What is a Whole Body Approach to Chiropractic Care?
What if the pain in your ankle isn’t the problem…Or a pulled hamstring was actually caused by a pinched nerve in your neck?
If you were suffering from shoulder pain – why would I also want to work on your upper back? For A Whole Body Approach.
The answers are found when you understand the connection between your spine and extremities, which is the whole body approach.
And yes, quite often with an injury there is a central connection to the spine. Even with a knee or ankle injury — calf or hamstring pull.
Every part of your body has nerve endings running to it. Each of these nerve endings can be traced back to the spine.
If the nerve ending is irritated as it exits the spine, the area of the body it is connected to will be more susceptible to injury. Why? Because the muscles are activated to compensate for this irritation – which means they are more likely to be pulled.
This then affects your joints.
If your joints are sore — a kind of a general “achy” type of soreness – it’s usually a sign of a pinched nerve in your back.
As an example of spinal connection…
A woman I treated a while back had broken her foot and ankle. She’d had surgery — with screws and a plate put in place to keep it all together.
At the time she was going to a pain clinic and was on ‘OxyContin’ – a very strong narcotic. No one could get rid of the pain in her ankle.
When she came to see me, her calf muscles were all in spasm. Her hamstrings were all in spasm. Her lower back had been sore for months — and she had sciatica.
The sciatica was the reason for the pain. It had nothing to do with the ankle!
The problem was that everywhere she went, they always focused on the ankle.
They never looked anywhere else, they didn’t take a whole body approach. It took a thorough chiropractic examination to pinpoint the exact cause of her problem.
In just two treatments, she experienced a relief of pain that even her strong narcotic hadn’t previously been able to get rid of.
So how did I discover the root cause?
…By looking at the central connection.
With every extremity injury – whether it’s arm pain or shoulder pain — if the pain is on the side of the arm or in the outside of the elbow – it can usually be traced to a pinched nerve in the neck.
If the pain is in the shoulder muscles – we’ll often find pain in the mid or upper back as well by examining with a whole body approach.
Again, the cause of this can simply be a pinched nerve — making the shoulder muscles chronically tight. So, we work on the upper back as well as the shoulder, which is a whole body approach to chiropractic care.
I’m always searching for precisely “where” that connection is.
For example, though I may not be working on a person’s upper back, I might be treating his upper back due to the connection found in his shoulder.
Even though you may not have that much pain in your lower back – say if you had a hamstring pull — I’ll work on your lower back to try and get the hamstring to clear up faster.
Often times the viewpoint is — if the back and upper cervical is in alignment — everything else will be as well.
But you really have to look at the whole picture.
Here’s how I pinpoint what’s “really” causing your pain…
If the back is sore, the first thing I do is see if there’s any pain in the lower extremity – AS WELL as examining the back.
I’ll gently find out if there’s any pain in the hip — the knee – or any pain in the ankle.
Afterwards, I’ll check the muscles. Hip flexor muscles — quad muscles – gluteal muscles — hamstrings — calf muscles and shin muscles.
Did you know…
Even if the muscle is just ticklish and not really sore — ticklishness on one side and not on the other — this indicates that there is a bit of a pinching of the nerve on that side in the lower back.
I verify that whatever I’m doing in the low back is also going to clear up those symptoms too.
As for a lower back problem, I’m also looking for any extremity symptoms as well — same with the neck and shoulder.
If someone comes in with neck pain, I’ll often look to see if there’s a problem in their shoulders or arms as well, which is why a whole body approach to chiropractic care is so important.
I understand the connection between the spine and your extremities…
And take the time to find that connection!
What may otherwise have remained a lifelong painful problem – can often be treated in a short amount of time.
Once fixed – there are definite steps you can take to keep the pain away by thinking of a whole body approach.