Don’t you think the first thing you would need to solve a musculoskeletal problem is to understand all sides of it? When dealing with musculoskeletal problems, the bones, joints, and muscles all play a role in its proper function. One out of every two Americans is estimated to have a persistent MSD (musculoskeletal disorder), more than one-time occurrence. Do you have neck pain or back pain that pops up, goes away, and then comes back again?
The most common MSDs are related to arthritis and associated conditions:
Neck and back pain
Repetitive stress injuries
Sports related/overuse injuries
The two leading causes of disability in the United States are arthritis and neck and back pain. Would it surprise you to learn those problems are related? It’s quite common to find one with the other. One out of every three people in this country experience neck or back pain, and this finding is one of the main reasons our office focuses on learning, researching, and implementing the latest advances in treating neck and back pain.
Pain is a sign
As you get older, have you noticed that your aches and pains seem to be more frequent and even more intense? Attributing the presence of neck and back pain to old age is a mistake because pain is a sign something isn’t working correctly. Persistent pain or pain that reappears after disappearing for days, weeks or months is also a sign your musculoskeletal system is not functioning normally.
Our office uses a kinetic chain evaluation based on Dr. Jacobazzi’s experiences as both a physical therapist and chiropractor. His training in both professional disciplines has allowed our office to develop a very specialized process that goes beyond what is found at a standard physical therapy office. Many healthcare choices may act as if they are providing a comprehensive solution, but if only one side of the system, either muscles or joints, is being evaluated and the other unexamined, what are the chances the problem will be fully understood? And what are the chances the prescription for correction will actually have the intended effect of not only resolving the problem for the short-term but for the long-term as well? Our patients know it’s not just about NOW; it’s about five, ten, twenty years from now.
A kinetic chain evaluation evaluates not just the muscular system, but the skeletal/joint system as well. A detailed physical exam checks muscle tension, flexibility, and strength, using special orthopedic tests to ferret out any underlying conditions that need to be addressed. The follow-up to a comprehensive physical exam is an x-ray examination, which will identify potential problems in two areas: the neutral position of the spine and how the spine moves (motion study x-ray). The muscles attach to the spine, and determining the neutral position of the spine and how it moves will provide information that is frequently absent in exams performed at other facilities. Without this information, it’s not possible to understand how the musculoskeletal system is functioning. It’s not called the muscular system or the skeletal system, it’s the musculoskeletal system, and failure to look at both sides of the equation means your chances of getting rid of your problem and making sure it doesn’t return are not good!
Abnormal structure leads to abnormal function every time. Using a patented analysis system, we digitize and evaluate your x-rays. Our years of research allow us to make a direct comparison between the position, alignment and movement of your spine as compared to normal values. When reviewing the results of your x-ray analysis, you won’t need an advanced degree to see if your position is normal or not. It will be easy for you to see.
There are three types of x-ray exams: Medical, Chiropractic and Motion Study. Medical doctors limit the use of x-rays to examine bones and joints for tumors, fractures, or infections. None of their training is designed to determine normal function or motion. Most chiropractors, when they use x-ray, if they use it at all, are just looking to stage any degenerative changes and make certain the body can tolerate manual therapy. Our office goes a step beyond all these. Of course, it is possible to identify organic problems as MDs do (tumor, fracture or infection) but, after digitizing your x-rays with position analysis software, we are able to make a direct comparison between your x-rays and normal x-rays. Using your results, combined with the results of your physical exam and what you’ve told us about the history of your neck or back pain, we will formulate a detailed and individualized physical medicine prescription to correct your problem. No two corrective prescription programs are identical because nobody comes in with exactly the same problem. Certainly, some problems are similar to others, but the key to finding a comprehensive solution is identifying not just the similarities, but the differences as well, which will allow us to tweak and tune your prescription for correction to give you the best result. Your prescription will be set to help you accomplish specific goals, which you help us set before starting treatment. It’s not just about getting rid of your pain; it’s about getting you back to what you enjoy and what you need to do.
The x-ray analysis will also give us clues to the length of time your problem has been present. Quite often, pain and symptoms can take weeks, months, or years to appear even though the problem has been there all along. One glaring example of this type of situation is motor vehicle accidents. Car accidents are a fact of life, and if you’ve escaped being in one, count yourself lucky. Fifty percent of all people involved in motor vehicle accidents experience some sort of chronic pain. You might be wondering what causes such a high rate of chronic pain and why people don’t just get it fixed. For one, car accidents are tricky and misleading. After the initial impact, your body may only be a little sore and stiff for a few days and, as time passes, you start to feel “normal” again. What you don’t know is how the accident has affected your underlying structure. Ligaments, large bands of soft tissue that hold your bones in place, act like giant rubber bands. When your body is subjected to a car accident, those rubber bands get whipped out of shape (sometimes called a whiplash acceleration deceleration injury – WAD). Once deformed, those ligaments will NEVER go back to normal unless the appropriate steps are taken to identify any damaged areas. Using motion study x-rays allows us to see the areas in your neck, mid-back or lower back that have been damaged. It also allows us to prescribe the most appropriate course of action to correct these problems. Standard physical therapy offices can only address the muscular soreness, but they don’t have the tools to identify the specific areas that have sustained ligament damage. They can address only the muscular pain and problems, which may provide a solution for the short-term but is doomed for the longer term. Our office has seen many cases that have undergone treatment programs following a motor vehicle accident that lasted many months only to find their relief only lasted as long as the treatment. You wouldn’t want to invest a significant amount of your time and effort to solve a problem only to allow it to return a later date, would you? The first stop after your MD or ER to evaluate yourself for a possible concussion secondary to an auto accident or trauma should be our office because we can accurately diagnose all the damaged areas in your musculoskeletal system and provide you with a prescription for correction that not only gets rid of your pain or soreness, but one that ensures you’re not on the wrong side of the 50 percent of people who experience chronic pain years after a motor vehicle accident or trauma.
Are there situations where a one-dimensional approach will work for you? Of course, if it’s a simple muscle strain from a day where you lifted too heavily, or if you overused your muscles as a one-time thing, yes. If your problem is persistent beyond four-to-six weeks, it is more likely you have a true musculoskeletal problem, and the one-dimensional approach found at a standard physical therapy office may work for you in the short-term, but your problem will most likely return and probably at an even higher level because it was never fully corrected in the first place. If you have access to only half of the solution, your treatment can only accomplish half the results. Settling for half measures is no longer necessary if you come to our office for the answers.
Patients often ask how long it will take to “fix” them, and the answer to their question is how long they have had their problem, not to be confused with how they have had their pain. Problems do not always equal pain. Your body is an expert at compensating, and it can take weeks, months or years for the pain (symptoms) to show. If you want to fully correct your problem, be certain your physical therapist can provide a multi-dimensional approach or has access and a close working relationship with another provider who can. Having to rely on multiple providers can be challenging because the more cooks you have, the more likely there will be problems with the stew. Too many cooks do indeed ruin the stew.
Our office is unique because Dr. Jacobazzi is licensed as both a physical therapist and a chiropractor, the only person in Illinois who holds both physical therapy and chiropractic licenses. Unlike what you may find in most offices, one team will handle your case from start to finish, and you won’t be handed off from therapist to therapist. Continuity of care is the final step in successful implementation of your treatment prescription. You won’t have to wonder if something is being missed or if you’re progressing as you should. Your corrective program includes periodic re-evaluation to set new baselines for progress and ensures you are making progress toward the goals you set before you started. Whether it’s just getting back to keeping up with your kids, tolerating the daily commute, or crushing your competitors in your age group triathlon or cross-fit competition, you will be an involved participant and be able to take control of your progress and recovery. Don’t settle for only half the solution. Get everything you need, and get yourself back to 100 percent.
BY: Abbey Hudetz
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