I know. It’s a loaded question when talking about chiropractors.
I’ve talked before about how to avoid the black hole of endless chiropractic treatment.
Whether you’re going to a physician’s office, a chiropractor’s office, physical therapy or other professional, you’re obviously going in with a problem.
They’re going to take a detailed history. Hopefully, they’ll give you a thorough examination, listen to you and find out what your problems are. It is vital up front that we know what your condition is before talking about treatment.
Our focus is patient based, meaning everyone’s different that comes in our office. The dangerous trap is to get into thinking that, “OK, well this patient presented kind of the same way, it must be the same thing.” It’s important that we keep our options open. That’s what I mean when I say patient based. Every patient is an individual that comes into the clinic and it’s important that we make a good solid determination of what their diagnosis or problem is.
The Patient Needs to Understand The Diagnosis
I always tell my patients, “Before you leave the office you’re going to be able to tell me what your problem is.” And I have them tell me again. It’s important they have a good understanding of what that diagnosis is. And then from there, you can make a good recommendation of what they need for treatment…more specifically, if that’s something that they need in my office. They may need a physical therapist, they might need a massage therapist or an orthopedic referral or a diagnostic test.
We need to develop a plan. Often, that plan doesn’t necessarily include the number of visits, but rather, what are we going to do and what are some reasonable goals we would like to achieve from the plan.
It’s important to discuss these things with the patient. They wouldn’t be in here if something weren’t wrong. We not only want to reduce their discomfort, but maybe if they need increased hip flexibility (because lack of mobility is contributing to the pain) we want the plan to increase the hip flexibility. With a plan in place, having a good understanding of what’s going to be done, what the reasonable expectations and goals are going to be and then ultimately, how long is it going to last?
We’re very conservative with our treatment plans. I go back to the black hole analogy. 4 to 6 visits is typical for our office. We like to go week-to-week and then re-evaluate patients as we move forward. Some patients are going to respond much quicker than others. Others might take a little bit of time if there are some complications or they ultimately may need referral.
How Involved Should Patients Be In Their Treatment Plan?
We expect feedback from our patients, especially about what kind of treatment they’ll be getting. We are typically going to blend in some form of manual therapy…adjustments, manipulation, mobilization, or soft tissue work. But, we want to blend that with some form of exercise, whether that’s physical therapy or a home exercise program or just some specific activity modifications.
Ultimately, with our clinic, what we’re doing is combining multiple service lines (chiropractic, physical therapy, massage) under one roof and we’ve found the patients respond really, really well to that.
With a lot of providers, their office may just offer one specialty. It’s that old analogy that if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything is going to look like a nail. Here, we have wrenches and screwdrivers and hammers and saws. And so we have multiple service lines for different types of conditions. Because at the end of the day, it’s all patient based. Our job here is to make people feel better.
What is Home Instruction and Exercise?
In a lot of chiropractic offices, they’ll send you home with a list of exercises on a piece of paper that looks like it’s been copied 98 times. It’s the same set of low back exercises that they’re going to give ALL low back patients. I’m not saying anything’s wrong with that or they’re bad exercises, but Jane might be different than Bob and Bob may be different than Tim. So, we need to figure out what this patient is going to respond the best to. There might be a hip component or a mid-back component. Typically, we want to provide patients with exercises that they understand, that they can complete in a efficient manner. We recognize how important their time is, so we take the time to determine exactly what they need. We’ll give them exercises x, y and z and we want them to do this three times a week and then after two weeks we might want them to follow up with something else. We call them progressions. We want to start with A we want to get you to Z, so to speak, slowly progressing through some of these exercises without re-injuring or hurting yourself.
Do I Need A Referral?
Tulsa Spine and Rehab is a direct access provider, meaning if you can just pick the phone up and call. We strive to get patients in within a day or two. Get them evaluated and on the road to recovery.
You’ll be with me about an hour on that first visit. I’ll take a detailed history and give a thorough examination. We also like to get started with your treatment plan on the first visit. A lot of offices might have you come back. Obviously, you’re here because you’re hurting. Let’s start treatment. Let me show you some things that you can do on your own over the weekend or some other things that you could help yourself. Because I think it’s important too, once you leave that first visit, that you feel like you’ve gotten somewhere. You might not be completely out of pain, but you might have been shown some things that you can do on your own to help yourself.