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Take a Peek Inside our Doctors' Toolkit

When you think about a doctor’s “toolkit” the iconic image of a black bag filled with a stethoscope, tongue compressor and/or a shot may come to mind.  But what exactly do you think of when you think of your chiropractor’s “toolkit”?  An adjusting table, maybe a bottle of BioFreeze and their two hands right?  Well…anyone that has come to our office knows that is not entirely the case with our doctors.  When you come in for your appointment you may be treated with any number of different “tools.”

Here’s a quick list of the tools we use in our office and their applications:

Thermo-therapy

Ice and heat have been used commonly to treat injuries, but when do we know when to use ice or heat?

Ice is typically used in the first 24-72 hours after injury to help reduce swelling and decrease pain.  Ice works by decreasing blood flow to the injured area, which in turn will decrease the amount of swelling that occurs after injury.  Cold therapy is a starting point for common for sports or lifting injuries such as sprains, strains, bumps, and bruises.

Heat is typically used 72+ hours after injury to help reduce muscle spasms and increase range of motion.  Heat opens up blood vessels, which increases blood flow and supplies oxygen and nutrients to reduce pain in joints and relax muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The warmth also decreases muscle spasms and can increase range of motion. Applying heat to your body can improve the flexibility of tendons and ligaments, reduce muscle spasms, and alleviate pain.

If in doubt as to whether to apply heat or cold to an injury, call our office and we will be happy to advise!

Electrical Stimulation

Electrical Stimulation can be used for two primary functions; muscle strengthening or pain control.  Electrical stimulation uses a small electrical current to “turn on” nerves in our body. By placing a pair of electrodes over a muscle, muscle group, or painful area the unit can send electrical impulses through the skin to underlying nerves, creating light, comfortable muscle contractions.

The TENS unit is an electrical stimulation device used for pain management. It provides pain relief by sending small electrical impulses through electrodes placed on the skin to underlying nerve fibers. Very simply, TENS is effective at blocking nerves that transmit pain information by turning on sensory nerves in our skin.  By effectively managing pain without drugs, TENS allows many people with chronic pain conditions to resume daily activity.

Kinesio-taping

Kinesio-taping methods have been around for decades and recently have erupted due to their wide use in professional, collegiate and recreational sports.  Kinesio-taping (we prefer RockTape) is effective for a wide variety of sports injuries, but is also effective for non-sports injuries and pain.  RockTape is an elastic tape that when applied over muscles and joints will lift the skin and fascia to help increase blood flow, which increases oxygen to the muscle to promote healing and reduce fatigue.  By lifting the skin, Rocktape will also improve lymph drainage to reduce swelling in joints.  It can be applied to nearly every joint and will last for up to 5 days without falling off under most circumstances.

Compression Banding or Flossing

The basic principle of flossing is that in healthy tissues, tendons and ligaments and fascia and muscle slide against one another freely.  If any of these tissues have become inflamed by injury or by overuse, they can get bound up.  This creates pain, inflammation and decreased range of motion.

The “flossing” pins down painful tissue offering compression and support, allowing it to slide underneath as you move the joint safely through range of motion exercises.   After the wrap comes off, blood flows back into the area as you move the joint around freely again, and the extra oxygen boost helps keep things from tightening up immediately.  The effects of flossing are not permanent but will help someone with a minor injury continue to move the joint freely, workout with decreased pain and improve range of motion.

Spinal Decompression

Spinal Decompression Therapy involves a safe and gentle stretching the spine, using state-of-the-art equipment with the goal of decreasing neck pain, low back pain which may be associated with numbness or tingling into the legs or arms.  Typically spinal decompression may be used in the treatment of disc herniation by creating a negative pressure within the disc to promote reduction or repositioning of the bulging disc material.   Reducing the bulging disc may alleviate pressure on nearby structures, including irritated nerves.  This decrease in irritation helps decrease pain and improves pain-free range of motion.

Spinal and Joint Manipulation

When joints are misalign a chiropractic physician can use their hands or an instrument to manipulate the joints of the body, particularly the spine, in order to restore or enhance joint function. When bones misalign in the body the muscles attached to them will either become over-active (tight) or inactive (weak). When our joints are incapable of moving properly, it eventually leads to stiffness, inflammation and pain. Adjustments will help free these joints that are moving improperly and allow the muscles to relax. Once the joints are moving properly we are able to apply a variety of therapies to help improve muscle strength, reduce tightness and pain. Adjustment of a joint may result in the release of a gas between the joints, which makes a popping sound.

As you can see, we use a unique and comprehensive approach to how we treat our patients.  Our focus is to get you out of pain and moving again as quickly and efficiently as possible.  If you ever have a question about the treatment you receive in our office, don’t hesitate to ask—we are always happy to explain.

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