In this blog we are going to dive in to what a typical treatment would be like at our office for patients presenting with any symptom of sciatica or low back pain that was previously mentioned in our last segment.
Denver Sports Docs isn’t your typical chiropractic office. Patients aren’t signing up for lengthy and expensive treatment plans or receiving the exact same treatment as the next patient. We pride ourselves in catering our treatments based off of patient’s individual symptoms and needs by offering a variety of different services. The following techniques are commonly used in our office, but won’t necessarily be used in every case. Below is a list of services we offer, including what it is, what it does, and what to expect.
Odds are a majority of people already know what a chiropractic adjustment is, which is the main reason patients seek chiropractic care. In short, an adjustment restores normal motion to a joint that isn’t moving properly. Over time, joints can become restricted/tight or hypermobile/loose. For lower back pain cases, this is often seen when the hips or thoracic spine become too stiff or tight and cause the lumber spine to compensate for the lack of movement in those areas. When evaluating lower back pain, one of the first things we check is whether the joints of the lumbar spine, sacroiliac joints, thoracic spine, and hips are all sharing motion equally and moving properly. A skilled clinician can determine which areas need to be adjusted to free up movement and which areas need more stability or rigidity. (Hint: why core strength and stability is so important with lower back pain)
Dry needling has quickly become a popular treatment method utilized in our office for many musculoskeletal conditions. Patients with low back pain and sciatica often respond very well and fairly quickly to dry needling. Dry needling involves the insertion of a small solid filament needle (similar to acupuncture) into a muscle with the goal of creating a therapeutic change in the tissue. Unlike acupuncture, we are not trying to balance chi and energy fields, but rather create objective change in the neuromusculoskeletal system. By inserting the needle into the tissue, we are increasing local blood flow which promotes tissue healing and reduces pain. Patients with low back pain and sciatica often carry a lot of tension in the lower back, and dry needling is a great tool used to decrease that tension, which allows for an easier adjustment and more effective corrective exercises or stretches. Although it may sound painful, the words most patients use to describe the procedure is “uncomfortable” or “weird”. It is also not uncommon to experience mild/moderate soreness that should subside within 24-48 hours.
Based in ancient Chinese medicine, cupping involves the use of suction cups that are placed in painful or tight areas. The suction cup effect creates a high pressure environment under the cup which acts to decompress the tissue/fascia and promote healing by increasing blood flow and oxygen to the treated area. This a fairly painless treatment as well, but can leave some spherical bruising that can last for a week or so.
Class IV Laser:
Class IV therapy is becoming a favorite for patients, especially with painful acute injuries. Laser therapy uses an infrared laser light to initiate a therapeutic effect in the body to promote tissue healing. These effects include increased blood flow and oxygen and decreased inflammation and pain. This modality is painless and really feels quite good. The laser alone can be great, but for maximum results we use this in conjunction with the other therapies listed in this article.
Without certain exercises or stretches, the long term success for lower back pain can be missed. We find our initial corrective exercises using what is called the McKenzie Method, which can help determine which movements can make the injury better and which movements can make the injury worse. Even though a stretch initially may feel good, it could be contributing to the injury not getting better long term. We also use stretches and exercises that can effect the neural tissue itself, using principles based in neurodynamics and pain science. It’s difficult to give specifics when discussing these techniques broadly, as even a slight variation in these movements can make things dramatically better or dramatically worse. In many cases we also give suggestions for core strength/stability or hip mobility/flexibility.
This list is not exhaustive in nature and your specific case may warrant a completely different approach, but this gives a good idea of what may happen during your treatment plan in our office. If some of this seems intimidating, rest assured we always modify our treatment plan based on clinical experience and patient comfort. If you see something you are interested in or have questions, feel free to call or e-mail us and we will be happy to help!