what is a new patient visit like for someone who is seeking relief from headaches?
Dr. Luke Stringer: We help a lot of people here at Advanced Health Chiropractic that suffer with headaches, and our typical new patient process will be, obviously you come to the office, and one of our doctors will do a really detailed health history. We’re going to be discussing when the headaches began, how often you experience the headaches, how they feel, how they affect us from functioning, things that affect us doing, and we’re putting some goals in place.
Once we got a handle on how your headaches feel and how they affect you from functioning, we’ll shift into an exam. We will perform an orthopedic exam, check the spine and the joints and the soft tissue through good range of motion and stability, see if we can pinpoint any areas that are causing issues there. We’ll then also perform a neurological exam to see if it’s a neurological issue.
From there we tend to some x-rays. X-rays are going to allow us to objectively evaluate the spine and we’ll shoot two types of x-rays. A biomechanical assessment, so essentially you shoot the spine in motion. Motion is live so we can find things that aren’t moving, that are going to create stress and tension on the nervous system. Stress and tension are symptoms of headaches. And also, a structural x-ray to see if we’ve got any structural shifts, misalignments, global misalignments, and poor posture. From there it’s going to really allow us to pinpoint the type of headache you’re having and the exact dysfunction within the spine or the soft tissue and from that, with this clear diagnosis, we can put together a plan of getting all this corrected.
Can you describe some of the specialized treatment methods you use to treat patients with headaches?
Dr. Luke Stringer: Chiropractic, myself and the other doctors here went to the founder and head of chiropractic, Palmer Chiropractic College. The technique, Palmer, separates it from other colleges. So, the way we adjust the spine is quite unique and obviously we pride ourselves on that. Adjustments are great for getting joints that are out of alignment and aren’t functioning correctly into alignment and functioning.
Our doctors also have specialized in soft tissue treatment where we can actually kind of improve health of the soft tissue. Obviously, the soft tissue is designed to stabilize and move a joint, so if it’s damaged it’s weak and inflexible and essentially can’t do its job, so we can address what we call adhesion, a kind of scar tissue within tissue, through specific protocols which separates us.
And then lastly, we practice a technique called Chiropractic BioPhysics and that’s specifically designed around objectively changing the shape of your spine. Classically, people who have headaches have a misalignment globally at the spine. For example, the spine is shifted forwards, it’s out of alignment, and we can actually do what we call our spinal traction protocols and it can shift your spine objectively back into alignment. When you combine all those three things, plus a lot of rehab we do, then, you know, we just kind of get great results and we can help a lot of people.
And what type of technology, x-rays, or devices do you utilize in your treatments?
Dr. Luke Stringer: Yes, obviously you know as a doctor, our first kind of port of entry is just doing a really thorough health history, which we obviously just discussed, and then a very thorough exam.
What separates us from many other places, we do shoot x-rays and our x-rays are digital, and we shoot two types of an x-ray. A postural x-ray, so where we’re standing still and that allows us to do some specific line analysis of the x-rays to evaluate where the spine has gone from, and essentially where we need to put the spine to. And also, we shoot something called a biomechanical assessment of the spine, where we shoot the spine in motion. When you shoot the spine in motion you can highlight joints which aren’t moving. So, a joint that’s not moving and/or is out of alignment is going to create stress on the nervous system and obviously stress on a nerve can bring symptoms. In particular, those top two nerves in your neck are going to cause headaches.
And can chronic headaches be relieved with drug-free chiropractic treatments?
Dr. Luke Stringer: Absolutely. Chiropractic is a holistic form of healthcare, there’s no drugs, there’s no surgery, right? And there’s always a time and a place for that type of treatment, but obviously myself, and I’m sure most people listening would agree with this, we should always start with conservative care first because you’ve always got the drugs and the surgery to fall back on. Usually with the headaches, with the outcomes of the drugs, you’re treating the symptom, not the root cause.
Chiropractic can specifically treat the root cause of your headache, and what is the root cause? It could be a combination of poor lifestyle, you’re not drinking enough water, poor diet, could be an issue within the function of the joint, is it not moving correctly? Or you know, quite commonly it’s due to poor posture and big shifts in the cervical spine, and chiropractic can obviously address that.
Now there are other types of headaches or migraines that are more neurological based that might be kind of an outlier. Or you might have had a really, really significant trauma, like a car accident and it’s just created damage. But chiropractic can certainly help pretty much all cases and if it’s not getting corrected, it’s certainly going to be helping.
And lastly, how does the headache treatment protocol you follow at Advanced Health make you unique from other clinics in your area?
Dr. Luke Stringer: I think we do really well in terms of being the highest reviewed clinic in the South Loop and Chicago in general, and that’s because we get good results. The way we address issues within the spine is quite unique.
First and foremost, we’re chiropractors, so we’re going to figure out the joints that are moving out of alignment, and we’re going to figure out which they are, and essentially why they’re causing your symptoms. Then we’re going to address that through specific treatment. Our doctors are trained in soft tissue protocols; unfortunately a lot of people kind of miss on the soft tissue. Soft tissue is there to support, stabilize, and essentially move a joint, so if the soft tissue is weak, inflexible, it’s not going to do that. Through our soft tissue protocols, we can adjust that imbalance, that weakness, and essentially get that corrected.
We do a lot of physical therapy in our office. People that sit for a living often or not, develop something called upper cross syndrome. We get really dominant in those big muscles, your traps, your chest, your shoulders, while all the little muscles, the stabilizers, they sit deep in your neck and down between the shoulder blades, essentially just switch off. Overtime we have that postural shift which creates all those tension headaches.
And lastly, we practice a technique called Chiropractic BioPhysics. That’s where we can address the shape of your spine. A lot of the time you’re suffering headaches, it’s not a functional issue, either the joints not moving or the tissue is pulling on that joint and it is shifting out of alignment, then it’s due to a postural shift. Through our spinal traction protocols, we can actually objectively change the shape of your spine, which offers both short and long-term results. I think when you combine all those two together, it makes our clinic unique, and again we can help a lot of people.
If you are interested in speaking with Dr. Luke Stringer visit www.southloopchiropractor.com or call (312) 987-4878 to schedule an appointment.