What Is Integrative Medicine? Part 1: Chiropractic

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A four-part series on new ways to treat the mind, body, and spirit that will help keep you healthy, strong and happy!


Many Americans have never heard of integrative medicine, but this holistic movement has left its imprint on many of the nation’s hospitals, universities, and medical schools. Mt. Lookout Chiropractic and Sports Injury Center is one of the leaders in the Midwest.



What is Integrative Medicine and why is chiropractic care an important component?

Integrative medicine is an approach to care that puts the patient at the center and addresses the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental influences that affect a person’s health.
For example, your environment in the business world is a lot of small enclosed areas —desks, cars, meeting rooms, which means a lot of sitting. The combination of extended sitting with the mental and emotional stress of your life undoubtedly will cause spinal and extremity stiffness/immobility, which ultimately leads to and drives back and neck pain, shoulder pain and headaches, just to name a few.
Chiropractic is an important component because it is the most efficient treatment modality available to address spinal and extremity immobility that develops as a consequence of postural stress. You can think of chiropractic as the first line of defense when it comes to health and wellness because the ability to move and function properly is the key to a healthy life.



What makes Chiropractic such a critical element in this “holistic” movement and with integrative medicine?

The overwhelming success of chiropractic care is that it creates more mobility in the spine through gentle adjustments or spinal manipulation. The efficient and safe way to begin relieving your back/neck/shoulder pain is by integrating chiropractic spinal and extremity adjustments into your treatment. After receiving a finite number of chiropractic adjustments, improvement in daily movement and regular activities, and pain relief typically occur. This increases your capacity to address other health issues that you may be experiencing, such as weight, blood sugar balance, energy, allergies, digestive problems, acid reflux, sleep trouble, anxiety or depression, heart disease risk and cancer risk.


What are some of the top myths surrounding Chiropractic?

The top myth surrounding chiropractic is that there is no finish line. Our customized treatment plan for each patient can include spinal/extremity adjustments, physical therapy/rehabilitation, nutrition and acupuncture; all of which are based upon finite treatment plans. Chiropractic is a vital part initially, but in most conditions, you do not have to continue chiropractic indefinitely unless you choose to utilize it for maintenance/wellness care. Another myth is that it is going to be painful or cause additional harm. There is occasional, mild discomfort experienced during chiropractic care, but research is clear that chiropractic adjustments are very safe and effective.


Are you sure my back issues can be helped with chiropractic?

We spend a lot of time examining each patient to be sure that we have looked at all the factors that could possibly contribute to their pain. In most cases, back and neck pain can be helped with chiropractic treatment. We pride ourselves on proper diagnosis with a holistic mindset when evaluating patients. Back issues are oftentimes caused by dysfunctional spinal and extremity joints, but also oftentimes, multiple factors contribute to these issues.


Why does it work so well?

Our approach includes a detailed diagnosis which includes a comprehensive evaluation. When a back issue is properly assessed and diagnosed, and effective spinal adjustments applied, chiropractic works very well because of the positive impact on the nervous system. An adjustment directly stimulates the nervous system resulting in pain relief, muscle relaxation, increased local blood flow and joint movement normalization.


Is it a stand-alone therapy?

Chiropractic can be a stand-alone therapy depending on the condition, but with today’s environment and the standard American diet, physical exercise and nutrition should be addressed.


Does insurance cover it?

The good news is that most insurance companies cover chiropractic treatment and see the value in this important practice.


How do you find a good chiropractor?

Asking a friend that you trust is a great place to start. Always confirm their educational background and licensing. Doctors of Chiropractic must pass national and state board exams as well as complete undergraduate and doctorate schooling at an accredited chiropractic college.


If my back pain has been chronic, will it take a long time to fix?

In most cases of chronic low back pain, a comprehensive plan that incorporates accurate patient input can enhance recovery. The office visit is just a part of this plan. Your exercise habits, sleep, nutrition and attitude can go a long way towards a healthier life.


Can it help me avoid surgery?

Surgery is not the right solution for most back conditions and chiropractic can certainly help you avoid it even if surgery is being recommended. Putting aside traumatic injury or serious spinal instability, surgery is a last resort for treatment of back related conditions.


I have to sit all day and I drive a lot, can you give me some good tips for both?

Taking a 30 second stand up break every 20 minutes is an easy way to address the negative effects of postural stress that develop from sitting all day. Driving is a different matter as it is impractical to stop every 20 minutes. Either way though, sitting at a desk or in a car, you should have low back, elbow and wrist support. Try to sit with upright posture. Your eyes should be level directed straight ahead, not straining to look down or up. You might also consider a standing desk.


Are there certain exercises that help strengthen the back and avoid long-term back issues?

Unfortunately there is no one miracle exercise that will make it so you never have back issues. The reality of the situation is that exercise is very important, but everyone is different and usually there are multiple exercises and stretches that are necessary to fully address a person’s specific physical well-being.


How much can my current weight affect my back pain?

Extra weight not only affects the back but also the hips, knees and ankles.


Do you as a chiropractor yourself, get adjusted regularly? Why?

We get adjusted to maintain natural mobility and to keep moving smoothly. Proper hip, ankle and pelvis function are important in maintaining a pain-free low back. Mid back and shoulder stiffness can lead to neck pain and headaches. Utilizing chiropractic adjustments as a preventative modality is an excellent choice for avoiding back pain driven by the routine activities of daily living and postural stress of work or repetitive movements.


Why does my back pain keep coming back?

Your back pain is most likely caused by the combination of postural stress from sitting at a computer all day, dysfunctional movement patterns, poor dietary habits, lack of exercise and emotional stress. Even after undergoing a comprehensive treatment regimen to address the pain, if the ultimate causes are not adequately eliminated, then your pain is likely to come back.


Does sleep have anything to do with my back pain?

Proper sleep is a major contributing factor in almost all conditions, including back pain and weight loss. We recommend that you sleep on a medium firm mattress on your side or on your back. Never sleep on your stomach as it can be very straining on the neck and low back. Try to flip your mattress every three months and try to buy a new mattress approximately every five years.

If you would like any more information contact us here or call 513-321-8484.