Mystery Solved: A Case for Chiropractic Care
By Martha Michael
You wake up one morning and find your body stiff, so you do some basic stretches and get on with your day. But after a few weeks you realize the stiffness is worsening and you begin to feel off-balance when you walk. Eventually, you have trouble even standing still.
It’s unsettling to experience a mystery illness, so you’re wise to call on a proficient investigator to help you find the problem and devise a solution. In this case, your chiropractor is your detective.
It’s a chiropractor’s job to gather clues from your health profile to piece together the cause of your physical challenges, typically beginning with a consultation about your family history. Knowledge of your genetic predispositions to conditions such as arthritis or asthma can be valuable in tearing down elements of mystery and finding greater clarity. Basically, you have pain; your chiropractor is looking to solve the whodunit.
Solving Case No. 1
Pain and difficulty standing in place are the two most common symptoms of deformity of the spine, according to the USC Spine Center website. If your chiropractor sees a “C” or “S” shape in the coronal plane of your spine, you may be diagnosed with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis of the adult, called ASA, or more simply, adult onset scoliosis.
Some adults develop scoliosis over time due to degenerative spondylosis, or spinal arthritis, which increases with age. But children and adolescents are more likely to be diagnosed with scoliosis. When kids with a congenital spine abnormality have a curvature that’s greater than 50 percent, it typically worsens at a rate of 1 degree per year, and as adults they sometimes develop a hump on the rib cage.
When the chiropractor does a full spinal assessment of a patient with scoliosis, it involves following clues to find the origin of the nerve compression. The chiropractor can detect a truncal shift, which is what causes the lack of balance, and a decrease in the individual’s range of motion in the lumbar area of the spine.
Aside from these symptoms, and sometimes tenderness of the spine, neurological testing should be normal, unless you have:
- Disc herniation
- Severe spinal stenosis
The best way to reduce the possibility that health concerns sneak up on you is to keep a watchful eye on your well-being. Beginning a regimen of regular chiropractic care delivers that benefit, as it provides you with a baseline of your health condition. It’s the most efficient method for diagnosing any developing diseases, because your chiropractor can detect changes in your wellness.
Through chiropractic care you can become better informed about how joint dysfunctions occur and the purpose of chiropractic adjustments. On an ongoing basis, your chiropractor can recommend the best choice of treatment options when problems develop.
Solving Case No. 2
Imagine you have incessant back pain and can’t find a causal relationship between any of your activities and frequent discomfort.
Some sleuthing by your chiropractor will determine whether or not it’s a mechanical problem -- a dysfunction between your muscles, spine, nerves and intervertebral discs, which is the case for most back pain -- or due to a serious underlying problem such as kidney stones or an infection.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has an article that says more than one-fourth of American adults experience lower back pain in any three-month period. Degeneration of the bones, joints or discs of the spine is the greatest cause of lower back pain, and other causes include:
- Herniated discs
- Traumatic injuries
Low back pain is moving closer to the top of the list of “burdensome conditions,” meaning it leads to poor health or mortality at a greater rate than previous research showed. Most reports of lower back pain are work-related, but whether or not it’s the result of an injury, back pain that lasts for 12 weeks or more is considered chronic, and if it lasts 4-12 weeks it’s considered subacute low back pain. The key is to get it checked early, before it becomes a chronic condition.
In most cases, a chiropractor will trace the origin of the low back pain to five vertebrae in the lumbar region. And with further investigation and educated conclusions, you can get treatment recommendations. If your low back pain is caused by a lack of fitness or weight gain, your chiropractor may suggest a change in lifestyle.
In life, as in a typical Agatha Christie plot line, you rarely get that aha moment on your own. And when you have a mystery illness, the best gumshoe detective for the job is your chiropractor.
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