Most cases of neck or back pain are due to malfunctioning spinal (facet) joints. Due to the common incidents of everyday life – strenuous work, accidents, poor posture, etc. – some facet joints develop adhesions (scar tissue) which cause them to lock up (joint fixation). When this happens the other facet joints in the area now move more & farther than usual to compensate for the “fixated” (locked) joint. It is these overworked joints that get injured (ligament sprain) and cause pain. This entire scenario is called the subluxation complex.
The key is to find these fixated joints and free them up. MOTION PALPATION is a Chiropractic diagnostic procedure in which the doctor uses his hands to feel for the motion (or lack thereof) at each of the vertebral facet joints. Once the fixated joints are identified, specific Chiropractic manipulations are administered enough times to bring about the normal full range of motion. This also improves the function of the spinal nerve which passes through that joint and the function of the body part that nerve controls. Circulation is also increased. Physical therapy is usually done to decrease muscle spasm, swelling, etc. in the area.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?
Treatment time varies from one person to another. Depending on age, health, occupation, posture, the severity of the injury, how long injury has been present, etc. The average patient is symptom-free in 5 to 6 visits. However, recovery is not just pain relief, but the attainment of a normal, healthy, mobile spine. Usually, a few more treatments are needed beyond the point of pain relief to reach the total correction of the fixated joints. Otherwise, you might leave yourself open to a relapse or start a chronic problem.
The good news is motion palpation can be used as a screening test in prevention procedures. Minor fixations that develop today, if left unattended become major and more difficult problems in the future, and can be the underlying cause of deteriorating health. If uncorrected, abnormal spinal mechanics will result in progressive local degeneration; such as bone spurs, deformation, disc thinning, etc. A skilled Chiropractor in motion palpation can detect and correct fixations early.
Just as you should seek periodic dental examination to detect cavities, it is equally important to have a spinal checkup every six months, more often if you have a chronic problem. In doing so we are truly practicing health care instead of sickness and disease care. Beyond providing specific treatment, we can help you in health maintenance by teaching you to be more aware of your role in preventing spinal problems through proper exercise, posture, and diet. The highest function of a doctor is to prevent what he treats!
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