How is Spinal Care different from every other chiropractic office I have been to?
- We think there are many ways Spinal Care is different from most other chiropractic offices, but the two biggest differences involve the speed and process with which we tend to fix injuries. We don’t subscribe to the “long term care” plan. We want you fixed and back out living your life. You won’t be seeing us 3x/week for 12 weeks. It’s more likely you will see us 4-5x and you’ll be finished.
- In addition, we don’t “just crack the back” and rely on adjustments. We find that joint health and repair comes down to the mobility and stability of the joint. That includes tendons, ligaments and fascial in addition to the muscle and bone. Patients tell us about how they have “gotten cracked” and sent on their way in other offices. That might help some patients, but we feel that most pain is more fully (permanently) resolved if the soft tissue is mobilized and then strengthened and stabilized. In many cases, there is no “cracking” (called an adjustment) to be had. The adjustment is just another tool we have to help mobilize a joint. Some patients respond very well to an adjustment and others cringe at the thought. Either way, we discuss your options with you and if the adjustment has been helpful, we can use it. If you’d sooner have a tooth pulled than have a joint adjusted, we simply don’t do it.
- We think one additional feature that sets us apart from other offices is our team. Daily, we hear comments on how incredibly helpful our staff is. We understand that when you are in pain, the last thing you need is people who don’t go out of their way to help. You need a place to get answers and people who return your calls. The Spinal Care team is a fantastic group of people who are focused on you and your well-being. We never forget that we are here for you……and we like to have fun, so expect to laugh while you recover.
What should I expect on my first visit?
- Expect to be asked a number of questions about your injury. We ask that you complete our new patient health history form and consent forms available through our patient portal in advance. If you have any trouble accessing the portal or completing the forms on your available device(s), don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team of admins is often able to resolve whatever challenges you may be facing. But you always have the option of coming in 20 minutes before your appointment time to complete the forms using an iPad in our office. If you have multiple areas of pain, decide on which area you want to address first (see question 3 below).
- Once your New Patient Visit is scheduled, you will receive a link from our patient portal. Follow this link and it will guide you as you set up your own private account. This allows you to fill out all the necessary insurance, HIPAA, and health history information at home and at your own pace. We need to have all that information completed prior to your first visit so, if you have any trouble, please reach out to us. If necessary, we can walk you through the process in the office prior to your first visit.
- You can expect your doctor to call a day or two prior to your New Patient appointment. We like to introduce ourselves and give you an opportunity to ask any questions you might have before coming into the office.
- Once in the office, we will ask you a number of questions about the injury or area of pain. Many patients come to us with multiple issues. We ask that you pick the one that affects you most. We focus on one issue at a time. This allows us to focus on the area and thoroughly evaluate and treat that injury. We find that if we address multiple issues in a visit, we don’t make as much progress in any area. If we focus on one area, we can fully resolve it and move on to the next area.
- Expect to move. We will have you move a good deal to test range of motion, reflexes, muscle tone etc. The more we see you move, the more thoroughly we can analyze your injury. With this in mind, we ask that you come wearing LOOSE FITTING, comfortable clothes. If the injury involves the low back, hips, legs or feet –wear or bring a pair of loose fitting shorts. If the injury involves the neck or shoulders, we ask our female patients to wear a tank top, camisole or sports bra to allow us to see how the shoulders move. If you forget, we have plenty of gowns and shorts available for you, but patients are usually more comfortable in your own.
- Expect to be educated. Once we know what is involved with your injury, we will let you know what we find and how we are going to fix it. If it is an injury we cannot fix, we will explain that to you and offer you some options that might help: whether that is another type of doctor or therapy, or some other course of action.
Why do we only work on one area at a time when I have pain in multiple regions?
- With limited time for each visit, we want to focus on one area of pain and eliminate it. We find that if we spread our focus on multiple regions in one appointment, we see less significant improvement overall. The results are better when we concentrate on one area, fix it and then move on. When you have multiple areas of complaint, pick the one that is most impactful to you and we can start there.
How long does a visit take?
- The first visit is usually about an hour. We need that time to do a thorough exam, explain the findings to you, and start treatment. If your injury is one we can help, we will start treatment right away and explain your home care.
- Each additional visit takes about 30 minutes which is spent one-on-one with the doctor. After the initial visit, we need less time to evaluate and we can get right into treating.
How often should I schedule my appointments?
- We generally schedule follow up appointments 3-5 days apart. We like to give you about 2-3 days to let the treatment take effect and then a few more days to give you time to go and test it. We don’t like to have too much time in between treatments as we want you better as soon as possible and each treatment builds on previous improvements.
How many visits will each injury take?
- That’s a tough question to answer. This is part of the reason we do the full assessment and evaluation. Most injuries are resolve quickly – in about 4-5 visits. Generally, the more acute an injury, the faster it can be resolved. More chronic injuries might take a little longer. That being said, every injury and every patient is unique. We have had patients in pain for decades who leave pain free after 3 visits. There are also issues that we might not be able to resolve completely, but we can dramatically improve. These are all things you will discuss with your doctor at that first visit.
Can I keep working out, training, playing?
- Again, this answer is patient and injury specific, but under most circumstances: Move! Unless we find something unstable, you can usually maintain your activity levels. We want you to keep up with your routine and pay close attention to how you feel. Often patients are shocked about how good they feel with previously painful motions. The more you move and test an area, the more information you will be able to collect and relay back to your doctor.
Do you only work on the spine or can you help with other areas too?
- About 40% of our patients come in with back or neck issues. That remaining 60% of injuries involve shoulders, elbow, hands, feet, ankle and knees. The general rule of thumb is that if it hurts when you move it, we can likely fix it. We have treated everything from rotator cuff injuries and low back pain, to tennis elbow and plantar fasciitis.
Why do we have to reschedule if I’m late?
- We understand that at most doctors’ offices you wait anywhere from 10 mins to a couple of hours before you are seen. We find that infuriating too! We feel that your time is every bit as valuable as ours, so we make it a point to stay on time. We juggle a very full schedule with the need to spend as much time as possible with each patient. When you are even 5-10 mins late, that cuts into the amount of time we have to spend with you and get you better. In addition, it affects each patient that comes in after you. We don’t feel it is fair to back up every other patient because someone earlier in the day ran late. We understand that things come up, but we ask you to please call us as soon as you know of any schedule change or timing issues. We almost always have a list of people in pain waiting for appointments and we hate to have people in pain when we could have gotten them in for care.
Do you take x-rays?
- We do not take x-rays in the office and we only order imagining (x-rays, MRI, CT etc.) if there is a specific need for it. We feel there is no need to expose you to possible radiation, waste your time, or to add to health care costs if it is not warranted. We follow the American College of Radiology’s guidelines when it comes to imaging. We will order if there are signs of trauma or pathology, and/or if an injury is not responding as expected. If needed, we can refer you to a number of excellent imaging centers and once the images/reports are sent back to us we will review them with you.
Once my injury is resolved, do you recommend “maintenance” treatments?
- Again, every patient is different, so this depends on the injury and the patient. Most of the time, if you are consistently doing mobility and stability work on your own, you shouldn’t need us. Many of our competitive athletes come in for care prior to events and competitions even if there is no active injury, but that all depends on the patient and the area of issue.
- We highly recommend working with coaches and personal trainers to help keep your stability intact. Most people work out on their own and this can result in improper mechanics and movement patterns that hurt more than they help. Working with someone who is trained to look out for, and change faulty movement is invaluable. It also helps to have people who can offer modifications for movements that might be painful or inappropriate. We work with several fantastic trainers and coaches. If you would like more information, please let us know.
- We also highly recommend massage work to maintain soft tissue mobility. We feel that a more therapeutic massage is more helpful for keeping you fully mobile and pain free. While our therapists can perform relaxing massages, we offer massage therapy here at Spinal Care with a specific focus on deeper and more therapeutic work. See the “Staff” page on our website to learn more about our licensed massage therapists who have been described as “the best ever” “massage ninjas”. Try them out and see for yourself- see if you can come up with a better term than “massage ninja”.