Joe (not his real name for privacy) is a 40 something construction worker. He works 7 days a week during the construction season putting in 10 hour days. I got a call from him one Sunday morning at about 7 in the morning. He explained his precarious situation to me. Unfortunately, Sunday's are my busiest days for house calls so I wasn't able to get him scheduled until later that afternoon. When I arrived at his place in the country I saw him sitting on his couch unable to come to the door. We did a history and a very modified physical exam because virtually everything I did caused acute muscle spasms and tremendous pain. Joe was suffering from reactive muscle spasming due to weak core muscles which put a majority of the load on the lumbar para-spinal muscles and aberrant joint motion in the spine (subluxation).
Often times I don't treat on the first visit with a new client because I want to make sure everything is safe to move forward with chiropractic care. However, exceptions must be made at times and I set him up on interferential current therapy.* After that I used a pelvic drop piece on his lower back because he literally had one leg shorter than the other which I believed to be functional as opposed to anatomical. I then adjusted his middle back which caused more muscle spasms. We took a break. Then I was able to get him into side posture for adjusting his lower back. Crack! One of the loudest cavitation I had heard in awhile. I did the same on the other side and crack! Joe was slowly able to get up on his own and felt relief. Was he out of the woods yet? Not even close, soft tissue injuries can take up to 3 months to fully heal and usually about 4 weeks to get out of pain. The point was Joe was able to be somewhat mobile on his own. He was able to do modified work at his construction job and after about of month of care was back to normal.
Now I tell this story because I want people to manage their expectations of care. I wish I could just adjust someone once and all their ailments are gone. It has happened occasionally but usually it takes a few visits to get out of pain. After that the client is free to go onto correction and wellness (that is their choice). I like offering this type of care because it gives people a beginning, a middle, and an end. So many times in the past I feel I have under treated a client (which I humbly admit) and they didn't get the results they were looking for which was a pain free fully functional life. Now I offer multiple types of visits and multiple lengths of care to balance clinical/empirical experience with client preference. Which means I have my recommendations, but clients are free to choose their experience.
I hope that someday you're not in Joe's situations and to prevent it I recommend doing regular core exercises as part of your exercise regimen. I have a video and link to those types of exercises in the resources section of my website. Look up "15 exercises to prevent back pain." download and try and if you're ever in Joe's situation don't hesitate to text me at (605)201-4862.
To Good Health, Dr. Lucas Marchand
* Interferrential current therapy (INF) is a electrical form of therapy that uses two waves at different wavelength that interfere with each other and create a deeper more powerful form of therapy (as opposed to TENS units). This therapy stimulates the bodies own natural pain killers and can cause relief for a few hours.