Chiropractors: What We Do and Why Patients Come To See Us
With the increasing popularity of alternative healthcare, and the greatest number of those
visits to chiropractic physicians, medical doctors must certainly be interested in why patients are coming to see us. These people can be classified into the following five groups: 1) people with pain, 2) those with headaches, 3) people with certain organic problems, 4) those seeking alternative medicine as their source of primary care, and 5) people interested in wellness care.
The first and most popular reason for visits to chiropractors is due to the symptom of pain-most notably back pain or pain in the extremities. These patients also tend not to want to follow the route of traditional medicine which normally involves medication or surgery for pain relief, but rather are interested in more conservative methods that may offer correction of the cause of their pain.
As chiropractors we are trained in the detection and correction of minor displacements of bone and the accompanying soft tissue response, which are known as subluxations. Most often these subluxations are detected in the vertebra of the back using various static and motion palpation techniques, along with standard orthopedic and neurological tests. In addition,,new technology exists that utilizes surface EMG and temperature differences along the spine which is indicative of any nervous system compromise caused by the subluxation. This further helps to isolate areas that are subluxated. History as well as research has shown that these adjustments which are given to correct the subluxations are very effective treatment in terms of cat, time, and patient satisfaction. In addition, chiropractors are trained in physiotherapy techniques and many utilize them in their treatment plans to aid in soft tissue repair.
A second reason patients come to chiropractors is for the treatment of headaches. Adjustments to the cervical and/or upper thoracic region are often very effective in the reduction of frequency and intensity of headaches-most notably tension and cluster headaches. In addition, current research supports the effectiveness of his form of tretatment for these types of headaches.
A third reason for visits to chiropractors deals with problems which are more organic in nature. When subluxations are present, they can cause encroachment on the spinal nerves and lead to potential nerve dysfunction. Because these spinal nerves carry nerve energy to the entire body exclusive of the head (except for vascular structures), dysfunction of the organs or tissues that they supply may arise. Although no evidence currently exists on the effectiveness of chiropractic adjustments for the treatment of organic conditions, there have been many successes supported by anecdotal and case studies. Thus it is anticipated that research will be conducted in an attempt to prove or disprove the effectiveness of adjustments in such conditions as duodenal ulcers, asthma, allergies, and chronic otitis media.
The fourth group of patients who come to our offices tend to be the ones who have had a bad experience with traditional medicine or don’t trust what traditional medicine has to offer. They tend to seek out alternative ways to treat all their problems and often utilize many forms of alternative medicine such as herbology, homeopathy, acupuncture, iridology, and reflexology. These patients will often seek out a chiropractor who specializes in these forms of treatment.
The fifth and final group of people who find their way to chiropractor’s offices are the people who are interested in wellness care. These tend to be people who don’t wait for the symptom of pain to surface before making an appointment, and are interested in living and staying healthy. They usually seek out nutritional counseling and proper exercise techniques to stay fit. They also tend to utilize chiropractic adjustments as part of their total healthcare package for maintaining proper structure and function of vertebral joints, and for maintaining optimal nervous system integrity.
As can be seen, there are any number of reasons why patients will enter our offices. Although the primary source of these visits is due to pain, this list of reasons continues to grow as more people look to alternative medicine as their source of healthcare. As the third largest group of healthcare providers in the nation, chiropractors have found themselves at the forefront of the alternative medicine movement.