Digging Deeper: Treating Cause, Not Just Symptoms

I have always loved puzzles—taking a step back, looking at the big picture, and thinking outside of the box to find a unique and creative solution to a problem. The mystery and unknown that surround real world puzzles keep me on my toes and capture my interest and energy with the goal of finding a solution. This, along with my love of working with people and helping others, helped to spur on my dreams of being a doctor. I chose the field of chiropractic and gained interest in specializing in human movement and biomechanics because I have come to see that by coordinating multiple types of tools like chiropractic adjustments, soft tissue techniques, and functional movement exercises, the best recipes for improvement can be found for each patient.

From infancy, our developing movement patterns become hardwired into our central nervous system, paving the way for how we should ideally move through life as adults. But, as we age and move in less than ideal ways, adapting poor movement patterns, gaining injuries, and trying to fit our bodies to the pop culture version of an “ideal body type,” these ingrained movement patterns become fuzzy, and compensatory movements begin to surface and take over. These changes create roadblocks for performance, and open up doors for a higher risk of injury and increased rate of wear and tear on the body. Helping people to move the best they can and function at their personal peak, is one of the main goals I have in practice. This is why I work to treat the underlying cause of my patient’s complaint and not simply the symptoms and/or site of pain. I like to see the big picture and find all of the puzzle pieces.

When a patient steps into The Core with a new complaint, we form a team as patient and doctor, gathering clues to figure out the best route of care to take. I begin by talking with the patient about their reason for coming in and general history. This is followed by an exam and movement assessment, through which we find where there may be less than ideal movement patterns and muscle imbalances that could contribute to the injury or complaint. These exams differ from person to person. If an individual is a runner, I will observe them running. If they are a soccer player, I will watch to see how they kick the soccer ball and move through drills. Everyone is different and calls for individualized care tailored to them. For example, poor activation of the deep stabilizing muscles of the core can be related to shin splints or an ankle injury. It’s like a domino effect. If a movement pattern or muscle group is not functioning correctly, it will throw off other movements and muscles of the body. The plan of care developed at The Core encompasses the person as a whole, not just the sight of injury.

Once enough information is gathered, I sit down with the patient and talk with them about the exam findings and answer questions. We are a team in this endeavor, so we have to be on the same page. An individualized treatment plan is developed that is fluid and has room for alterations if needed. But, care is not streamlined into one type of treatment at The Core. Rather, to stay true to the point of this article, we dig deeper and work to improve joint mobility through chiropractic adjustments and stability through in office and take home exercises. My goal as a doctor of chiropractic is to partner with my patient to improve the symptoms of a complaint, but more importantly to improve how they move and function in daily life, so they can get out into the world, moving well and experiencing the great adventures life has to offer.

 

Until Next Time,

Abby Scheer, DC