Chiropractic Care – Contradictions in Treatment Efficacy Actually Validate the Field’s Methods

Chiropractic Care - Contradictions in Treatment Efficacy Actually Validate the Field's Methods Blog  Chiropractic Care

For millions of Americans, every day can be a struggle against chronic and nearly debilitating back pain. Many conventional medical treatments, such as pain relievers or trigger point injections, carry a whole host of adverse risks and side effect. Some people may resort to surgery for relief, but for many individuals there is a better way to relieve chronic back pain. Sufferers from this condition may not have to resort to habit-forming medications or invasive surgeries, because there is help that can both relieve the pain and begin to heal the spine from its injuries.

Chiropractic Care and Spinal Manipulation

Spinal manipulation is the technique most often used in chiropractic care to help patients who are suffering from back pain. It is an evidence-based process of applying gentle force to joints and bones in certain areas. This force renders movement and relieves compression that can cause nerve irritation and soft tissue damage. Many people with low-back pain experience great relief from chiropractic care while others may experience little to no effect for their injury treatment needs. While this may seem to contradict the good reputation of chiropractic care for low-back pain and injury treatment, it really exhibits how nuanced each individual case of pain and injury truly can be.

Spinal Adjustment – Effective or Not?

As with any medical treatment, chiropractic care reacts different in each individual. Just as one person can derive benefits from the very same drug that another person may have an extremely adverse reaction to, so too can chiropractic care render vastly different results. Some interesting and important points were discovered in a recent clinical study that compared 3 different groups that consisted of:

  • A group with low-back pain who underwent 2 weeks of manipulation therapy
  • A group of people with low-back pain who did not receive such treatment
  • A group of people with no reported back pain who received spinal adjustment treatment

Results were measured clinically by MRI and other respected diagnostic tools. People who reported relief from their care also exhibited positive changes in their back anatomy, such as:

  • Increased muscle tone
  • Decreased spinal stiffness
  • Improved vertebral spacing

However, the people who reported no pain relief also did not exhibit any noted physical changes. Essentially, they experienced no effect over the course of the study.

Chiropractic Care – Helping to Identify the Correct Course of
Injury Treatment

The takeaway from this pioneering study is that chiropractic is indeed an effective and important treatment for those hoping to alleviate pain. However, like all medical treatments, it will not help everyone with this affliction. This is due to many factors that can include:

  • Type and severity of injury
  • Source of pain
  • Individual differences in constitution

It is clear that the field of chiropractic treatment is an important and safe diagnostic tool. Unlike many traditional treatments geared toward pain reduction, such as certain medications, undergoing a short course of spinal adjustment treatment has virtually no side effects. While a patient may not enjoy any benefits from spinal manipulation treatment, it could potentially be used as a screening tool to help steer patients toward a different and effective course of therapy for lasting pain relief.

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In this instance, an athlete was originally diagnosed with minor quadriceps muscle strain and was treated for four weeks, with unsatisfactory results. When he came to our clinic, the muscle was not healing, and the patients’ muscle tissue had already begun to atrophy.

Upon examination using MSUS, we discovered that he had a full muscle thickness tear that had been overlooked by his previous provider. To mitigate damage and promote healing, surgery should have been performed immediately after the injury occurred. Because of misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment, the patient now has permanent damage that cannot be corrected.

The most important advantage of Ultrasound over MRI imaging is its ability to zero in on the symptomatic region and obtain imaging, with active participation and feedback from the patient. Using dynamic MSUS, we can see what happens when patients contract their muscles, something that cannot be done with MRI. From a diagnostic perspective, this interaction is invaluable.

Dynamic ultrasonography examination demonstrating
the full thickness tear and already occurring muscle atrophy
due to misdiagnosis and not referring the patient
to proper diagnostic workup

Demonstration of how very small muscle defect is made and revealed
to be a complete tear with muscle contraction
under diagnostic sonography (not possible with MRI)

image

Complete tear of rectus femoris
with large hematoma (blood)

image

Separation of muscle ends due to tear elicited
on dynamic sonography examination

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