Is that old leg injury acting up again? Are you experiencing daily joint pain? Residents of Prince George are encouraged to call the clinic of Dr. Terrance C. Warawa for dependable advice and treatment.
What does acute mean? Acute refers to a new injury or to a flare-up of an old injury. This type of injury is characterized by pain, swelling and is usually of a short duration. If you’re experiencing this type of joint pain and live near Prince George, we invite you to give us a call. Acute pain can be caused by an accident, sleeping wrong, lifting wrong, or many other things. Often, acute care patients do not have any pre-existing problems and they have just injured themselves. With time and treatment, they usually return back to their pre-injury state. These patients see a chiropractor until they have healed and usually do not need to see a chiropractor until they happen to injure themselves again.
The initial treatment of acute chiropractic conditions is used to settle down the inflammation and control the pain. Muscle work, such as trigger point therapy (which involves pressing on knots to relax the muscle) as well as manual massage are usually done first. After the muscles relax, chiropractic adjustments are performed. Adjustments are the tool chiropractors use to increase joint movement and correct joint alignment. As the chiropractor works, 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. If the condition is too tender for an adjustment, then gentle mobilizations (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 adjustment, 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 eliminated at that point. If you feel pain at any time, please let Dr. Warawa know. He will ask you repeatedly 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 conditions will settle in 1-8 treatments. The more severe 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, and then the next treatment 4-6 after that. This rate of treatment is done until the person is back to normal. If a full treatment cannot be performed on the first visit, daily treatments will be carried out 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 still 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.
How Will I Feel After My Treatment
Following treatment you will feel some discomfort. The movement may feel increased. Much of the pain with acute conditions is from the soft tissue damage. With treatment, the joints will move better but time for repair is needed. As the soft tissue settles, the pain will lessen. Some patients will feel better after the treatment but may get sore later. This is often because the joint is moving more and so the muscles react by initially tightening up.
If the patient is too active or does something wrong after the treatment the condition can become aggravated, but this is different as the treatment is often undone. With an injury, the muscles want to tighten up, and when we get the joint moving properly the muscles can initially rebel by tightening up. As the joint moves properly, the muscles will then realize that they are supposed to relax. Once the muscles respond, then the amount of pain decreases.
Some people can get different reactions to treatment such as headaches and/or different areas other then the area treated becoming sore. This is because as we align the spine and get joints moving, different muscles are being used in a way that is different from what they are used to.
As the body adjusts to the changes, the discomforts will lessen. If everything is good with the body you will not generally see reactions like this, but if the body is not correct mechanically you will not uncommonly see reactions like this. This reaction is often a good sign that changes were made and were needed. These reactions settle as treatment progresses. These reactions are more common at the beginning of treatment as the changes are greater.
Always discuss any reactions with Dr. Warawa. Understanding your condition and treatment is essential for prompt and proper healing.
What to Do After Your Treatment?
With acute conditions the best thing to do after treatment is rest. Ice helps to settle inflammation and pain. Generally, you should ice 5-10 minutes at a time and once every 1-2 hours initially and then every 2-4 after until the pain subsides. If the ice aggravates then stop. Anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant medication may be taken as this can help. Gentle stretches may be shown to you. Please do them, but if they cause pain either slow down or stop them and let Dr. Warawa know.
Once a person is back on track, many people do not need to return for further treatment unless they have another acute episode. When another acute episode is starting, it is best to get in for treatment ASAP. The sooner you get in, the less you suffer and the less treatments you will need. With some patients, a check-up treatment every 1-3 months may help prevent acute episodes.