Treatment of chronic chiropractic conditions is usually to first settle down the inflammation (if any is present) and control the pain. Then the next goal of treatment is to restore proper movement of the joints and relax the tight muscles. Muscle work, such as trigger point therapy (which is basically pressing on muscle knots to relax the muscle) and manual massage is usually done first. After the muscles relax chiropractic adjustments (adjustments are the tool chiropractors use to increase joint movement and correct joint alignment. There may be a popping sound as the joint is adjusted. This sound is caused by separating the joint slightly and causing a negative pressure in the joint. This causes the fluid to “cavitate, which means the air in the fluid separates temporarily causing a popping sound) may be made. If the condition is too tender for an adjustment, then gentle mobilizations (mobilizations are gentle repetitive movements that help increase joint movement) are made to help increase joint mobility. Ice may be used in the office if necessary. After the adjustments a massager is used to help relax the muscles more to help keep the joints moving. Therapain liniment is often used at the end of the treatment.
With the treatment, all care is taken to make sure the patient is helped as much as possible with the least amount of discomfort. If certain procedures are too painful they will be changed to lessen the pain or just not done at that point. If, at any point, you feel pain please let Dr. Warawa know. He will ask many times for you to let him know if anything is too tender or painful.
Frequency of Treatment
The amount of treatment a person will need varies. Most acute flare-ups of chronic conditions will settle in 1-8 treatments. The more the injury, the longer the treatment and healing time will be. If a full treatment can be done on the first visit, the next treatment will be 2-4 days later, then the next treatment 4-6 days later. This rate of treatment will be done until the person is back to normal. If a full treatment cannot be done on the first visit, daily treatments are done until a full treatment can be done and then the treatments are spaced out. When a patient is treated they need time to heal. When a joint is injured, there is damage to the ligaments, muscles and tendons. A chiropractor will correct the joint alignment and mobility, but the body has to heal the damaged soft tissue. If the joint is not corrected the injury will take a lot longer to heal and may not heal right and could eventually become a chronic problem. If problems such as osteoarthritis and/or degenerative changes are present, this will complicate and slow down progress. If these conditions are present, the more the patient needs chiropractic care. Proper alignment will help slow down the progression of arthritis and degeneration. Once the patient has improved, chronic patients can benefit from regular maintenance treatments which can be done every 1-4 months.