Many senior patients have mistaken expectations when it comes to their chiropractic care. Most are used to just popping a pill to get rid of their pain, and receiving instant relief. With Chiropractic, it is more of a cumulative treatment, where we not only try to reduce pain and spasms, but also stop the progression of the problem. The time frame of care depends on the length of time you have had your condition. For example, if you have had your problem for over 10 years, it can take up to 2-3 months to notice a change in your condition. What separates us from other medical alternatives is that we actually work on the root of your problem, not just your symptoms.
Another common misconception of Chiropractic is the definition of degeneration. Arthritis, by definition, simply means inflammation of a joint. An athlete, who is 19 years of age, has as much of a chance of having inflammation of a joint, also known as arthritis, as does a senior citizen. To understand arthritis better you must understand the different stages of arthritis as we understand it in the medical establishment. The first stage is secondary degenerative osteoarthritis, which is the arthritis that most people think that they have or believe that they have. It is the first stage of arthritis where there begins to be some structural change and inflammation. The second stage is what we call ankylosing spondylitis (spur forming arthritis), which is a stage further along in the degeneration process. When we say the word “spur”, we mean calcific growths that occur on the bodies of your vertebrae (the building blocks of your spine). These tend to occur after some sort of trauma, instability, or repetitive motion that you have done throughout your life. The last stage is discogenic spondylosis, which is when the disc starts to degenerate or dry out. This is the stage that is the most symptomatic. One of the most important things we want you to understand is that arthritis as everyone knows, is not curable; however, as stated before, it is very manageable and very important to prevent its progression. We at the Chiropractic Family Center always hear patients say “oh you can’t do anything for me, I have arthritis”, but what I can tell you is that in my 32 years of experience there is nothing further from the truth. Sixty-three percent of my practice, according to our office statistics, are what we consider senior citizens or medicare qualified patients. Our office statistics further show that we help between 80-90% of those who have been diagnosed with arthritis. Now you may ask yourself, what do we mean by help? In the vast majority of cases, we are able to reduce swelling and inflammation by any of the techniques listed below. When we are able to do that, the result is a reduction in pain and improvement in mobility. Ultimately, the prevention of progression is achieved, which we cannot express enough to our senior care patients, is our primary goal for your care.
Another misconception we would like to cover is the unrealistic fear of chiropractic. We have heard from some of our patients that they know we could help their friends or family, but they are too afraid to come in. While there are many things out there to be afraid of, chiropractic is not one of them. Today, there are over 3000 different ways to treat acute and chronic spinal conditions through chiropractic. As stated earlier, Dr. Ashley Higgins and Dr. Christopher Yanchus, have both recently graduated within the past 5 years, and have brought in many new gentler techniques to treat your conditions. We also understand that us telling you is not the same as you seeing for yourself; therefore, we offer new patients to come in to see what we actually do in the office before deciding whether or not they would like to start care at our clinic.
One of the main fears that we hear a lot in this office is the fear of having osteoporosis and being treated by a chiropractor. First, lets go over the definition of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is the loss of calcium in a bone, not a joint. We as chiropractors treat every joint in the human body. The techniques that we use in this office are gentle and effective, and will not hurt an osteoporitic bone. Furthermore, as osteoporosis occurs in the bone, it does not have any correlation to the fact that you have arthritis because arthritis as stated earlier is an inflammation of the joint.
Next, you may ask yourself, what is going to happen when you come in for your first visit at the Chiropractic Family Center of Brick? As primary care physicians, we will first go over your complete case history. We, as chiropractors, have the ability to diagnose your problem, and if it is not in our field of training we will refer you to the proper specialist to treat your condition. After we have determined that you are a chiropractic patient, we will evaluate you by palpation, leg-check, ROM testing, orthopedic and neurological testing, and MRS testing. We will then proceed by discussing your treatment plan and continuing chiropractic care.
As we discussed earlier, we have many different types of gentle and effective treatments at the Chiropractic Family Center that are geared towards our senior patient base. At our office, we don’t just adjust the spine, as is currently thought of all chiropractors. Chiropractic, like many other health care practices, has evolved. Some of the techniques we use are: arthrostim, activator, drop table adjusting, graston, kinesiotaping, trigger point therapy, spinal decompression, and other therapeutic modalities (muscle stimulation, ultrasound, cold laser, heat/cold therapy).
In closing, I think it is important to note what is, in our opinion, the direction health care should be going. It is quite obvious that while medication has a place in health care, it should not be the sole response to musculoskeletal problems. Conservative chiropractic care, looking to correct the cause of the problem while not avoiding acute care, exercise, nutrition, and even mental and social well being, are more and more the direction holistic care should be and is going. Again, if you have any questions or responses to our newsletters, feel free to respond on our website or drop by the office. We would love to be of service in your healthcare endeavors.
Dr. James Higgins, D.C.