Do I Need 20 Visits to "Correct My Spine" in Watertown?
Patient Question: My chiropractor says my back is “out of place or subluxated” and I need 20 visits to “correct my spine”. Is that true?
Many patients have asked me this question for years, as they have been told by a previous chiropractor that their “back is out of place” (BOOP from here on out) and that they need to have it adjusted to correct their spine. The BOOP model for chiropractic in Watertown is an outdated model. This doesn’t mean that the adjustment does not work or doesn’t offer any benefit to the patient. We will be addressing what the adjustment really does, whether or not you need 20+ visits to be corrected, and what you should be looking for when seeking a chiropractor who gives great care.
BOOP model is outdated in Watertown
The BOOP model (or bone out of place and pinching a nerve) is widely promoted in the profession. Why? It’s easy for the patient to understand and offers a simplified view as to how a chiropractor could help with many different health complaints.
Having stomach issues? You must have a pinched nerve in your low back. Got headaches? You must have a pinched nerve in your neck. Below is a quick summary by Dr. David Seaman on why the BOOP model fails:
To summarize, nerve interference is described, by modern-day advocates of this concept, as a reduction of neural or mental impulses, which occurs in response to a bone-out-of-place (BOOP) subluxation.
The reduced impulses are always referred to in the context of outgoing information from the brain and spinal cord to the organs. This theory neglects the obvious: What about symptoms like pain, headaches, nausea and malaise, which occur in response to increased nociceptive activity, or findings such as high blood pressure that occur in response to increased sympathetic activity? Clearly, the BOOP subluxation model fails miserably when considered in the light of basic neuroscience facts. (1)
Most chiropractors who promote this idea will usually offer treatment plans that involve 20+ treatments to correct your spine. They usually will not diagnose the true underlying issue that is causing your problem. This is lack of diagnosis skills on their part; not getting to the root of your problem is both neglectful and dangerous.
My advice: Seek care from a chiropractor who explains in detail what is wrong and has a plan for getting you better. A diagnosis would include something related to your pain presentation (like a lumbar disc bulge or shoulder impingement).
If my back is “not out of place,” then what is the adjustment doing?
When joints are injured or overused from wear and tear of life or work, the joints become stiff or restricted. Dr. Dingsor, at Watertown Chiropractic, assesses for joint restrictions by motioning your spine or extremity joints for restrictions or lack of movement. He then adjusts the joints manually to restore the motion that was lost. Restoring the motion into the restricted joints reduces pain, reduces muscles spasms, and improves lubrication in the joint.
Are 20+ visits needed to “correct my spine”?
Seeking care from a chiropractor who claims to correct your spine is usually the same ones who x-rays every patient that comes through the door. They will usually tell every patient that their spine is straight or lacks the normal curves. So they will recommend a plan to “restore the curve and correct your spine”. The myth is that the spine curves are rarely ever restored and the pockets of that doctor are lined with your money.
I believe most patients can see through these chiropractors who use sales tactics and scare tactics into getting patients to sign up for long-term care.
Reasonable care for most conditions entails a treatment plan of 6-12 visits for most conditions. Chronic conditions or patients with a lot of baggage for health issues (smokers, diabetes, overweight) all will take longer to heal, due to their bodies’ poor abilities to heal.
My advice for patients who call to schedule with any chiropractor is to ask if x-rays are necessary, do they require signing up for 20 visits or more initially, and do they claim to “fix the problem”. Avoid any chiropractor who claims that they will “fix your issue”. That’s a false claim. Many of these offices are following a cookie cutter approach….every patient gets the same treatment plan and rehab program for any complaint.
Our philosophy is different. We follow the best practices from chiropractic with Motion Palpation Manipulation and teaching patients how to keep themselves from “picking the scab of their condition” (doing the activities that aggravate it) on a daily basis. This key difference (teaching patients how to avoid flaring their issue on a daily basis) saves patients tremendous amounts of time and money.
Take lumbar disc issues, for instance. Most lumbar disc issues are aggravated on a daily basis without patients knowing it. We specifically will teach these patients how to avoid “picking the scab” daily and this gets them out of pain and back to normal twice as fast as other treatments or methods. That’s where going in for an epidural or even low back surgery is pointless as a lumbar disc patient if you are never taught how to avoid “picking the scab” on the disc on a daily basis. It’s like a dentist filling your cavities every six months, but not educating you on avoiding sugar and brushing your teeth.
The methods in our office are different than most others’ in town. We teach and empower you as a patient how to self treat your issue to calm it down and get it healing quickly. Most musculoskeletal issues need to be calmed down (calm down the nerves and joints through adjusting and nerve work) and then the patient needs to be built up.
So that’s that best advice we can give to anyone who is seeking out chiropractic care. I’ll summarize in a few points below:
- Avoid chiropractors who use the BOOP model and claim to fix or correct your spine.
- Avoid chiropractors who need to x-ray you if you are a new patient. Most x-rays are unnecessary.
- Avoid any chiropractor who wants you to sign up for 20+ visits. Most reasonable chiropractors will initially start patients on a 6-12 visits treatment plan.
- Do go to a chiropractor who empowers you to do your own self treatment and teaches you how to avoid “picking at the scab” of your condition.
- Do go to a chiropractor who teaches a few simple at-home rehab exercises to build up your resilience.
- Do go to a chiropractor who says that they will work with you to keep the issue from flaring up again.