Conservative non-invasive chiropractic adjustments and spinal decompression along with exercise can help many patients avoid having surgery. With surgery comes many risks and side effects that can deteriorate health.
When people say they have a bad back, what are some conditions that they might be experiencing?
Dr. Dennis Cronk: To understand what you might be experiencing as far as a bad back, you need to understand anatomy. When we look at the back, you’re dealing with parts of the body that include the muscles, the bones, the nerves and discs. We know as chiropractors that alignment of these physical aspects of the body can create pain that is out of alignment but we also know that emotional and chemical imbalances in the body can create pain as well. That’s the origin of what we may be looking at and through several exams and postural assessments, we can find out for a good amount of time what is wrong with the patient.
For a new chiropractic patient, what is the process you follow to find the cause of their back pain and diagnose their condition?
Dr. Dennis Cronk: As a new patient, we are looking for a bone out of place – the vertebrae of the back – that will impinge upon nerves, affect muscle function, range of motion as well as other structures that surround the spine and affect body health. That is known as a subluxation so we will start with a physical exam to check body alignment and range of motion. We will also do neurological tests to see how the nerves affect the muscles and the bone connections. We will also do x-rays to check the spinal alignment as well as any degeneration that may be occurring with the bones themselves like arthritis. The most important aspect of addressing someone is the adjustment and to see how that patient may respond to the adjustment and that would be the lasting impression as far as what to do for this type of patient.
What are some of the chiropractic treatments that have helped patients avoid spine surgery?
Dr. Dennis Cronk: What we call limitation of matter. If the spinal problem is so bad, then they may need surgery or at least that needs to be addressed. However for most patients, coming to a chiropractor will help people with 80 to 90% of the problems through spinal adjustments that will help restore normal alignment and range of motion. We will also include (to some degree) spinal decompression with traction which helps to alleviate pressure on the discs which help a majority of patients that were told need surgery. They no longer do if they follow through with that protocol. We also recommend exercise and stretching – that helps build tone and fitness throughout the body which helps to support the spine.
Why should people try to avoid spine surgery? What are the risks and long-term adverse effects of undergoing spine surgery?
Dr. Dennis Cronk: There are risks with any type of treatment whether what we do or what surgery might entail. However, our firm belief through our experience and what we are seeing through patients, that if they start with the least invasive, most conservative treatment, and work their way up the ladder towards what may be recommended surgery, they’ll find that they don’t need it as much or often and the problems that they do seek medical treatment for they could easily have been treated for it at the chiropractor. Some of the risks with surgery are initially that surgery is invasive. It cuts into the normal anatomy and may cause side effects just from a healthy surgery. They have a success rate of 50-50. They can weaken tissues, advance scar tissue and repeated surgeries can increase the deterioration and definitely decrease function of the spinal segment.
For someone with a healthy spine, what should they proactively do to help maintain it and avoid problems?
Dr. Dennis Cronk: When we look at the spine, we first evaluate alignment from the front of the patient and from the side of the patient. Obviously if a patient is crooked or standing too far forward or backward, one can understand how that can increase stress along the spine and the longer the stress is there, it will increase the deterioration and increase the risk of spinal problems. To prevent this, like anything in health, patients need to be proactive and that would first include the adjustment, the chiropractic adjustment, to maintain alignment and normal range of motion as well as exercise and stretching to maintain tone and strength in the muscles as well as a healthy balanced lifestyle of diet, exercise as well as rest.
If you are interested in speaking with Dr. Marshall or Dr. Cronk visit www.championchiro.com or call 732-741-1000 to schedule an appointment.