What are the Phases of Chiropractic Care?

Phases of Chiropractic Care

How long your decide to benefit from chiropractic care is always up to you.

Decision Point

There are 3 Phases of Chiropractic Care.

Phase 1 – Initial Acute Care

In the first stage of care we aim to relieve pain. Initially your muscles may be in spasm, and your joints may be inflamed. Your chiropractor’s focus is to reduce pain with gentle manipulation, and aftercare home advice (sometimes ice, or rest is needed). Depending on your age, overall health condition, level of  joint degeneration and lifestyle, some return visits may be necessary to reduce or eliminate your initial presenting symptoms.

Phase 2- Subacute Care

In this next phase your chiropractor will focus on rehabilitating and restoring joint function.  Muscle and other soft tissue damage can often persist after your initial symptoms have subsided, so we check to make sure the trigger points are releasing and becoming less active. We also assess your range of motion and give stretching and strengthening exercises to restore the correct function to the areas involved.  We will encourage you to supplement your care with exercises or other self-care procedures you can do at home to try to prevent further relapses. 

Phase 3 – Future Follow-up Care

Sometimes more chronic musculoskeletal conditions will require some longer term care from time to time to help manage the pain and symptoms. For example, chronic low back pain is very common, and whilst we are able to help with some immediate relief, at times we may need to educate you on how to be more aware of your body and the signs that there may be a problem starting. We aim to try to help you manage your condition by looking at lifestyle, posture and other stressors in your life that could possibly be modified. This may involve follow up at the first sign of a symptom you are aware of is a precursor to your condition. Feeling pain, stiffness, or discomfort for example are a good reasons to come back for follow up care. All of this is dependant on each individual case.

Combining Chiropractic with other therapies such as Massage.

Remedial Massage Compliment Chiropractic

Sometimes Massage compliments Chiropractic care really well, along with other musculoskeletal therapies such as Dry needling and Acupuncture. We often recommend patients have a massage first before we adjust, especially if there is a strong muscle component to their condition. Often the combined soft tissue and joint treatments enable an improved outcome to care. Remedial Massage can help reduce tension in the supporting muscles of the spine allowing for increased mobility and range of motion.

Massage helps to prepare the muscles for the joint manipulation or chiropractic adjustment by allowing greater range of motion within the joint, and hopefully less involuntary tightening that can sometimes occur before a chiropractic adjustment (reflex). As a result we feel your adjustment may be enhanced due to the extra relaxation.

Benefits of Dry Needling

Dry NeedlingWhat is Dry Needling and How does it work?

This is a technique of gently inserting a very fine gauge needle (same as acupuncture needles) into specific trigger points. A trigger point feels just like a tight nodule within the muscle (a knot), and sends pain to another area when pressed. The aim is to release myofascial pain in these muscles that these trigger points cause. Traditionally, massage has been the main method to alleviate these knots, but Dry Needling can effectively do the same thing. It is often quicker and more efficient than Deep Tissue Massage.

How does it work?

Dry Needling has the effect of increasing blood supply to the needled area which causes an influx of oxygen. This removes the toxins that cause pain within the nerve endings in the muscle.

How does Dry Needling differ to Acupuncture?

A lot of people ask if it is the same as Acupuncture. Well, Acupuncture is an Ancient Chinese practice that involves redirecting the flow of energy or Qi in order to relieve muscle pain. In contrast, Dry Needling is based on western medicine using anatomy and physiology to determine trigger point locations. It is not surprisingly, often these trigger points line up with meridians in the body.  Unlike Acupuncture, Dry needling is administered by a range of health professionals (such as us Chiropractors) that are specifically trained in this technique.

What does Dry Needling treat?

Dry needling treats a number of stubborn musculoskeletal disorders.

• Neck, back, hip and arm pain due to myofascial pain syndrome
• Bursitis of the shoulder or supraspinatus tendonitis
• Tennis or Golfer’s elbow
• Headaches & migraines
• Tendinitis
• Jaw pain (TMJ syndrome)
• Leg pain, sciatica, or calf tightness
• Osteoarthritis
• Scar tissue
• Sinusitis

Are there any side effects to Dry Needling?

Initially when applying the needle to an active trigger point, we often elicit a twitch response in the muscle. For instance, if the needle is in the correct part of the muscle, it will have the best therapeutic benefit to the patient. However, the needle can feel weird to some people, and it often makes people jump the first time they experience it. Some patients may experience mild muscle soreness, and slight bruising over the treated area. Additionally, there maybe some activated pain into the zone of referred pain, but this typically only lasts for a day or so. As a result, depending on the amount of soreness, some further treatment may be required such as applying heat or ice to the area, and stretching or gentle massage.

There may be factors that determine if you are likely to respond well to this type of treatment, so  I really hope that you will ask about this form of treatment if you are interested in finding out more.