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When Is Back Pain More Than Back Pain?


Your First Chiropractic Office Visit
Your chiropractor's purpose on your first office visit is to make sure you're in the right place. He or she wants to make certain your back pain really is back pain - and treatable - rather than being a symptom of an underlying medical condition.

Your chiropractor will take a complete history, learning the facts about your problem. How long you've had the pain, the nature and quality of the pain itself, whether the pain is localized or radiating, and whether the pain wakes you up at night are key elements in solving the puzzle.

Following the history, your chiropractor will perform a complete orthopedic and neurologic exam, gathering all the information necessary to arrive at what's called a "working diagnosis".

If your chiropractor concludes that treatment is appropriate, she will outline the anticipated stages of improvement and recovery, noting that further evaluation will be done if you're not getting better in a timely manner.

Out of the blue, your back starts to hurt. At first, it's just an annoyance. You can live with it. You've had lower back pain before and it went away on its own.

Now it's a few weeks later. You've got a low-grade pain that's not getting any better. You're actually worse, in fact, because your back hurts most of the time.

What to do?

You don't want to run to a doctor. After all, it's just back pain. Everybody has back pain. So you begin to solicit advice from your friends. And, of course, your friends have plenty of advice. "Do these exercises my doctor gave me." "Do these stretches - they worked for me." "Go to yoga class." "I know a great Pilates instructor. She'll get you in shape and your back will stop hurting." "Take vitamins and drink more water." "Meditate."

Your friends mean well and it's all very good advice. But none of it seems to work. Another month goes by and now the pain is increasing. It's even affecting your sleep.

It's time to see a doctor. But which one? For the most part, medical physicians are not experts on back pain. Typical recommendations include rest, moist heat, and anti-inflammatory medication.1,2 But, really, you've done all that. You need more specific advice.

Choices might include doctors of chiropractic, orthopedic surgeons, and physical therapists.

Many orthopedic surgeons are spinal specialists, but what they do is surgery. This would be a last resort, typically, after other treatment options have failed.

Physical therapists are highly skilled practitioners who focus on exercise, rehabilitation, and re-training. They are not primary care providers, and typically patients are referred to physical therapists by family physicians, chiropractors, and orthopedic surgeons.

Doctors of chiropractic are spinal specialists, too, and what chiropractors have to offer is expert conservative therapy.3 Chiropractors treat back-related problems all day, every day, and are the right doctor to see first.

As spinal specialists, chiropractors receive extensive training in evaluating patients with back pain. Chiropractors consider all aspects of the problem, and develop sound treatment plans based on the facts. If a person does not respond as anticipated, their chiropractor has a "Plan B" in place for further evaluation and possible referral.

When choosing a doctor, you're allowed to ask questions and participate in the process. The strategy for follow-up is critically important.

First, if you're improving and doing well, how will can you help keep the problem from recurring? Will your chiropractor prescribe stretches, exercises, and other self-care action steps to help you keep yourself well?

And, what steps will be taken if your problem and pain are not improving? Where might you be referred for further tests and evaluation? Chiropractic treatment is a powerful tool in most cases of back pain. Symptoms should begin to improve quickly. Have your chiropractor outline the "Plan B" if you are, in fact, not getting better.

Your doctor of chiropractic will be able to answer these questions.



1Zuhosky JP, et al: Industrial medicine and acute musculoskeletal rehabilitation. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 88(3 Suppl 1):S34-39, 2007.
2Cayea D, et al: Chronic low back pain in older adults. What physicians know, what they think they know, and what they should be taught. J Am Geriatr Soc 54(11):1772-1777, 2006.
3DeVocht JW: History and overview of theories and methods of chiropractic. Clin Orthop Relat Res 444:243-249, 2006.


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Testimonial

I slipped on ice in December, landing hard on my behind. I was in excruciating pain and could barely move. It was a Saturday night but I called the office and left a message (new patient, too, found them on Google.) I received a call back first thing Monday morning, they got me right in that day, and I just completed my 3- month treatment plan. I feel so much better and am happy to have found Dr. Ide and his staff.

  ~Amy Hawker

Dr. Ide and his staff are awesome. I had all but given up and I saw his ad. I am s happy to be out of partial pain and I have only gone twice, I cannot wait for the end results. Just to be pain free. Dr. Ide, I thank you so much.

   ~ Patsy Dimond-Spencer

Dr. Ide and his staff have given me my life back. The day I called to make my first appointment I had been suffering from a migraine and severe neck pain for 6 days. This was also after receiving multiple pain injections from my primary physician with no relief. His staff not only verified my insurance was accepted at this location before even offering me an appointment time (which multiple offices will not do this) over the phone but I was able to make an appointment for the same day. Dr. Ide took the time to obtain pertinent patient history and not only explain but he also showed me on my x-rays why I was experiencing pain. He addressed the root of the problem instead of pushing prescriptions to subside your symptoms. HE discussed my POA in detail and reiterated why finishing therapy and continuing home therapy was important. I was hesitant and nervous about my first adjustment but again, he took the time to walk me through each step. Paired with my weekly adjustments I also receive massage therapy. Monica, the massage therapist is incredible. She takes the time to ask specific questions before the massage to ensure she provides the best care possible. Kasey, Dr. Ide's assistant is extremely personable and continues to make sure you feel comfortable throughout your visit. The front staff also provides a warm and welcoming environment. Within my first month of treatment, I'm able to go das without a headache now and I have reduced the frequency of my pain medication. I highly recommend Dr. Ide and his staff!

    ~Leah Craig

Very friendly staff and knowledgeable doctor! After doing a 3 month program, I no longer have daily headaches, back pain or neck pain. Most doctor's adjust your back and send you on your way - Dr. Ide makes sure to turn it into a lifestyle change by improving your posture and fixing any issues you may have. I would definitely recommend him over any chiropractor.

    ~Lauren Dunigan

I always have good service and leave feeling good! The people are nice and all know my name. I really like how they do business for senior citizens... that's a big plus!
~Nancy Matson

Very extensive in the examination. Not like other chiropractors I'd seen who just do a quick adjustment. They diagnosed the problem and are working to correct it with me. They have even went so far as to work out payment arguments for the things my insurance wouldn't cover.

    ~Brandon Ogle

I had neck and shoulder pain since 2010. Ever since I started going to him I have felt better and better!

    ~Andrel Jacobs 

I had ankle problems all my life in my left foot. Dr. Ide adjusted my ankle for me and within one adjustment my ankle felt the best ever. Thanks Dr. Ide!

              A.H.
              Fenton, MI

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