(Keywords: AFTER CHIROPRACTIC TREATMENT PAIN, tingling in arms and hands, hyaline cartilage, arthritis)
The majority of chiropractic patients coming for treatment have torn, inflammed, swollen or arthritic tissue that is at the heart of their condition. Stretching, massaging and adjusting of such tissues inevitably causes a degree of "after treatment discomfort or pain". It's no different for the physiotherapist, dentist, surgeon - ever had your impacted wisdom teeth out? Been to a physiotherapist given the task of mobilising a knee or ankle post-surgery? Had a friend who has had spinal surgery? Some post treatment pain is the norm. But how much is some?
"I am 60 years old and I have been receiving regular chiropractic
care for the past two years. I started care for sciatic pain which I had
on only one occasion before starting treatment. I have since had a few
more bouts of sciatica but have not had any sciatic pain for over a year
What I do have is pain in my neck, shoulders and back for 24 to 48 hours after my adjustment. Sometimes it is really unbearable
but always subsides in a couple of days. I do not feel that this is a
normal situation since I have never had this type of pain and achey
feeling prior to care. My chiropractor says it is not related to the
adjustment since it happens the day after my adjustment.
Why do I have this pain and aching post adjustment??"
Is this okay, is it common?
My answer is an emphatic NO, and personally I think this person's chiropractor is in denial. If you have "unbearable pain" regularly the day after your chiropractic treatment, then it is obviously related to the treatment.
But... and it's an important but, a certain degree of
discomfort, and occasionally pain for one or possibly two days after an
adjustment - is not uncommon. And provided the overall benefit of the
treatment is clear to both parties, then it is usually acceptable.
The alternative is that the chiropractor must give an adjustment that is so meek and mild that probably little is achieved.
But "unbearable pain"?
How should your chiropractor react if you had this to say? How should I react?
Firstly, most importantly, s/he should take you
seriously. To treat your complaints with disdain, to ignore them, to
dismiss them, is unprofessional in my opinion. It's also stupid. S/he is
going to lose a patient. Reading between the lines, this patient consulted a
chiropractor for lower back pain and sciatica, but the post chiropractic
treatment pain seems to be mainly in the neck and midback. This raises an age-old question. Should every patient get a
full spine adjustment regardless of the initial complaint? My own
opinion is NO, but there are many chiropractors who would disagree.
Aside @ AFTER CHIROPRACTIC TREATMENT PAIN
I had a new patient this week complaining of severe midback pain
of several weeks' duration. She has previously consulted chiropractors
for various complaints but, if her neck is ever adjusted, she gets
severe headaches for a few months. She asked me not to touch her neck,
where she had absolutely no complaints.
However, she was in a car accident some years ago and clearly has
silent subluxations in her lower neck. The range of motion of her
cervical spine was markedly reduced for a young woman.
I told her that whilst I respected her request, once the midback
has settled down, I was going to ask permission to adjust her lower
neck. Otherwise she is certain to get premature
aging - arthritis - in the neck as happens in fact all fixated joints.
Yes, it's possible that she may have significant and even
unbearable headaches for a period after the treatment, though I think
this unlikely. The headaches probably resulted from a
ATLANTO AXIAL JOINT ANATOMY
or other upper cervical adjustment which I would avoid. This person's
fixations are in the lower neck. To ignore them means a great likelihood
or other conditions like tingling in arms and hands, tennis elbow and
rotator cuff syndrome.
But everything by discussion and with the patient's full permission. It is after all your body and you have every right to state plainly to all your doctors what they may, and what they may not do to you. We treat our patients with respect.
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Any AFTER CHIROPRACTIC TREATMENT PAIN if you ignore this advice lies at your own door! Be sensible after your treatment. If your post chiropractic adjustment pain occurs regularly after your treatment, and you haven't been playing "silly buggers"! then it's most likely directly related to the treatment.
In the above case, I feel a little sad. Said chiropractor has
clearly helped the patient with the lower back pain and sciatica.
Nevertheless s/he is going to lose his patient in all likelihood. This
kind of after chiropractic treatment pain is clearly not acceptable.
Two adults ought to be able to speak plainly, and honestly, to
one another without offense or embarrassment. The days of "I am the
doctor and you are the patient, you will do what I tell you" are
fortunately long gone.
Very, very occasionally a patient may have a stroke after upper cervical spine manipulation. Between one in every one to five million procedures, making chiropractic adjustments of the neck one of the safest procedures in medical science. Chiropractic iatrogenic illness ...
Is this "after chiropractic treatment pain" or....?
"I was just adjusted today for a pinched nerve on the left side of my
neck. My neck also has no curve and there is s curve in my lower spine. I
have felt fine all day until an hour or so ago and the things I'm
feeling are a little scary.
The numbness and tingling from my ear, down my neck, to my chest. My neck also feels very hot and my throat area feels tight. Is this normal?"
Personal Medical Insurance
A few thoughts from me on the benefits of insurance and the no medical insurance option. It's worth a thought if you're totally committed to healthy living.
Een goeie pak sla
I've just seen a 65 year old lady who has had acute lower back pain since an extended trip overseas. Alas, that's the lot of South Africans. Our talented children go looking for greener pastures. But back to Mrs D. After two gentle treatments that produced no results, I gave her a good hiding (een goeie pak sla). Going home was very sore, and she was miz the next day, but today? 95% better. After chiropractic treatment pain is not necessarily a good reason to stop with chiropractic. But sometimes it may be!
USEFUL LINKS @ AFTER CHIROPRACTIC TREATMENT PAIN
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Interesting challenges of the day
1. Mr B has the trophy for the most acute neck in February. He has quite advanced lower neck arthritis for a forty year old, thanks to a severe fall on the head from a trampoline. But this is upper cervical pain. Right rotation is simply impossible. Luckily he is improving rapidly, eighty percent better he says after three treatments. See cervical facet syndrome.
2. Mrs C is a new patient with a long history of lower back pain, hip pain and pain in both feet. We'll see how we get on, Rome wasn't built in a day.
3. Miss U sprained her ankle two months ago, wearing high heels. She still has severe mid foot pain. Xrays and perhaps a CT scan.
4. Mr V is 86 years old and hurt his back helping his wife into the car. Just one treatment of the sacroiliac joint and he's eighty percent better. It's not always like that.
5. Mr W lay on his back knocking down a pillar. Turning his head causes severe vertigo. He needs the Epley exercises, not pills, research shows. Update, he's fine.
6. Mrs X, a young mother has severe lower back pain, with numbness down the posterior thigh, calf and side of foot. It started after a long drive in the car. Update, she's forty percent less painful after four treatments, but the leg is still numb. Update two; she 60% better, but it's slow and is going to take the full 6 weeks to heal. Further update; a setback, after lifting her child she now has leg pain. It's going to the be difficult.
7. Mrs Y, a 70 year old woman is on maintenance care fo a nasty lumbar stenosis despite having to do everything at home. Her husband has a hospital acquired infection in the shoulder. After 4 operations he is incapacitated and going rapidly down hill.
8. Mrs Z, an 78 year old woman is doing remarkably well with a bad sciatica. But at over 200 lbs she is not losing weight, in fact gaining despite my suggestions. She's high risk for a stroke. Referral to a dietician to crack the whip.
9. Mr A, a 73 year old engineer, still working, is doing fine after a long episode of lower back pain. Some pain on the side of the hip remains after five treatments. Reassured him it's not hip arthritis.
10. Mrs B, a 64 year old woman has had Scheuermanns disease; it's left with a spinal kyphosis and chronic middorsal pain. She responds well to chiropractic treatment, provides she come every six weeks or so for treatment.
11. Mr C, a young engineer fell off his mountain bike injuring his cervical spine and pelvis. Luckily both responded very quickly to a few chiropractic adjustments. Update: his neck is sore again. It all goes back to a whiplash injury ten years ago when he was rammed by a fully laden truck carrying a load of stone. Time for Xrays.
12. Mrs D, a middle aged woman with hip pain of one year duration, despite other treatment. Xrays reveal an impingement syndrome and early hip arthritis. There's much to be done.
13. Both Mrs E and I can't believe how much better her lower back and leg pain are. Surgery for a scoliosis and spondylolysthesis three years ago helped greatly for one year. But then her leg went lame and weak. He was responded extremely well despite all expectations.
And so the day goes. Chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly? Bunkum.
Have a problem that's not getting better? Looking for a different slant on your pain? Want to pose a question?
Greetings, Dr B.
You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional
response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor.
You write a superb newsletter, too.
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