Have you ever wondered how the Chiropractors at Latrobe Health Centre might go about assessing and treating someone with back pain or neck pain? We wanted to give you some insight into what sort of assessment they might do, what type of treatments they might use and what sort of advice they might give to someone in the Geelong region who is experiencing back pain or neck pain.
When you first arrive you will be required to fill in some forms and the chiropractors will ask you some detailed questions which help to give them an insight into your current health concerns.
As an example, they may want to know things like:
- how long you’ve had the pain
- how intense it is
- how the problem started
- what things you’re having trouble doing because of the pain and
- what sort of things aggravate or relieve the discomfort.
After this, they will conduct a thorough examination. The examination will often be guided by the type of problem you have.
As a guide, the chiropractors will usually check:
- your posture and balance
- how well you can bend, twist and move
- test your muscle strength and reflexes
- assess the movement of your spinal bones and
- assess the tension the surrounding muscles.
This helps them to form a working diagnosis from which the chiropractors can base their treatment recommendations.
The vast majority of back pain, neck pain and headaches are not caused by anything serious like tumours, fractures or infections, so in most cases you will be provided with some reassurance that nothing serious is causing the pain.
Next, they attempt to provide you with some pain relief.
Our chiropractors might recommend:
- gentle exercises and hands on therapy suitable to your pain tolerance combined with
- heat or cold treatment and
- suggest some over-the-counter-medication.
- during the first visit, sometimes it’s not possible to do any manipulation or heavy massage because your pain might be too severe.
- Homework. This will often involve encouragement to remain active and advice on daily activities such as sitting, standing and lifting.
In most cases our chiropractors would recommend another consultation within a few days for reassessment and follow-up treatment. At this point we can set some expectations for your recovery such as how long the problem is likely to take to resolve, how long it will take to return to normal function and how long until we can discharge you from treatment.
They can also help you set some goals that you would like to achieve. For example, it might be a desire to get back into a sport, favourite activity or relaxing hobby that you have been avoiding or unable to do.
The chiropractors will continue to use mobilization and manipulation and massage techniques to the surrounding muscles. We would also reassess the need for x-rays or MRI if you are not responding as expected.
During the medium term, hands on therapy would continue with a gradual transition to a structured exercise plan to increase your ability to do daily tasks and work activities. Progress would continue to be monitored to ensure improvements are being made.
Most people are usually pain free within 3-6 weeks. Of course this will depend on the problem that you have and whether the condition is a long standing one.
Chronic back and neck conditions have a high recurrence rate, with 60-80% of people experiencing another episode of pain within 12 months. These cases often require management rather than attempting to ‘cure’ the problem. For some people the chiropractor will suggest periodic assessments which allow us to monitor your pain and function as well as adjust any exercise program that has been prescribed.
Of course, how you wish to manage your condition is always up to you.
We hope to see you soon.