Chiropractors perform a variety of techniques from traditional manual adjustments to deep tissue laser therapy to treat patients. In order to find the treatment that is most comfortable and effective, chiropractors rely on good communication with their patients.
For new patients who might be new to chiropractic care, what is your process for finding the treatments that work best for them?
Dr. Kyle Robertson: Always the number one concern when a patient comes into the office is getting better. I always want to do it in a way that is comfortable for them. Nothing is really worse than being forced into a treatment that you’re uncomfortable with and then repeating it every time you come back into the office. I always ask my patients to be overly up front with me about their comfort levels with different treatments. Both before, after, and during the sessions. If I’m going to do a certain technique, I always explain thoroughly exactly what the patient should expect, what they’re going to be feeling, what I’m doing and why, and after what the results are that they can expect to get out of it. If I’m going to do a treatment that is slightly uncomfortable, you always want to make sure that the patient is okay with that. Like I said, nothing is worse than coming in to get something you’re uncomfortable with. Communication with the patient is absolutely crucial.
Are traditional chiropractic manipulations what some people refer to as ‘back-cracking’?
Dr. Kyle Robertson: Yes. That traditional manipulation is more the traditional, more aggressive approach. The adjustment, that’s what you think of as the popping or cracking, clicking that you experience during the chiropractic adjustment. Since it’s a little bit more aggressive, they can even be fairly comfortable but some people just aren’t okay with that clicking, popping, or any sort of large force being put down on their body. In this case, we would go towards more of a light force treatment, something where we’re not going to be using that big thrust. We would defer to some of our tools or other techniques that we have available.
You just mentioned light force so could you please describe how light force techniques work?
Dr. Kyle Robertson: Light force techniques are exactly what they sound like. There are different chiropractic techniques that we use to do manipulations and adjustments that are a little bit quicker and more gentle that those larger thrusts. You may not feel the same instantaneous relief that you would with the larger adjustments but if that’s what we need to do to get the patient better, then that is the way that we’ll go. This can be used using different tools such as an activator tool which is just like a small instrument that we place on the back on the specific segment that we’re adjusting, which is a very gentle force.
We also have different impulse tools which go from barely any force of just a fingertip touching to a deeper force if we need that. All of our techniques are addressing the misalignment so if you’re opting to do a more gentle technique, you’re not going to be missing out the results of the larger popping or clicking in those traditional manipulations. But anything that we do, we’re trying to focus on patient comfort in order to get them better.
What is involved in Flexion Distraction Technique?
Dr. Kyle Robertson: Flexion Distraction is a technique where we are actually using the table to help separate and get better mobility in the back using the table more than we would our hands. There is some involvement where we’re using hands a little bit but I’ll explain what you can expect with that sort of a treatment. With Flexion Distraction, the patient will just lie face down on the table. What we do is we actually separate the table a little bit so it’s distracting, almost stretching out the lower back and then we use the table to bend down at the waist. What that is doing is that is actually creating a gap or stretching in the lower back, segment to segment. What we can do then is focus on one segment, bend that table down a little bit if we’re able to actually distract and focus on the different intervertebral discs of the lower back. What we’re doing with that as well is we’re also breaking up some of those adhesions. You might ask, “Can I do that just when I’m leaning forward or when I’m hanging from a pull-up bar?” It’s different because what we’re doing is we’re actually – I’m going to be using my hand to distract a certain segment as the table bends away. It’s creating a pretty large force very gently.
It’s very, very comfortable for the patient. Most people love this treatment. It’s something where it almost feels like the back is being stretched out when you can’t get that stretch on your own. This is effective in treating herniated discs. There are studies done where they measured negative pressure in the discs when the Flexion Distraction is done, so it almost creates that vacuum effect to help pull those disc herniations back to where they should be.
For a non-surgical healing approach, how does the Deep Tissue Laser Technique work?
Dr. Kyle Robertson: The Deep Tissue Laser is a non-invasive technique that helps to reduce pain and inflammation. It’s all FDA approved and cleared and it enables the patient in some cases to avoid drugs or surgery. We’ll usually use it in conjunction with another treatment, whether it’s the chiropractic treatment or some other sort of therapy. It allows your body to utilize its own healing powers by inducing several healing processes. During the treatment, what you can expect is a soothing warmth which is a side effect of that increased cellular activity created by the laser. It also starts to increase a little bit of blood flow, in turn flushing out that inflammation.
The treatments are typically between four and ten minutes depending on the area that we’re treating. We treat anything from an arthritic finger, which would be just under a minute. If we were to treat somewhere larger like a lower back injury or lower pain, that is going to take a little bit longer. The effect of it is to actually help the body heal itself. By increasing that cellular activity, it’s actually creating a lasting effect for up to 24 hours per treatment to allow that area to heal itself better. Like the treatment times differ, the rapidity of the effects differ based on the body part as well. That arthritic finger I was talking about, sometimes you might feel more significant pain reduction in one treatment as compared to the lower back which is a larger area that may be more of a chronic condition which you may take a little bit longer, between five to twelve sessions. You’ll feel a pretty significant improvement.
If you are interested in speaking with Dr. Kyle Robertson, visit www.ferrarospine.com or call 973-478-2212 to schedule an appointment.