As a chiropractor I unavoidably have some bias towards my discipline. However here I explain my take on chiropractic, how I like to address problems that patients present with and how I go about helping them to resolve their injury or issue.
I would describe myself as a musculoskeletal chiropractor; I treat conditions of the musculoskeletal system, which may involve any combination of joints, tendons, ligaments, muscles and nerves. This may involve the spine, but it often involves peripheral joints like shoulders, hips, knees and ankles.
The practitioner must always listen to the patient first and foremost; whatever their primary concern is it must be addressed. Quite often there can be a psychological component to an injury, particularly with chronic pain. If a patient does not feel like you are addressing their problem, then it is highly likely that the outcome will not be as successful.
My initial consultation takes up to 45 minutes because a thorough examination is involved to assess the region of pain and surrounding areas. Range of motion, movement analysis, muscle testing, palpation, orthopaedic and neurological tests may make up the assessment procedure. At times X-Rays are suggested if more sinister causes need to be ruled out. A discussion follows with the patient to advise them of possible causes, a diagnosis and then proposed treatment. The patient has to be comfortable with all of the above before the treatment begins.
I usually address treatment three different ways, not all three approaches are necessarily addressed on the first consultation.
Firstly the use of gentle chiropractic manipulation and/or mobilization, to increase movement in any joints that may be restricted for various reasons. Improving movement is one of the most important factors, particularly with our ever-increasing sedentary lifestyle. Without movement nutrients are unable to effectively reach our joints and waste materials are unable to be removed.
Secondly, soft tissues that may be involved are addressed; these could be muscles, tendons or ligaments. I use techniques such as massage, myofascial release and instrument assisted soft tissue release methods. If there are extensive soft tissue issues, referral to a remedial massage therapist may be appropriate as part of an integrated treatment plan.
Lastly, more often than not a patient will have some kind of imbalance, weakness or tightness issue that needs to be addressed. I will often run through some movements, stretches or general exercise advice with a patient to help them further improve their outcome and hopefully prevent reoccurrence of the injury or issue.
My approach to treatment is multimodal and my three key components that I always focus on are movement, balance and strength to help achieve people’s goals.
Dr Natalie Legge