In some cases of musculoskeletal pain surgery is inevitable, but in many cases the pain can be relieved through chiropractic care. The Hart Wellness Center is not against surgery whatsoever, but we do feel that it is often over-utilized. A conservative care specialists, our approach to pain is to rid a patient of their ailment in the least invasive manor possible. Surgery is always an option, but all other types of treatment should be exhausted before surgery is considered. When discussing surgery with patients, we often discuss the therapeutic ladder. This ladder goes from the least invasive care (self treatment) to the most invasive care (surgery).
The first step in treatment of musculoskeletal care should be self care. Utilize ice, heat, stretching, rest or any other remedies that you have access to. The human body does an amazing job of fixing itself, so often times self care and rest can reduce or abolish pain.
If self care has not rid you of pain the next step would be visiting a chiropractor or conservative care specialist. We pride ourselves on ridding patients of pain without the use of injections, medications, or surgical interventions. We utilize movement strategies, dry needling, and chiropractic adjustments to help alleviate patients. In our experience seeing patients we have been able to rid patients of their pain 85-90% of the time. The amount of visits can vary in reducing pain but our rule of thumb at The Hart Wellness Center is that we should see significant change in a patients pain levels in 6 visits or less. If a patient has had no change in pain over 6 or so visits (10-15% of total patients), then we would refer up the therapeutic ladder for imaging or referral to the appropriate specialty physician.
This referral could be to a pain management specialist, podiatrist, rheumatologist, neurologist, or anything in between. Most commonly in the case of pain originating in the spine we refer to an anesthesiologist or pain management specialist. In this case we would still see the patient in a co-management setting while they are being treated by the specialist. If the specialist is unable to resolve the pain, the final solution would be a referral to a surgeon. In this case all other trials of care have been exhausted and surgery would be the last option.
Chiropractic care at The Hart Wellness Center can be utilized to fix joint dysfunction, muscle pain, disc bulging, disc herniation, or tendonitis. As discussed in a previous email, many patients have disc bulges in their back that may or may not be a source of their pain. If a surgeon sees that a patient has disc bulging or disc herniation on an MRI, that is typically where the surgery is performed. Unfortunately sometimes the disc bulges are not the cause of pain, so a patient is still in pain after the surgery. In some of these cases the muscles or joints could be the cause of the pain which can be fixed in a chiropractic office.
If you know someone that has been suffering from pain for a long time and they are contemplating surgery, have them try chiropractic care first! The worst that we will do is give you an exercise or two to take home with you rather than having metal rods and screws in your back.