Frequently Asked Questions in the Office

Q- Is my child old enough to be treated?

A- There is no age limit, old or young, when it comes to treatment. Obviously, the type of treatment rendered is going to be tailored to each patient and there are specific protocols used in the office for infants, the elderly, women who are pregnant etc. The youngest patient I have seen in the office was 5 days old and the oldest is currently 97 years young. For toddlers or school-aged children, protocol is similar to that of an adult and we usually see children respond very quickly to care. The key is to make every patient feel comfortable with their care, regardless of their age.

Q- Is it going to hurt?

A- The goal of treatment is not to make you feel worse but to make you feel better. An adjustment should not be painful for the patient. I pride myself on making sure that my patients are physically and mentally comfortable with their care. However, depending on the severity of the patient's injury, as well as their pain tolerance, there may be some soreness upon palpation and treatment rendered in the affected area. The key is for the patient to communicate with their doctor to ensure maximum results and comfort.

Q- What is that "clicky" thing supposed to do?

A- This question is in reference to the Activator adjusting instrument. The Activator is a spring-loaded machine that transmits a single thrust into the joint. The effectiveness of the activator exists in the acceleration of the instrument. I used an analogy in the office the other day that seemed to provide some insight. We have all tried to muscle open that stubborn jar of pickles with all of our might, only to come away frustrated. It is not until we take that small butter knife, and with a few quick taps are able to get the jar open with ease. The Activator, as well as the Impulse instrument, offers a gentle and effective way to treat spinal dysfunction.

Q- What did I do to cause my pain?

A- It is very easy to explain an injury that has cause and effect. For example, "I lifted a sack of potatoes" or "I jumped from a burning building," which resulted in pain. However, most injuries occur during more subtle movements. For example, "I simply bent over," or "I sneezed." In many cases, it is not what occurred at the moment the pain happened, but during the events leading up to it. It creates a "straw that broke the camel's back" scenario. You may only remember bending over to tie your shoe as the moment when pain occurred. However, you may neglect to mention splitting wood a couple of days prior, or carrying that heavy bin of laundry up the steps. In this case, the patient, when asked if they had done anything that may have caused their pain, the usual response is, "I did not do anything." Although I cannot tell you exactly when and where your injury occurred, I can often provide a normal mechanism of injury for your situation and allow you to try to determine the exact cause. For example, I had a gentleman who presented with intense low back pain about every other month. I suggested to him that pain of this nature was most likely due to repetitive bending. However, visit after visit, the man insisted that he did nothing to cause his pain. After reviewing his notes from his original presentation, I noticed that he had been taking out the garbage when his pain started. Upon further questioning of the patient about what he did specifically when taking out the garbage, I found that he not only had the pain each time he performed this event but that he also admitted to being bent over for a long period of time in order to separate the recyclables. He was very surprised that he had not thought of this himself and our solution was to create a table on which to separate his recyclables. Thus alleviating the need for prolonged or repetitive bending.

Q- Why do I sometimes experience soreness after a treatment?

A- Soreness is not a rule, but can be normal occurrence after treatment. In most cases, there is underlying inflammation that be exacerbated with any attention to that area. The goal is that once the soreness subsides, the patient experiences relief of symptoms. This may take more than one treatment to achieve. Each treatment should result in diminishing soreness.

Q- Can I work out after a treatment?

A- Some conditions do require avoidance of certain movements. However, it is our ultimate goal to restore function. It would be completely counter-productive to have the patient avoid all exercise and movement during their treatment. The rule of thumb is, if it hurts, do not do it. If the patient is able to perform certain exercises without pain, then the more they do, the more they will be able to do.

Q- I did not know that Chiropractors treated feet. Is there anything else that that Chiropractors treat?

A- Basically, anything related to the musculoskeletal system can be treated with Chiropractic care. Hands, feet, hips, elbows, etc. are included in this. However, because spinal dysfunction can affect surrounding tissues, it explains why a chiropractic treatment can offer relief to a variety of different conditions. Some common conditions that are treated often in the office but may not be thought of as chiropractic conditions are: headache, vertigo, ear infection, sinus pressure, asthma, etc.

Q- When I "crack" my own back, how does it differ from a Chiropractic adjustment?

A- A "crack" or cavitation, is a release of gas from a joint. There are two situations in which a patient will hear a cavitation. One situation is therapeutic and the other is detrimental to the patient's well being. The build up of gas in a joint is due to aberrant motion of that joint. This can happen if the joint is not moving or dysfunctional. We also see this in a joint that is moving too much due to ligamentous laxity. When a patient has a habit of "cracking" their back or knuckles, they have produced a hypermobile situation. In this case there is stretching of the ligaments each time the patient "cracks" their back. Although there is a momentary relief of symptoms due to decreased pressure from the release of gas from the joint, it is very short lived. The continuation of this habit will cause increased stretching of an already hypermobile segment. In the long run, the body will recognize this as an unstable segment and deposit bone resulting in osteoarthritis. (See Wolff's Law)

In contrast, a Chiropractic adjustment involves a restoration of motion to a dysfunctional joint. Careful palpation is used to find the area of the spine that is not moving properly and a gentle force is applied in order to regain function.

Although these are the most commonly asked questions, I may not have answered your question. Please feel free to ask.