Spine Pain Expert
This article was provided by Dr. Justin Hill DC, a chiropractor at Sunset Hills Spine and Joint Center in St. Louis, MO. If you would like to learn more, please visit https://www.sunsethillspain.com/.
What Makes A Chiropractor a Spine Pain Expert?
I have been asked by many family members, friends, and acquaintances, what makes you unique as a Chiropractor? What do you do as a Chiropractor? It is a simple question to answer. As a Chiropractor, I am a Spine Pain Expert. Plain and simple. No doctor in health care is educated and trained to the extent that a Chiropractor is to treat spine pain. Chiropractors are the only doctors that are trained in all the necessary areas to treat spine pain patients as the first line of treatment, or to put it better, as the first doctor they should see. Let me map out the reasons why:
- Chiropractors are trained how to diagnose spine pain through physical examination and diagnostic imaging (x-rays, MRIs, etc.). Physical exam is by far the most important, x-rays and MRIs have a lot of false positive findings. X-rays and MRIs are not good screening tools for patients with spine pain. Your physical exam findings should determine if the patient needs further imaging studies and imaging studies should only be performed if they are going to dictate treatment.
- Chiropractors are trained in spinal manipulation, which has been proven through many scientific articles to be effective in treating spine pain (only doctors fully trained in spinal manipulation)
- Chiropractors are trained in rehabilitative exercise for spine pain, so we know the specific corrective exercises to use for spine pain patients
- Chiropractors are trained in soft tissue therapies, which treat the muscles and fascia which can be involved in spine pain
- Chiropractic treatment has little to no side effects, other than soreness from the treatment itself
- Chiropractors are the only doctors who are fully trained in treating spine pain without drugs and/or surgery. While medications, injections, and/or surgery are necessary for certain patients, the majority do not need those treatments and the side effects of medications, injections, and surgery can be very problematic.
A multimodal approach is necessary when treating spine pain. A doctor must use some combination of spinal manipulation, soft tissue therapies, or rehabilitative exercise on each patient. When you use this approach, your outcomes improve dramatically. I expect to see 50-80% improvement in my patients’ pain levels within the first 2-3 weeks of treatment. If the patient has not reached this much improvement, then I will look to diagnostic imaging to determine why. If there is a finding that correlates directly with the patient’s symptoms, then I will refer the patient for medical treatment.
Decrease You Chance of Having Surgery
A very interesting article was published which stated the likelihood of having surgery was determined by what type of doctor was seen first. If a spine pain patient saw their primary medical doctor first, there likelihood of having surgery went up! If they saw a Chiropractor first, their likelihood went way down! This is very important because spine surgery has many side effects. And we all know the potential side effects and addiction risks or the opioid pain pills that are often prescribed for spine pain.
This is why I do what I do. To save people the pain and suffering from not getting the proper treatment of their spine pain right away and having to suffer for months to years sometimes before they find me, and I help them. I am not saying that medications, injections and/or surgery are never necessary, but you must screen the patients correctly for those services, and only Chiropractors are trained to know who will respond to spinal manipulation, soft tissue therapy, and rehabilitative exercise and who needs medical intervention. And with almost no side effects, Chiropractic treatment should be the first line of treatment advised for spine pain patients.
When you are looking for a Chiropractor to help you, be sure to look for one who states they perform some sort of soft tissue technique like Active Release therapy, Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization, or Dry Needling Acupuncture. There are many more techniques, but in Chiropractic those are the major ones to look for. Also, you want to check that the Chiropractor gives you at home exercises but keeps it very simple. It is usually best for spine pain patients to do one exercise that is specifically tailored to their condition and do it more frequently, as compliance is the most important factor in getting good results with rehab exercises.
So, what is it that I do as a Chiropractor? I am a Spine Pain Expert that focuses on getting people who have acute or chronic spine pain out of pain quickly so they can get back to enjoying their lives. I do this by being the most educated doctor on physically examining the spine pain patient, but also on all the treatments that have been shown in the medical literature to be proven to help spine pain patients the most. When you see a doctor like this, your pain goes away quicker and stays away longer, without medications or surgery that have potentially harmful side effects. That is what I do and why I love what I do.