What's News at Tulsa Spine and Rehab
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.
Helping people achieve health and fitness goals is what drives Tarah Foster, our new personal trainer at Tulsa Spine and Rehab.
Tarah earned her Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science with a minor in Nutrition from Missouri State university in Springfield, MO . She’s also certified through the American College of Sports Medicine as a Certified Exercise Physiologist as well as a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine.
Since graduating, Tarah has worked in the health care industry as an Exercise Physiologist in cardiac settings. She has also been a fitness manager and trainer. This varied work experience allows Tarah to serve a variety of client needs, something she counts as a blessing.
Tarah’s here to help you. Ask her about setting and reaching your own health and fitness goals.
We are frequently asked questions concerning exercise and how it applies to both the young and old. There are a lot of variables that must be determined before answering these questions, such as:
A) Is it a child or a junior?
B) Is it someone who is injured or recovering from surgery?
C) Is it someone looking to lose weight; or
D) Is it someone who is elderly and looking to regain strength?
Exercises for Children
We’ll begin with young children and juniors; science and research have demonstrated that kids need to learn to exercise in a specific manner as windows open up in a child’s development. For example, pre-puberty age children should not start lifting weights since testosterone is lacking at this age. Boys and girls develop at different ages, but at this age, they can both benefit from basic neuromuscular or motor pattern type drills which will allow their brains to learn basic movement patterns. From there, they can begin working on balance and agility, followed by individual strength, power, coordination and endurance drills.
Exercises for the Elderly
Those people who are 65+ years of age, who are healthy with no serious physical complaints, should place their focus on maintaining mobility and flexibility. These exercises include thoracic spine or mid-back mobility as well as hip mobility. As I’ve stated in past blogs, we live in a forward world; we sit down, we get in our cars, we work at computers, and all of these movements can cause a bit of C-posturing to develop in our backs. This leads to slouching or slumping which can be improved with the right exercise. Simple getting out and walking will improve all of the above mentioned facets and it’s an easy, inexpensive way to exercise.
Today, great emphasis is placed on weight training; however, I believe the real focus should be on maintaining mobility first through the use of aerobic exercises. This can include use of an elliptical, Stair Masters, bicycles, as well as walking, and each of these will have low impact to joints. As long as you maintain your physical condition through the use of low impact exercises, the chance of developing inflammation in your joints should be significantly lessened.
Warnings Signs to Look Out For
Here at Tulsa Spine & Rehab, we do not believe in the old saying, “No pain, no gain.” Pain should serve as your indicator, or as a “Check Engine” light. This can vary greatly from person to person and children will naturally have more energy with higher aerobic function. The older we become, the more we will need concentrate on making time to exercise. Adults should try to fit in exercise at least three times a week for about 45 minutes each time. If you belong to a gym, that’s great, but it isn’t a necessity. Walking and moving around doesn’t have to be done under a trainer in a gym and exercising on your own will only serve to keep you from losing mobility. Don’t let yourself fall into the cycle we see so many of our patients suffering from; when they begin to hurt, they do less and the less they do, the more they hurt. Carve out time in your week and keep moving!