Helping Patients Understand their Neuropathy and its Causes

Pain is a hard thing for patients to understand. For them, pain is pain. They don’t care if it’s localized or referred, chronic or acute, nerve or muscle-based. They just want a solution that alleviates their pain and restores their quality of life. This is what makes explaining neuropathy so hard.

There’s often a gap in understanding between the explanation a chiropractor gives and a patient’s comprehension of what, exactly, neuropathy and neuropathic pain are. This further slides into a lack of understanding about how to treat or manage chronic pain. These misunderstandings often culminate in frustration when pain persists and chiropractic approaches are seemingly varied.

At Ideal Spine, we encourage a holistic explanation of neuropathy. Patients need to understand three very important factors:

  • Neuropathic pain is not localized; therefore, treatments won’t be localized;
  • Neuropathy has many symptoms and many causes, all of which require investigation;
  • Neuropathy may not be able to be cured, only managed.

Being upfront and honest about these critical factors will help set the expectation for patients seeking relief. They need to understand the process of assessing symptoms, understanding catalysts, and building a Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) plan to address them all.

Measuring the scope of pain

The first lesson for patients is an important one: Pain is much more than a feeling. Breaking the “pain is pain” generalization helps patients realize the holistic nature of the human body – specifically the central nervous system.

Take the time to help patients understand the concept of referred pain and why it occurs. Use their own situation as an example. Trace the chronic pain in their hands to a pinched nerve or explain how a vitamin deficiency has caused nerve inflammation.

Be sure to also emphasize that the nature of pain is a determinant for how to exercise relief. Nerve pain and muscle pain won’t respond to the same treatment, for example. Apply this and other aspects of pain understanding to patients to illustrate the scope of their pain.

Identify the cause of neuropathy

As mentioned, this is an arduous process that demands diligent investigation of all possible catalysts. CBP can help narrow the scope of focus through physical palpation, diagnostic imaging, and review of patients’ medical histories – but even a narrow scope still involves broad possibilities.

Explain to patients that investigation takes time and needs to be a collaborative process. A chiropractor can adjust treatments and explore options for relief; the patient must provide earnest feedback about how they feel and what works. It takes a comprehensive effort to identify the true cause of neuropathy.

Manage to the best of your abilities

In the mind of many patients, the story of pain has a definite conclusion once the catalyst is identified. That’s not always the case. Be honest and upfront about this with patients, while letting them know their CBP plan is tailored to deliver maximum relief and manage the intensity of the condition.

There’s a lot of misunderstanding about neuropathic pain and because of it, expectations don’t always line up. Ideal Spine encourages chiropractors to explore each patient’s situation with them thoroughly and set expectations upfront, so there’s clear direction and focus as you move forward with a CBP treatment schedule.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.

Advising on Chiropractic Manipulations Post Surgery

“I’ve just had surgery. Is it okay for me to visit a chiropractor?” This question and variations of it are some of the most-asked in the realm of chiropractic relief. It’s a great question and one that shows people are mindful of their health and recovery after an invasive procedure.

The answer varies among patients, but for the most part, chiropractic is generally considered safe for patients after surgery. If you’re able to resume light physical activity, you’re likely able to visit your chiropractor.

That said, Ideal Spine advocates exceptional caution when treating patients who have recently gone under the knife, regardless of their procedure. There are extra precautions and safeguards chiropractors must take to protect their patients from unnecessary stress and strain:

  • Inquire about the procedure: The type of surgery plays a big role in everything from recovery timeline to level of acceptable activity afterward. Chiropractors need to be aware of the nature of a surgical procedure to assess how to best treat their patient and avoid complications, aggravation of the injury, or unwanted side effects. Just keep in mind, chiropractors are subject to HIPAA compliance like any other caregiver.
  • Talk through the recovery: Have a candid conversation with patients about how their recovery is progressing. Ask about milestones, recovery timelines, their latest checkup, and how they feel. A good chiropractor will be able to gauge the feel of a recovery and it’s likely to affect the type of treatment they administer (or not administer).
  • Stay apprised of medical concerns: Does your patient have a heightened risk of injury due to an underlying chronic medical condition? Do they have a history of slow recovery after surgery? These things are important to know before treatment and need to be thoroughly evaluated by a diligent chiropractor. Because evaluation of medical history is part of the Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) approach, much of this information should come to light during the initial assessment phase.
  • Gauge thresholds: If you’re choosing to administer adjustments to a patient, take stock of their thresholds before diving into a full adjustment routine. Examine their range of motion and any pain associated with that movement. Also take into account variables like weight restrictions or limited mobility during the recovery process, both of which limit the range of adjustments that can be delivered.
  • Space appointments: Chiropractic, while healing, can take a toll on the body. When developing an adjustment schedule, be sure to accommodate surgical recovery times. For example, if a normal schedule calls for adjustments every 5 days, consider extending the recovery period to 7 to allow proper recuperation. Try to accommodate both the body’s increased need for recovery while staying aligned with optimal adjustment periods.
  • Encourage wellness and healing: Work with recovering patients to support their recovery not just through chiropractic, but traditional means as well. This may include advising on diet and light exercise, as well as supplementation or other gentle adjustments, like massage. Focus on recommending tips that improve blood flow and lower stress – both of which play into beneficial healing.

Chiropractic after surgery can be a beneficial support to the body’s natural healing processes, but only if undertaken properly. When developing a CBP plan for your patient, Ideal Spine recommends taking every precaution, including adhering to the tips mentioned above.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.

Teaching Activity Modification to Help Patients Cope with Chronic Pain

It’s the job of a good chiropractor not only to help correct a patient’s spinal alignment, but also to act in a proactive capacity. Diligent adjustments mean very little if the problem is recurring. Just like the objective of chiropractic is to treat the source, not the symptoms, so should the goal of every chiropractor be to treat the habit, not its effects. This starts with activity modification.

Activity is everything when it comes to long-term spinal health. Regardless of underlying medical conditions or lifestyle, variables like posture, ergonomics, and biomechanics are the prime determinants in spinal health. In realizing a recurring spinal problem, chiropractors need to trace it back to behavior enablers.

At Ideal Spine, we believe recognizing poor habits and teaching activity modification are core elements of holistic chiropractic. Giving patients the tools to preserve their spine health is the highest form of chiropractic excellence.

Identify the habit

Forward head posture. Anterior pelvic tilt. These conditions and many more are the flagrant signs of bad habits affecting spine health. Identifying these misaligned biomechanics is a chiropractor’s first clue in understanding why their patients continue to experience pain.

Bring these postural shifts and recurring problem to the attention of your patient. The first and best thing you can do is show them specifically what’s causing them grief. Then, extrapolate it. Trace forward head position to the poor posture of sitting at a disproportionate desk job with no ergonomic support. Then, show the strain of forward head position on the cervical spine, cervical nerves, shoulders, all the way down to the posterior chain.

This illumining experience sets the tone for severity and showcases the need for change. It’s the perfect preface for teaching activity modification.

Modify the habit

In addition to delivering precision adjustments to alleviate the effects of spinal misalignment, chiropractors also need to explicitly teach activity modification.

Using the example of forward head posture, it’s not enough to say “sit up straighter” or “get a better chair.” Have patients sit at a mock desk and physically show them the proper approach to correcting poor posture and mechanics. Touch the target areas for patients to be mindful of and explain the proper position relative to their habits.

Once patients are familiar with the shift that’s required to restore good mechanics, teach tips and habits that keep them mindful of these adjustments. This can include postural correction techniques, as well as stretching or lifestyle changes. It all adds up to activity modification, which breaks the cycle of chronic spinal misalignments.

Break the cycle

While delivering corrective relief is the primary role of a chiropractor, equally as important is teaching proactive wellness. Activity modification is a patient’s first line of defense against the habits responsible for their chronic pain and recurring problems.

Ideal Spine advocates a component of activity modification as part of a comprehensive Chiropractic BioPhysics plan. Teaching patients how to preserve the adjustments made and adopt long-term, healthy habits will reinforce overall wellness now and for the future.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.

Understanding the Different Types of TENS Treatments

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is an effective method of treating different types of pain – namely persistent nerve pain. It’s a treatment option many chiropractors employ. But like all chiropractic methodologies, TENS should never be a one-size-fits-all application.

There are four varying types of TENS treatments, each offering unique properties to aid in patient healing and wellness. It’s up to chiropractors to understand the difference between them and their efficacy across different situations. At Ideal Spine, we encourage TENS as part of a Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) approach, but emphasize the use of specific modalities for optimal results.

Alternating current TENS

Alternating current TENS is the typical electrical stimulation most chiropractors are familiar with. This method involves placing diodes directly on and around pain points, delivering low-level electrical current to ease tension and promote blood flow. TENS machines typically operate at high frequency (>50Hz), for maximum muscle stimulation.

This method is most effective in patients with general chronic pain, such as in the low back and hips, as well as the neck and shoulders. It’s usually administered for 8-10 minutes before adjustments. It’s the most broadly used form of TENS and largely versatile within the realm of a CBP treatment plan.

Interferential Current

This is considered a “deeper” form of traditional TENS treatment, operating at an ultra-high frequency (4000Hz) that can penetrate the skin to relieve deep-tissue tension and pain. Because of this, Interferential Current (IFC) is often used for improving range of motion and reducing involuntary muscle spasms caused by deep-tissue stress.

Several studies have proven the efficacy of IFC for improving mobility and a reduction of pain-related fatigue symptoms. Additionally, IFC has proved itself to be a great alternate form of TENS for patients whose bodies don’t respond to the traditional current and frequency of a standard TENS device.

Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy

Similar to TENS, is Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) therapy. This electric stimulation is delivered via burst pulses and used almost exclusively to treat patients suffering from failed back surgery syndrome.

Studies have shown the efficacy of PEMF in treating pain frequency, intensity and duration in individuals suffering from failed back surgery syndrome. Because the pulsation stimulation of PEMF is conducive to promote bone growth, it’s also sometimes used in conjunction with supportive treatments to help osteoarthritis patients.

Galvanic Stimulation

Galvanic stimulation is actually a contrasting approach to TENS. It’s specific to treating acute injuries caused by trauma and is sometimes used to address loss of balance caused by conditions like vertigo or inner ear fluid imbalance.

Galvanic stimulation is delivered through diodes much like TENS. However, unlike TENS, which uses an alternating current, Galvanic stimulation uses a direct current. The theory is that direct current creates an electrical field over the affected area, changing blood flow to promote healing. Two diodes – a positive and a negative – each play a role in galvanic stimulation. Positive reduces circulation and swelling; negative increases circulation to speed healing.

Know the role of each treatment

While they all leverage electrical current to promote healing in localized areas, each form of TENS-based treatment is different. If you’re planning on leveraging Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation into a CBP treatment plan, ensure it’s the right modality for the situation. For more information, consult Ideal Spine.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.