Chiropractic: Not just for "back cracking" anymore
Most people know that chiropractors "adjust, manipulate or crack the back" as they perform their trade. However, is that all they do, and is it necessary that they always do it? The answer is a resounding "no" for patients that have seen Aurora Health Care chiropractors.
As a practicing chiropractor at the Aurora Health Center-Edgerton in Greenfield, Paul Maurer, DC, says he has seen more than one new patient filled with anxiety on the day of their first visit.
"I still remember one elderly patient saying, "Please don't hurt me," before I had even uttered a word," says Dr. Maurer. "Her concerns caught me by surprise, but it allowed me to recognize some of the pre-conceived notions about chiropractic care. Even though we often manipulate or "adjust" the spine in order to help alleviate a patient's pain and discomfort, there is more than one way to treat patients," he emphasizes.
Established more than 100 years ago, chiropractic care is a healing art and science that uses a natural approach to health without drugs or surgeries. While the foundation of the specialty is the use of hands-on manipulation – a quick, gentle thrust – of the spine and other joints of the body to improve joint function, chiropractors routinely recommend exercise and stretching to further improve muscular function and health. They may also recommend nutrition or other therapeutic modalities and medical care to improve health and well being.
"Depending on many variables including age, diagnosis, spinal health, overall health status and comfort level, treatment options really vary from person to person," explains Dr. Maurer. "One patient's plan of care may include adjustments, mobilization (decompression or traction techniques) and stretching techniques, while another may focus on soft-tissue care, modality (ultrasound or muscle stimulation) and advice."
At Aurora, licensed chiropractors work in the same clinics as physicians, rehabilitation specialists and other health care professionals to provide convenient, comprehensive care and the best possible outcomes for patients. Aurora's collaborative model of care is particularly effective in the treatment of some of the common reasons people seek chiropractic care. These include back pain, arthritis, disc conditions, headaches, neck pain, pinched nerves, sciatica, shoulder or arm pain and spinal stenosis.
To evaluate such conditions, doctors of chiropractic use a number of tools including personal health history, physical examination, laboratory tests and X-rays as medically necessary. As part of the Aurora team, chiropractors also have access to state of the art diagnostic procedures such as imaging services, computerized tomography (CT scan) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
"A typical plan of care for Aurora chiropractic medicine is to see our patients a number of times over the course of 2 weeks," says Dr. Maurer. "After that period, we reevaluate. Patients may be released as early as 2 weeks if their condition has improved significantly. If additional evaluation is needed, we engage the collaborate approach we have at Aurora. It's not unusual at all for me to coordinate a patient's care with other providers and to consult with their primary care doctor, orthopedic physician, neurosurgeons or physical therapist, to name a few," says Dr. Maurer.
"Chiropractic as a profession has come a long way towards becoming an accepted part of the health care system – with or without the "crack,"" says Dr. Maurer. "What we have at Aurora is even more special in that we really are considered part of the health care team. Together, we are able to focus on what helps our patients best, in the most cost effective way, and with the quickest results."