Functional chiropractic? If you’ve been following my email articles, everything I talk about is functional? The first time I was introduced into this term functional was when I was studying sports medicine. Along with the standard orthopedic and neurological testing we learned functional testing. What’s the difference? Actually there’s a very big difference. Standard orthopedic and neurological testing is geared to look for disease. A functional examination focuses on the function of the body. How does the knee, shoulder, lower back function under the stress of movement. Even x-rays, CAT scans and, MRIs don’t show you how the body functions, it only looks for disease. Very often the MRI findings do not correlate with the injury and history of the patient. Have you ever scheduled a visit with your primary care physician when you are having a particular problem. As an example, let’s say you have a stomachache. Your doctor performed all the appropriate tests. The diagnosis, there’s nothing wrong with you. So why don’t you feel well? The answer lies between disease and function.
Why now functional chiropractic? Up until recently I had 2 medical practices. My physical medical practice, which is chiropractic, and my functional medical practice, which looks for the root cause of chronic illness. Just as I applied my sports medicine training to my chiropractic practice, I am now integrating my functional medical practice in chiropractic care.
Every back pain is different. Your history, your family history, other health issues, medication, stress level, sleep habits, exercise, and diet all play a part in your back pain. Those are the things we look at in finding the root cause of chronic illness. In fact a lot of back pain is chronic. When I am talking about back pain, I’m talking about all the other aches and pains that you may have.
What’s the bottom line? How has my chiropractic changed with this new understanding of personalized health? I will still be using all of my chiropractic techniques which, include multiple types of myofascial treatments (working on the knots in your back), ultrasound, just about every type of electric muscle stimulation, and moist heat. Interestingly, when an orthotic is necessary, I don’t use the standard casting techniques. My patients are measured for orthotics while walking on a digital platform- functional. I will now be investigating how you got this back pain. How can we prevent it from returning? Those of you that have been examined by me know that I ask questions about history, other health issues etc. I will now be using all my resources of functional medicine to help with all the issues that I discussed above to speed your recovery and prevent a reoccurrence. These other seemingly nonrelated health issues may very well be the initiating factors of your back pain as well as perpetuating factors.
To illustrate this point, very often a patient will tell me that “I just bent over to pick up a piece of paper and my back went out”. Even though that’s the initiating event that caused the back pain, even the patient knows that something was occurring within the last week or even years before he/she picked up the piece of paper. So what was occurring before? We can think of it as the root cause just as we look at the root cause of chronic disease.
So the bottom line is that my chiropractic practice will be more personalized and focusing on quick resolution of pain, improving function, and prevention.
We have to be very careful how we spend our healthcare dollars. We have to move away from symptom relief to improved health and function. Prevention should be paramount. Both functional medicine and now functional chiropractic are focused on achieving these goals.
Incidentally, there will be no additional charges for this more complete treatment. I consider it part of a complete personalized treatment plan. Its what should be done.