Ask The Doctor: Dr. Nicholas Chappel
Once I start chiropractic care will I always have to come back?
This is a great question. Typically, we see patients for the first time after an injury, the patient is having pain and it is not going away on its own. With treatment, exercise, and therapy the pain is reduced and the patient returns to normal activities. However, most patients do not want to go through another episode of intense pain like the first time they came into our office. At this point, we typically recommend periodic check-ups (frequency depends on the patient) and adjustments to continually improve spinal motion and function and reduce the reoccurrence of injury. I refer to this type of care as Spinal Hygiene, just like you brush and floss your teeth daily, we all have a spine and must take care of the one we have!
Why do I need to undergo weeks of chiropractic care after an injury?
Depending on the severity of the injury chiropractic treatment can take 5 or more weeks to improve and resolve the injured tissue. Soft tissue injuries will improve on their own over time but ligament tearing and scar tissue are the real cause of increased treatment times. Scar tissue is more sensitive to pain, is less elastic so you feel very stiff and can lead to decreased motion and conditions like arthritis and degeneration. Our primary role is to restore proper function to the spine and musculoskeletal system, if we do that, as a side effect the pain will go away. Injuries without ligament damage can heal much quicker, sometimes within 3-5 visits.
Can chiropractors prescribe medication?
Chiropractors do not prescribe medication. We are trained in treating musculoskeletal conditions, such as back pain, neck pain, headaches, shoulder, knee and other extremity conditions with hands-on treatments (adjustments) and therapeutic modalities such as ultrasound, electric muscle stimulation, cold laser, kinesiotape and many other soft tissue techniques. We often work with other medical providers when a patient needs more aggressive treatment options, typically we work together with these medical doctors to help the patient find pain relief as quickly as possible.
There was no pain when the accident occurred, it started the next day, why is that?
Frequently with auto accidents and even sports-related injuries pain is not felt until 24-72 hours later. Overstretching of soft tissue, ligament or muscle often creates micro-tearing in the muscle and ligament fibers, this then causes the body to release chemicals designed to help heal the tissue, resulting in swelling, stiffness, and pain. Typically, it can take several hours to days for this natural body reaction to occur. The most important thing to do is seek treatment right away, the quicker the treatment begins the easier it is to decrease pain levels and treatment time.