In today’s healthcare system, we often see patients let down by their healthcare providers. As a patient, you deserve to get the most straightforward path back to feeling better. Too many injured and suffering people are not being properly evaluated. This leads to inappropriate care, lack of game plan, and no plan to prevent the pain or injury from returning in the future. We want chiropractic to fix this problem.
There are 3 fundamental aspects of care you deserve as the patient
- Comprehensive Evaluation and Assessment
- Conservative Treatment Options
- Prevention Training
Comprehensive Evaluation and Assessment
Too often we see that when a patients handled improperly by their primary care physician or specialist. Their doctor will may give a proper history and consultation, but this is often followed up by a very low-level musculoskeletal exam. Many times the doctor won’t even assess the muscle tissue, the surrounding joint, or look at the overall movement pattern of the patient. In a lot of these cases they’ll perform just a few orthopedic tests, refer you for some imaging, but ultimately conclude that you must rest for 6 weeks and finally prescribe you some medication to help “manage” your condition. Your healthcare needs to fix this.
As a patient, it is important to understand what you should expect from your healthcare visit. Your doctor should be thorough enough to have a working diagnosis on the likely source of pain or injury. The diagnosis should be specific and clearly communicated.
In order to determine an appropriate working diagnosis a comprehensive evaluation should include, but is not limited to:
- A thorough History & Consultation: talking about what you have going on
- Functional Assessment: Finding weakness, tightness and poor movement patterns
- Orthopedic Exams, Range Of Motion, Neurological testing as needed.
- Muscle and Joint Testing.
- Gait Analysis (if necessary)
A thorough exam provides your doctor with the information required to determine the best treatment for you. This in turn allows for you, the patient, to make an informed decision on the best options for your specific case. The worst thing you can do is walk out of an appointment with unanswered questions or doubt about your treatment recommendation.
Conservative Treatment Options
In my professional opinion, you deserve a comprehensive hands-on approach to your pain. Most of our patients respond best to a combination of therapies. This may include but is not limited to:
- Muscle Work
- Chiropractic Adjustments
- Rehabilitative Exercises
- Future Injury Prevention
- Movement Re-training Therapy
Conservative treatment should never be a “one size fits all” approach. The incorporation of multiple therapies and treatment options allow plenty of customization to ensure that your care plan is as unique as you are.
Few things are more frustrating than a recurring injury. Many things that can contribute to a flare up or re-aggravation symptoms. These include a muscle strains from work/life/sport, not following the exercises provided, lack of injury prevention training, or more. As an informed patient, these are a sample of some prevention options your provider should go over with you:
- Daily Activities Training: Many things we do in our daily lives cause damage when done improperly. Work on applicable things like getting in and out of the car correctly, lifting with your legs and not your back, etc.
- Return to Work/Sport Advice: When to return and if you can perform at full strength with no limitations
- Body Awareness and Preparation: Proper lifting, bending, posture, etc.
- Corrective Exercises: a stronger core will help limit future back injuries
- Desk Ergonomics Tips: Improperly sitting at a desk for 8+ hours per day may be creating many of your problems
- Proper Equipment Recommendations: Selecting the correct running shoes for a runner.
- Skills/Technique Training: That improper golf swing may be tweaking the back. Learn a proper technique from a teaching professional.
There are many potential shortcomings that you may experience when you see any healthcare provider for your pain. The first step to being an informed patient is understanding what quality care SHOULD look like. We outlined some key points that an informed patient should come to expect from your provider when you seek treatment for any musculoskeletal condition.
- A comprehensive exam including but not limited to a thorough history, a functional movement assessment, palpation (assessing by hand) of the joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments
- An exam that looks at the body as a whole in order to determine the root cause, the key here is to not only focus on the point of pain. Your doctor should be challenged to dive deeper. For example, many times a patient with low back pain will have limited hip and mid-back motion that have led to the low back being over-worked and injured.
- A specific working diagnosis based off of the thorough exam.
- All of your treatment options should be explained and discussed, offering you a chance to ask any questions you might have and provide clarity regarding our plan.
- Lastly, receive advice regarding preventative care for your injury, so once you are out of pain, you can avoid re-injury or aggravations.