The American Chiropractic Association estimates that about 35 million Americans see a chiropractor every year, and not just for a bad back. Chiropractors treat various back, neck, and musculoskeletal issues, and some practices, like Optimum Health Rehab, also offer other wellness services. Many patients seek chiropractic care for chronic pain that hasn’t responded to traditional treatments, but this isn’t the only situation where a chiropractor can be of service.
Do You Know When to See a Hiram Chiropractor?
Here are some signs that a visit with a local chiropractor could be helpful:
You Have Lingering Pain After a Car Accident or Other Injury
First, you should always seek medical care right away after a car accident or any other sudden injury. It’s deceptively easy to think that you are fine and don’t need to see a doctor if you’re not in pain or your injuries seem inconsequential. We’ve met many patients who had those thoughts.
Unfortunately, accidents tend to be stressful, and they often trigger the release of adrenaline, which you may know as the “fight or flight” hormone. One way that adrenaline gets you ready for “fight or flight” is by blunting the sensation of pain, so people often think their injuries are less significant than they are. Additionally, an injury can feel much worse the next day when the body has started trying to fix the injury, leading to swelling and inflammation. In some cases, delaying medical care can make your injuries more difficult to treat and leave you in pain for a longer period.
Sometimes patients go to the emergency room or urgent care after an accident. The doctors there are highly skilled at screening injured people for broken bones, concussions, internal bleeding, and other potentially serious issues. They can also advise you on short-term options for pain relief, and in some cases, they might prescribe enough prescription medication for a few days. However, they aren’t equipped to assist you with long-term or chronic pain or help you figure out why your injury didn’t heal as predicted.
In many situations, patients are diagnosed with a soft-tissue injury like whiplash or back strain. These injuries generally resolve in a few days to a few weeks. If your pain doesn’t at least improve after several days, we recommend making an appointment with a chiropractor. Soft tissue injuries often occur at the same time as a spinal misalignment or subluxation. While the muscle injury may get better, the misaligned vertebrae can continue to cause pain, but a simple chiropractic adjustment can help.
You Have Trouble Getting a Firm Diagnosis for Your Musculoskeletal Pain
Many patients experience chronic back, neck, or joint pain, and not only following an injury. Sometimes the pain begins with sleeping in a weird position, or it may have no identifiable cause. A trip to the doctor may not reveal any answers. Often the doctor takes an X-ray, doesn’t notice anything majorly wrong, and diagnoses the pain as muscular. The doctor might prescribe muscle relaxers, which are sometimes helpful, but many patients find them ineffective. Or the patient may be advised to use over-the-counter pain relievers, which provide limited relief, if any. Getting a second opinion may not offer any better solutions.
At Optimum Health Rehab, we use a full suite of diagnostic equipment to ensure we diagnose your pain correctly. This includes X-rays, CT scans, and nerve conduction studies. In many cases, we find that the patient has a subluxation that can be corrected with spinal manipulation, a simple, drug-free treatment in which we apply a sudden, controlled force to realign the vertebrae.
In other situations, the patient may have a muscle injury that hasn’t healed correctly or even a pinched or compressed nerve. Difficulties with nerve pain are often overlooked or misdiagnosed, especially since they can happen at the same time as other injuries that are more easily identified. For example, if you hurt your neck in a car accident, the doctor may give you an X-ray, see that nothing is broken, and diagnose you with whiplash. You may indeed have small tears in the muscle from your head snapping forward and then back in the collision. But these tears might heal in a week or two, while a misaligned vertebrae presses on a nerve in your neck, prolonging your pain. A second X-ray may look unremarkable to the doctor because pinched nerves aren’t visible on an X-ray, and general practitioners aren’t trained to look for spinal misalignments.
A chiropractor, on the other hand, might see the misalignment on an X-ray or find the pinched nerve by doing a nerve conduction study. We also conduct a physical exam of the spine and may locate a subluxation that way. Our exams are done on a special chiropractic table that allows us to perform a chiropractic adjustment right away when we find an alignment issue.
Traditional Treatments Are Not Helping Your Pain
Some patients visit multiple doctors to get relief for their back or neck pain, and they may receive a wide array of advice or prescriptions. Even if the diagnosis is correct, traditional treatments simply aren’t effective or tolerable for some patients. Musculoskeletal pain is often treated with anti-inflammatory medication, either over-the-counter remedies like aspirin or ibuprofen or prescription medications like COX-2 inhibitors. However, the over-the-counter versions can cause gastrointestinal problems and excessive bleeding if used daily. COX-2 inhibitors are less likely to harm the digestive system, but these side effects are still possible.
If the pain has gone on for a considerable time, the patient could be prescribed antidepressants or anticonvulsants, which are effective for some patients with chronic pain. But these drugs come with serious potential side effects, including neurological issues, mood swings, drowsiness, nausea, and sexual side effects. Some patients find that the side effects are worse than the pain, or they are reluctant to take such strong medication in the first place.
In some cases, patients are told their pain might improve if they “exercise more” or “lose some weight.” Unfortunately, this is hard to do when you’re in pain, and sometimes exercise can exacerbate the problem.
In rare cases, a doctor might recommend surgery if other treatments haven’t helped. Any surgery carries risks, and many patients have concerns about agreeing to an operation. You should think carefully before going under the knife. Ask your doctor about recovery times and how much physical therapy you need to regain your strength and abilities. You should also know that for some people, surgery does not help or even makes the pain worse. Other risks of surgery include infection, blood clots, or excessive bleeding.
If you’ve visited several doctors and found that the available treatments either didn’t work, had too many side effects, or were simply too high-risk, you should consider seeing a chiropractor. First, we will make sure your diagnosis is correct. If it is, we will discuss possible alternative treatments, which may include:
- A chiropractic adjustment if there is evidence that a subluxation is at least one cause of your pain. (Again, you can have more than one root cause of pain.)
- Physical rehabilitation. Our physical therapists can not only help you with reducing your pain but also strengthen your body and prevent recurrences of misaligned vertebrae or repeated injuries. Depending on your needs, physical therapy may involve exercises to strengthen certain muscles or joints, training to improve balance and coordination, hot and cold therapies, electrical stimulation, or exercises to improve posture and relieve stress on an injured area.
- Massage therapy. Don’t be fooled – massage therapy is a good way to relax, but it’s also effective at relieving pain and stiffness, increasing circulation, breaking down scar tissue, and promoting the healing process. There are several types of massage therapy recommended for different injuries, and it often works well with other treatments.
- Neurologic services. Diagnosing and treating nerve pain or damage is only one of our neurologic services. Nerve conduction testing allows us to learn if signals are traveling normally through your nerves – if not, we can attempt to heal the problem with physical therapy, electrical stimulation, and other treatments. We can also help patients recovering from nerve pain or other neurological issues with physical therapy. If nerve damage cannot be reversed, electrical stimulation can also hamper pain signals to the brain, providing a drug-free option for pain relief.
- Regenerative treatments. We also offer modern therapies, including plasma-rich platelet injections or PRP therapy. PRP uses a component of your blood, platelet-rich plasma, to heal muscle or nerve injuries. The platelet-rich plasma is separated from the rest of your blood using a centrifuge, and this liquid contains a high concentration of bio proteins and growth hormones, which intensify the healing process. We inject the PRP directly into the injured area to assist patients with persistent injuries that haven’t responded to other treatments.
47 Highland Pavilion Ct STE 102,
Hiram, GA 30141
- 9AM–1PM, 3:30–7PM
- 9AM–1PM, 3:30–7PM
- 9AM–1PM, 3:30–7PM
- 9AM–1PM, 3:30–7PM
Make an Appointment with a Hiram Chiropractor Today
The Optimum Health Rehab staff is eager to help you find out how we can treat your pain and assist you in feeling like yourself again. Please contact us today to set up an appointment for a consultation.