Among a chiropractor’s many skills is the art of spinal manipulation to relieve pain and correct muscle imbalances. Back and neck pain are the leading reasons people miss work and visit their doctors. In many cases, muscle strains or sprains are the cause of backaches. Tight muscles pull on the vertebrae and move them out of place. This is known as a misalignment or subluxation. The shifting of the vertebrae compresses the associated nerves resulting in pain and stiffness. The goal of the chiropractor during spinal manipulation is to reposition the vertebrae to their original position and decompress the nerves thus stopping the pain. Spinal manipulation offers a conservative and non-surgical approach to care that both alleviates symptoms of discomfort and restores function.
Spinal manipulation, which is also referred to as spinal manipulative therapy or manual therapy, harnesses the body’s innate healing power by gently repositioning and aligning those vertebrae that have shifted. It serves to relieve pain, restore function, and help maintain homeostasis. The procedure involves the directed manipulation of joints and can be complemented by massage therapy, exercise, and physical therapy to reduce inflammation, and alleviate nerve impairment for improved comfort and function. With spinal manipulation back, neck, shoulder, and headache pain can be treated. In some cases, other disorders such as menstrual pain and sinus problems can also be addressed.
As an essential component of care in both Western and traditional Asian medicine, forms of manipulative spine therapy have been used for thousands of years and in many parts of the world. In fact, evidence found in both ancient Chinese text from China in 2700 B.C. and Greek text circa 1500 B.C. mention manipulation of the spine and legs to ease back pain. In the United States, Dr. Daniel David Palmer, who is considered the “father” of chiropractic care, first developed the theory that diseases were caused by spinal misalignments, which blocked the transmission of the body’s own healing power through the nervous system, near the end of the nineteenth century. His ideas and findings form the basis of chiropractic medicine today.
There are physical conditions that respond more effectively with a little help from modern technology and instrument assistance. One such case is in the mobilization of soft tissue when manual methods are insufficient. ConnecTX® is a leading edge, patented form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) that allows the chiropractor to more effectively break down scar tissue as well as fascial restrictions. ConnecTX® therapy features a specially designed stainless steel instrument that is used to systematically detect and treat a range of conditions associated with scar tissue, inflammation, and fibrosis, such as cervical sprain/strain, lumbar sprain/strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, scar tissue, shin splints, certain inflammatory foot, elbow and knee disorders, fibromyalagia, and trigger finger.
Since fibrosis and scar tissue is comprised of more collagen fibers than elastin, these tissues no longer have the ability to stretch. Over time, the lack of tissue fluidity and flexibility creates other myofascial stress patterns, which can have an overall effect on posture and health. With ConnecTX® (IASTM) an effective way of restoring elasticity to these tissues is provided, thereby allowing for increased and improved movement.
Dr. Mollin is certified in and teaches ConnecTX®
Spinal disorders involve limitations of function related to pain. As such, the goal of care is to restore function while eliminating or reducing pain and intolerance to activity. By establishing a partnership in care between manipulation (passive care) and exercise (active care) comfort and function can be restored.
It’s important to keep in mind that reducing or eliminating pain isn’t the only task of the chiropractor, it’s also important to get to the underlying cause of pain. A functional assessment refers to looking for indicators that point to the locations where joints and tissues may be under duress and overworked by dysfunction or muscle imbalances. With a functional assessment, the chiropractor can complement manipulation with active rehabilitation exercises for the best outcomes of care.
The conservative Cox® Technic method of spinal manipulation offers patients with pain in their neck, back, or legs a means of safe and efficient pain relief to restore comfort and function. As the chiropractor gently performs a series of slow, precise and repetitive movements, the discs in the lower back are allowed to expand, thereby providing a period of relief from constant pressure to reduce inflammation and consequently restore optimal nerve function.
Flexion-Distraction and Decompression adjustment and manipulation as provided by the Cox® Technic offers a measures pain relief for a range of conditions causing low back and leg pain as well as neck and arm pain.
With this method of care the following goals can be accomplished:
Many studies have demonstrated the consistent effectiveness of Cox® Technic Flexion Distraction. As compared to patients treated with physical therapy, the Cox® Technic was found to be more effective in reducing pain for one year following treatment. Moreover, patients who received this method of care visited their health care provider less often than those patients who received physical therapy. For many patients, surgery for disc herniation was avoided, and low back and leg pain was resolved within one week of treatment.
This technique recognizes two types of patients: Protocol I & Protocol II. In the former, pain is felt down to the extremities. For these patients care is more frequent and involves using very gentle movements to the point of tolerance. While Protocol II patients do not experience radiating pain and don’t have to come as frequently, in both instances the 50% rule is respected. This rule allows for a 50% reduction in pain within the first 30 days. If this level of recovery has not been achieved, further tests and images will be taken to ascertain if there is an underlying cause. In most cases, however, relief will be felt within that period.
*Dr. Mollin is certified in and teaches Cox® Technic Flexion Distraction and Decompression.
Electrotherapy is a method of care designed to promote healing and reduce pain. In short, it is the medical application of electrical currents to spur healing and lessen pain. Electrotherapy can be applied in a variety of ways, including galvanic current, interferential current, electrical stimulating currents, or electrical muscle stimulation.
By using electrotherapy the chiropractor can help to drive out inflammation and calm inflamed nerves. It offers deep penetrating therapy to increase circulation, decrease muscular inflammation, promote healing, and decrease the sensation of pain. Electrical stimulating currents can be applied to the involved muscles in the back or extremity to relax and stimulate muscles. It is effective in treating muscle strain and pain, and inflammation. Electrical muscle stimulation can also be used to help strengthen muscles that may be weak or atrophied due to injury or surgery.
Many people are confused as to the correct application of ice packs or heat packs to treat an injury or the often uncomfortable symptoms associated with a range of other conditions. While there is a distinct time for cryotherapy (ice) and one for thermotherapy (heat), knowing when to use each one can make a big difference in the healing process.
Since cold therapy causes vasoconstriction to slow down blood circulation to a specific area, it is the therapy of choice within the first 72 hours. Cold compresses will reduce the pain, inflammation, and stiffness after an injury. Cold decreases the flow of fluid (lymph) to tissues and slows the chemicals that cause pain. Also, cold decreases the nerve ending conduction of pain messages and reduces muscle spasms. However, cold therapy should be avoided if you have circulation issues or sensitivity to cold. The best way to apply a cold compress is to place a towel between your skin and the cold pack. Use it for 10 minutes at a time while elevating the affected area.
Heat therapy encourages blood vessels to expand and brings more blood to the area. So you want to apply heat after the initial 72 hours after an injury. Since it lowers the transmission of pain signals, heat can be relaxing and sedating. With increased blood flow comes more oxygen and nutrient flow to heal the damaged tissues. The application of heat also encourages greater flexibility and reduces stiffness.
A combination of hot and cold therapy often provides an excellent method of care as heat sedates muscles and joints and cold drives out swelling.
An effective treatment for pain relief is cold laser therapy. This non-invasive, non-thermal, fast and painless treatment uses low-level lasers to heal and strengthen the tissue. Unlike surgical or aesthetic lasers, it does not cause your tissues to heat up. Cold laser therapy is sometimes called low-level laser therapy (LLLT), or low-power laser therapy (LPLT). Using this technology, a low-level light is applied directly to the problem area. The targeted tissue then absorbs the light, catalyzing a biological or chemical reaction at the cellular level to promote tissue regeneration. Treatment with a cold laser is completely noninvasive and painless. During the procedure, you’ll feel the device against your skin, but it creates no heat, sound, or vibration. A treatment typically is short and takes only a few minutes.
Cold laser therapy is used for pain relief for a number of conditions. The major uses of cold laser therapy are tissue repair and relief from pain and inflammation. It is also used in the treatment of minor injuries and sprains and is helpful in reducing swelling and promoting the healing of the joints and soft tissue.
There are numerous situations where cold laser therapy can be beneficially applied. In cases of minor injuries and sprains, cold laser therapy speeds the healing process. Also, inflammatory conditions, acute and chronic pain, fibromyalgia, wound healing, and skin rejuvenation all improve with the clinical application of cold laser therapy.