-and Happy Holidays! AND some changes for 2024. ;-P
So... I have been in practice for a long time.
And in that time, aside from direct injury like a car accident, I typically see people weekly as a frequency both for long term benefits AND short term pain relief. Now a lot of other chiropractors debate me on this topic; some say it's not enough and others think it's too often.
Historically, there was no real scientific evidence to support either position so it was left primarily to clinicians overll experience to determine what was right...until now.
Dr. Heidi Haavik and her team of neuro-researchers in New Zealand have clear evidence that shows that when you have acute or short term pain, regardless of overt injury, you get the MOST benefit with chiropractic treatment 3 times a week for 4-6 weeks. Less than that or even more than that had no more benefit. Crazy!
I usually see people once a week but I have been woefully UNDER treating people for their problems.
The other part of her research that actually supports my work is that for long term care, the MOST beneficial frequency is once a week. (I guess I was right about that one ;-P)
Now, that brings up other factors that are aligned with this weekly schedule idea: time, money, and understanding.
What I mean by understanding is people have no idea WHY myself and so many of my patients want or need weekly care. It is so foreign to them because our current health care model is we seek a doctor ONLY if you have PAIN.
If you feel OK then why would you go get care somewhere?
The concept of wellness care or preventative medicine or longevity health is not understandable for most people..unfortuntately.
So what is the benefit of weekly chiropractic care?
Well if you asked me this just a few months ago I would have told you how great it makes me feel and how it allows me to function at my best.
I had one patient say, "It allows me to do what I want in my life."
I thought that was an amazing answer.
Today, I can tell you scientifically what the exact benefits are and what the mechanism is for why chiropractic care is so valuable. Again, I have to thank Dr. Haavik and her team for their awesome work in this field.
The image belows shows how stress (in all it's forms) or injury impacts the spinal function:
The essence of it is that the deep muscles in your spine start to weaken and dysfunction which leads to poor information being sent to the brain, and the brain no longer has the proper response to deal with the world around us.
Yup, that's right.
It can no longer respond properly to the things we do whether it's physical activity or emotional reponses or even higher level thinking.
Here is what happens to the paraspinal muscles that control spinal function and hence provide the proper neurologic information to the brain:
You can see that normal tissue has bright "red" muscle fibers that are healthy- I think of flank steak. ;-)
But the progression of dysfunction shows some fat infiltration into the muscle fibers (looking more and more like Wagyu ;-p). This is combined with atrophy of the muscles which eventually leads to degenerative changes in the joints!
Now a chiropractic adjustment frees up those muscles, gets them active again and starts the process of getting the proper brain signals back on line.
Now you will ask, "Don't those weakened muscles have to be strengthened?"
So spinal stabilization exercises are very important to integrate into your routines. But listen to this, the research shows that one chiropractic adjustment is the equivalent of 3 weeks of strengthening exercises!
Think of the progress you can make if you combine the two.
And this is how the chiropractic adjustment stops or reverses the effects we spoke about earlier- activating the paraspinal muscles, improving information sent to the brain, resulting in:
Improved body awareness
Improved body control
Proper access to the prefrontal cortex (higher thinking part of brain)
Improved healing and immune function
All of that is currently well documented in the scientific literature! Pretty amazing.
All these benefits are maximized with a weekly frequency of care.
Again, it's a paradigm shift in thinking.
It's healthcare directed at maximizing function and potential rather than just alleviating pain.
It's healthcare that is no longer problem (symptom) based but one that is performance based.
How well do you want your brain and body to function?
That is the new pardigm of healthcare.
Changes for 2024
Based on all this new research, I feel like I have to also make changes.
I, like many of you I am sure, struggle with big change. I have been so embedded in my thinking about what my practice looks like that the idea of change is even uncomfortable sometimes.
Be that as it may, I am officially recommending that all of you think about a weekly schedule. And I will adjust my treatment protocols to reflect the more frequent visit model for acute issues. Whew!
I feel like there are 2 elephants in the room:
I am not sure what to do about cost but I am currently talking to as many people as possible to try to figure something out that helps people afford weekly care. I feel very strongly about it and don't want it to be unobtainable due to cost. I guess it will come down to how you all see value in the care? So, please be patient while we try and figure something out. I understand $5200/year can be a hefty sum for many for healthcare.
As for time, to see more people more frequently it requies more available appointments. So I have commited to increasing appointment times. Again, please be patient as I figure out timing but it initially will look like longer days on Wednesdays and probably friday mornings to start. Stay tuned...
Remote offerings launch
As many of you know, I have been working on driving a remote version. Now, obviously we cannot do the chiropractic part but I have been testing out the functional nutrition portion and things look good so far.
I feel I have been very honest about my motivation and that is to make enough money remotely so that I can fund my trips down to Oregon to watch my sons baseball team during the spring season. ;-)
As such, I will be working on putting together a schedule and some information on our website for these remote offerings.
So if you are interested or if you know of people who would benefit from this sort of care, please refer them over and I will do my best to get them the help they need.
Doctor training volunteers
In other news, we are continuing the doctor training series into the new year so please think of people you can recommend to us as possible volunteers. It has been very good so far and it seems to be well received on both sides so thank you and keep it up!
In essence, I am training the doctors on our assessment and care plan program model to help them, (as well as the volunteers), to start thinking about healthcare as a long term lifestyle model rather than just symptom alleviating.
Trainings will continue to be Monday afternoons at 1pm.
Podcast vs. Blog
I have been debating whether or not I should change the platform of this communication to a podcast rather than a blog.
Here is my rationale-
I feel like my writing is not quite good enough to convey some of the emotions I want in the blog; sarcasm, transitions, tone. These things I feel may be easier on a podcast? Although I have no experience with a podcast so it may be a much steeper learning curve than I realize.
Reading takes a lot more attention from you, the reader, than just listening to a podcast -which I feel can be done in the car, on a walk, you get the idea.
Or maybe you guys will be irritated with the sound of my voice?
I listen to some podcasts and I definitely am affected by the sound of someones voice. Would you guys tell me if my voice was not for radio?
Say something like, "your voice is meant for blogging!" LOL.
I will not get offended.
I also like the challenge of trying to take something that might be technically challenging and turning it into something that is "interesting" and not put you all to sleep. Unless that's what you want. ;-P
As another year comes to a close I am reminded of how lucky and blessed I am to have you all in my life and the privilege of having you trust me with your care.
Happy Holidays to you all and your loved ones!
The new year looks very exciting and I am confident I will be able to figure out how to make it to my sons games... and somehow be able to pay for his education. ;-P