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Dr. Kestner: This reluctant spinal disc patient was in for a surprise

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A new patient recently came into my office with a history of a bulging spinal disc, low back pain and pain radiating into the leg. At one point during his treatment, he asked whether the slow economy had hurt my business.

“Not really,” I answered. “People still seem to be needing chiropractic care. We are as busy now as ever. In fact, my practice has continued to grow steadily over the past few years.”

This seemed to surprise him. “I never thought about seeing a chiropractor before. I was surprised when my doctor suggested I come see you.”

I grinned. “What to you think now?”

“My pain is much better. I don’t have any pain in the leg. I can play with my kids. I’m sold!”

Chiropractic clinics across the country are reporting unprecedented growth. More people are trying chiropractic care for a wide range of conditions and more medical physicians are making referrals to chiropractors.

Why is this change taking place? Chiropractic care originated in the United States more than a century ago. Since that time the profession has expanded and developed into a very successful methodology of treatment. As the profession has developed, more insurance companies, government agencies, medical groups and health advisory panels have endorsed the value of this unique form of treatment.

Put simply, the science and art of chiropractic care is more refined and effective now than at any point in history. Chiropractic care offers unique treatment options that are not available anywhere else that have proven to be very safe and highly effective. Chiropractic treatments have been improved over the decades through clinical experience and research to be more effective than ever.

There is a very wide array of treatments available at a typical chiropractic office to address the widely variable needs of patients. Many traditional treatments are delivered exclusively through the use of applying manual pressure to various points on the body. These are often referred to as manual manipulation.

There are many newer techniques that utilize specialized instruments or tables to assist in delivering the chiropractic treatment. One example is a specialized treatment table we use in our office to perform a procedure called flexion/distraction. This is an excellent option for patients that have spinal disc problems and degenerative arthritic conditions. This table makes it possible to perform a corrective procedure that is well tolerated, even if the patient is experiencing a great deal of pain. Some chiropractic clinics offer spinal decompression, an advanced form of traction that may relieve severe chronic pain resulting from spinal degeneration.

Chiropractic care is primarily performed to improve joint function. As it relates to spinal joints, this functional restoration alleviates compression or irritation of delicate spinal nerves thereby relieving pain and improving neurological function.

Because of these advances in the actual methodology of chiropractic treatment, and the physical examinations and health history screening that chiropractors provide prior to beginning care of patients, chiropractic care is very safe. After treating thousands of patients over the past twenty years in our office, no significant episodes of adverse effect have occurred.

Because of the wide variety of possible approaches and methodology available to chiropractors, they may specialize in a single approach such as manual spinal adjusting, or may offer a wide range of treatments. For example, our office provides rehab services to help the patient improve strength and flexibility, myofascial release treatments to correct muscle and connective tissue function, physical therapeutic treatments to reduce pain and swelling, acupuncture to improve overall body function and relieve pain, massage therapy to reduce muscle spasms and improve flow of lymphatic fluids, or other related treatments.

Today most medical practitioners refer some patients for chiropractic care. Although there is still a gap in the understanding of how chiropractors work among some medical providers, this gap is narrowing as both fields work to increase interaction for the benefit of patient care.

Like the patient with the bulging disc discovered, chiropractic options exist today that were not available a decade ago. Today your chiropractor and your medical provider are more likely to work together for your best outcome.

Next week, seven surprising things you must know to stay healthy this summer.

Dr. Mark Kestner
Read more from:
Dr. Mark Kestner, Living Well, Voices
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