It’s a simple phrase, that can come about for so many different reasons. One thing is for sure though, as compassionate human beings, we will always respond accordingly. Thankfully, anyone I know well wouldn’t hesitate to help when asked if the need was considered of importance. Perhaps if somebody needed help with changing a tire, or holding a door, we wouldn’t think twice. It’s just who we are!
I often am asked that same question in consultations. People want to know if I can help them, or their issue more specifically. You’d think that it is a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer, but I think the answer is often a little murkier. In order to understand what I mean, you need to understand the premise behind what we do as Chiropractors. You see, as a Chiropractor our intent is not to treat a named condition, yes… this includes low back pain, headaches and any other musculoskeletal issue.
So what IS our goal then?
Simply returning the spine to a normal state of function. Whenever I have a new patient start in the practice I am looking at them for specific spinal shifts that have occurred. Where these shifts are present, I know I can help with that specifically and by virtue of that they came to see me for in the first place.
What about their presenting complaint?
We don’t simply ignore what someone is coming in to see us for in our office. What we’ll do is look at where their may be connections from the spine outward towards the area of complaint. Often there is a connection between the spine and these areas and upon correcting these spinal shifts; using specific adjustments, exercises and recommendations, we find an improvement in the patients presenting complaints. Does this mean that we are done when their complaint is resolved? That’s a more difficult question to answer as symptoms are a very misleading marker to judge things by. To put that in perspective let’s look at how a Dentist might manage a cavity. We show up for our yearly or 6 month check up with the dentist while feeling pretty good. After they do their examination and find that along with some scaling being required, as well as perhaps more flossing being needed, you also have a cavity in one of your molars. You haven’t ‘felt’ anything prior to that, and you don’t really know what would happen if left un-filled, other than worsening. Will it go on to requiring further work (like a root canal), or stay about the same? I look at these spinal shifts in much the same way. Although, someone comes in complaining of a lower back condition, I assess them from top to bottom and find there are areas of concern in areas such as the upper neck that are contributing to the problems in the lower back, or vice versa. I work to correct these shifts and once the person is stabilized we do protective appointments to maintain what they have worked towards.
So when it comes to helping a specific condition… we impact the nervous system in our work and thereby the presenting complaint.
In the end, Chiropractic is not simply designed to make you Feel Better… rather it is designed to help you Heal Better. And that unto itself is how we work to help our patients the most.
Here to help!
Dr. Matt Lindsay
Aligned Chiropractic, Burlington, ON