For your convenience, we’ve gathered a few of the most frequently asked questions concerning Chiropractic Orthopedics. Should you have any questions that are not addressed here, please contact us and we will be happy to assist you.
Chiropractors receive four years of graduate level training. Chiropractic orthopedists receive five years of additional training in the non-surgical care of spinal and orthopedic conditions.
Chiropractic Orthopedists have a deep understanding of the mechanics of the human body, how we injure ourselves and the means and methods required to heal. We treat all orthopedic conditions.
When was the last time your doctor ask you in what position you slept? What exercises do you do? How far did you commute, checked your car seat position, or asked if your work environment was ergonomic? Do you watch TV or read in bed with pillows propping you up? What stretches do you do and are they really good for you? Is that massage really a good idea? Would your doctor be able to touch your back and determine if it were strained as opposed to being in spasm?
We get to know our patients, their habits, postures and routines. We have to because over many years and working with thousands of patients we have learned that most of the things you are doing and have been advised to do, up to now, are wrong and will keep you injured! That’s why only one in five patients with chronic pain ever get better but we would consider our record very poor if four out of five of our patients weren’t significantly better within a few weeks of beginning treatment in our office.
To put it simply, few doctors or therapists are truly knowledgeable or skilled in understanding the nature of their patient’s injuries and the steps needed to get their patients better! Most often they give their patients terrible advice! With over three decades of experience, working with patients directly, day in and out, while diagnosing, advising and treating each one as an individual, we have learned what does and does not work to restore our patients to health in the fastest possible time frame.
Spinal pain is best evaluated as an engineering problem. The spine with its twenty-four moveable vertebrae, three part movable pelvis, two supportive legs (one of which might be shorter), a twelve pound head, multiple discs, joints, ligaments, nerves and tendons capable of rotating and jamming, renders the spine a truly complex entity. One that requires a great deal of skill and knowledge to evaluate the many possible mechanisms of pain and to formulate a pathway of effective treatment and correction. Successful spinal treatment is not just about pain cessation, it is about ensuring that your spine can operate maximally, without abnormal pressure or stress, to prevent spinal degeneration and to keep your spine working well for a lifetime. Few doctors understand the spine’s complex puzzle.
In diagnosis, we perform any and all standard medical testing indicated but have a preference for weight-bearing MRI’s of the spine as these are more precise in terms of their ability to demonstrate the magnitude of spinal pathology. We also utilize weight bearing or standing x-rays of the spine as these give much more information about how the spine may shift or change under pressure. The spine is complex and weight bearing x-rays help us to understand the engineering stresses on the spine as we go about our daily lives.
We also perform casting, bracing, custom rehabilitation and exercise programs, healing therapies of many types including ultrasound and a detailed ergonomic evaluation and plan. We also prescribe, cast and provide, custom podiatric grade orthotics and custom braces many of which have been designed by Dr. Hargis.
Spinal manipulation is often used in the practice but that depends on the condition. In many cases manipulation is contraindicated and is not performed.
First let’s begin by knowing that the nerves from your spine innervate and direct the function of every single organ and tissue in your body. If that seems hard to believe ask your medical doctor. He’ll admit the same but somehow over the many decades most MD’s have lost the logic of this simple observation. They have turned largely to medicines to cure one’s ills and forgotten about the spine and it’s very important effect on health. Cardiac arrhythmias, infertility, indigestion or gastro-intestinal problems, asthma, headaches and a host of other conditions can sometimes be improved or resolved with a few simple adjustments of spinal vertebrae.
Babies with colic or wry neck often have tiny vertebrae out of place following the traumatic journey to birth! Their little spines adjust very easily and they respond beautifully to gentle spinal manipulation.
Children with chronic ear infections, asthma, headaches or other potentially spine related conditions often do very well with spinal manipulation.
Seniors do well with chiropractic care and any manipulation of the spine is geared to their tolerance and gently performed as indicated. Seniors who get chiropractic care are healthier, more flexible and able to do and enjoy more. Further most Medicare plans cover chiropractic care.
We are well versed in the conservative care and early intervention required in scoliosis cases to reduce abnormal spinal curvature and to prevent scoliosis progression.
Cluster and Migraine Headaches. Cluster and migraine headaches respond quickly to a combination of therapy and linear axial or tractive spinal manipulation. It is extremely safe and effective. Most of our migraine and cluster headache patients are substantially better in three weeks or less.
Of course any form of spinal pain or nerve pain radiating from the spine.
Scoliosis. Scoliosis is treated improperly in this country for a number of reasons. The major one being the failure to recognize a short leg or tilted spinal or pelvic structure following x-rays. Radiologists do not usually report on an uneven ‘femur height’, (short leg), even if seen on an x-ray as they maintain that this distortion could be due to positional considerations. In any case, whether or not a short leg or uneven pelvis is noted on x-ray, the orthodox medical approach to scoliosis is to do nothing until abnormal spinal curves measure 30 degrees. This response is much too late as early intervention, when curves are just a few degrees, can be completely restored and spinal balance corrected if intervened in a timely fashion. (See my website DrHargis.com where you’ll find a three-page section on scoliosis causation and treatment.)
TMJ. Most temporo-mandibular pain is related to abnormal tension in the muscles of mastication; the temporalis, masseter, internal and external pterygoid muscles connected with chewing. Bite issues play into this and overtime the combination of bite dysfunction and muscle imbalance produces pain and irritation to the TMJ. Forward head carriage can also be a factor. Combining knowledgeable care from your dentist or prosthodontist and chiropractic orthopedist is usually a very effective path to ending TMJ pain.
Carpal tunnel. Most carpal tunnel today results from keyboarding and resting the inner wrist on a hard or jelly-like cushion surface. Dr. Hargis developed a patent pending ‘carpal sheild’ brace that is worn while keyboarding and allows no pressure to be transfered to the inner wrist. The brace is quite effective in reducing/eliminating carpal tunnel pain.
Forward head carriage and cervical rehabilitation. Forward head carriage is the number one cause of neck pain and headaches and plays a major role in many cases of TMJ. Furthermore, forward head carriage is accompanied by cervical curve reversal in almost all cases. Gymnasts, equestrians and other athletes that depend on excellent balance can never achieve perfect balance if they have forward head translation. That’s because the head, with an average weight of twelve pounds, is being carried forward and out of balance with the torso. It’s like taking a bowling ball held straight and balanced above ones elbow and then allowing the ball to move forward of its center of balance: the farther away you hold the ball from it’s balance point the more muscular effort must be exerted to keep it from toppling forward.
Forward head carriage places tremendous stress on the neck muscles which must support the head and is one of the leading causes of neck and upper back pain. The increased pressure placed downward and through the spine from the increased muscular force exerted to keep the head erect leads to early degeneration of the discs and joints in the neck and upper back. Finding no effective means of correcting this problem due to his dissatisfaction with the existing technology available at the time, Dr. Hargis invented and patented the ‘Neck Correct’, also known as the ‘Curve Restorer’ exercise device, currently sold on Amazon.com.. This device can effectively restore proper head balance over time with daily use. The Neck Correct is also an extremely effective device for cervical spine strengthening and rehabilitation of injured or degenerated spines. Using this device coupled with spinal manipulation can be very effective in ending neck and upper back pain.
First a comprehensive QEEG (Quantitative Electro Encephalograph) is performed on our patients using a cap with multiple sensors placed on the head as we monitor the position, magnitude and types of brain waves being produced. This information is then evaluated in our computer database against hundreds of thousands of normative studies and research collected over many years to establish a treatment protocol suited to normalizing brain function for that individual.
Therapy is performed by watching a DVD; movie or cartoon of one’s choosing. As the movie plays the patient is monitored in real time via two small sensors on the skull at the predetermined treatment locations. The brain is then in control of the movie! If the desired brain waves we wish to strengthen are being produced the movie plays smoothly, if not it stops! Over time the brain learns how to produce the desired wave forms to play the movie smoothly as it gradually strengthens with training. Over time the brain changes and and actually build new brain tissue; changes that can be seen on a pre and post PET scan!
Every ten treatments or so we re-map the brain to change our focus of therapy to ensure consistent progress toward normalization as the brain strengthens and improves.
We offer in-office financing. Our plan is simple and unique and reduces your cost to $50.00 per week! You authorize our office to withdraw $200 (two hundred dollars per month) from your checking account until your treatment plan is paid in full. There is no interest change as long as monthly payments are enabled.
Statistically changes have been shown to be largely permanent in the great majority of individuals and positive results are usually seen before the twentieth visit.