QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY DR. WEN
Should I see a chiropractor or physical therapist for my neck pain, low back pain, or whatever pain?
This can be a difficult question for any potential patient as training, specialization, personal interests, and scopes of practice can sometimes intersect for these practitioners. Inter-professional politics can sometimes complicate this issue more as well. In my opinion as a health care practitioner that came from outside of health care, either of them can be a great choice depending on the individual you see.
Some chiropractors focus mainly on treating the joints of the spine, and some, like me, are trained and experienced at addressing other pain and injuries throughout the body with soft tissue work as well as exercise and rehab. While exercise and rehab have also been the mainstays of physical therapy, many of them do great body work as well, including the spine. The practitioner's background, their own history of personal injuries, and style of practice can certainly influence the quality and style of treatment you receive.
In the research based health care model people often like to think there is one best "magic bullet" for every specific problem but research has shown that many conditions are complex and varied in their nature, and can respond to various types of treatment. So instead of getting so focused on the right “title” to see, I would recommend the new patient to do their homework by checking out clinic websites, asking questions, and reading reviews to get a sense of how they treat these problems in order to find out who is the best fit for you.
If you're looking for a local chiropractor near you that provides comprehensive care, do not hesistate to call or
book me online today.
What should I look for in a chiropractor?
These are the 3 most important things I think that new patients should look for when looking for a chiropractor.
1. You Are Philosophically Aligned
Let’s face it, if you don’t share a similar mindset as your doctor, you probably won’t want to be there or listen to the information or advice they give you which may hinder you from making progress. Chiropractic has many styles of practice and there are so many technique systems that it is sometimes hard to know what you are looking for. The best thing you can do is read a clinic's website information and blogs throughly for information to get a sense if their approach makes sense to you. For example, some chiropractors place a high emphasis on correcting spinal alignment and posture with spinal adjustments, however it is only a piece of the big puzzle for me when trying to help people eliminate pain. (Read
why spinal alignment and posture might not be as important as you were told to think.)
2. They Spend the Appropriate Time on You
I believe the best practitioners and doctors of anything, in general, spend a generous amount of 1-on-1 time with you to thoroughly understand and treat your condition as this should translate to less visits and less cost in the long run. As a chiropractor, the spinal adjustment is an effective and frequently used tool with my patients, but as many conditions are complex or have been plaguing the person for a while, it’s a small fraction of the amount of work I perform as it may not be enough to get the job done alone. In my practice, I typically see patients for an hour where I also perform extensive soft tissue/muscle work and/or exercise to eliminate pain and work to prevent it from returning.
3. They Empower You
While your chiropractor is a critical component of your recovery, they should not hold all the keys to your success. Often, there are simple, but effective things that can be done on your own to help treat yourself (which also saves you time and money). Having been both patient and doctor I realized that the treatment in the office is akin to hitting the reset button on pain, but for lasting results, the patient needs to be proactive at reinforcing the work done. The best practitioners will push you towards more independence.
If you're looking for a local chiropractor in Kirkland that you can trust, don't hesistate to
schedule a visit with me online today.
What happens during a chiropractic adjustment?
The short answer- The joint is sufficiently stretched far enough that air molecules fill the empty space created where joint fluid once completely occupied. The "pop" is either due to the coalescing of air molecules or the break in fluid tension.
While the pop does tend to be more associated with feelings of relief, it is not always necessarily required for the stretching to be therapeutic. Mobilizations, which generally do not create pops have also been shown to be effective. It is thought that the stimulation to the joints in these manner may modify our sensation of pain or cause the muscles local muscles to relax, providing relief. In my practice, I utilize one or the other depending on my patient's comfort level.
Want to know more? Read more details about
what happens during an adjustment.
Is it safe to adjust my own back?
Patients sometimes wonder about self-manipulation and ask about cracking their own fingers or using a foam roller on their back to release joints. Most of the time, these two cases are not a big issue, but beyond that it is ill advised to perform any other form or method of self-manipulation to the spine. One reason is that you are unable to fully relax postural muscles supporting the area you are trying to target. This may lead you to inadvertently pull on a muscle that isn't relaxed or is guarding due to pain, leading to further irritation to the area bothering you. The other reason is that you are not able to optimally or safely position and mobilize the joints you are trying to target placing too much stress or torque on a joint (that's how I ended up seeing chiropractor in the first place because the classmate that taught me to twist my back around a chair to relieve my low back pain eventually made it worse). Patients that describe performing self-manipulation are also usually mobilizing the joints that are already mobile instead of the ones that need it, setting up possible instability at a joint if it is chronically stretched over and over. Lastly, it's always a good idea to receive a thorough examination, something you won't get on your own because there may be more that's causing the pain than where you are only feeling it. If you've taken the time to research this question, then it's time to do yourself a favor and take that step to see a trusted professional. Don't be like the young me. Book a visit with me online and then read more about adjustments and how safe they are.