Before anyone goes to see a chiropractor, especially if they are a new patient and have never been before, there are questions that are on their minds. Dr. Tyler Hamel has been a practicing chiropractic doctor for over 20 years, and he says that when it comes to patients looking to reduce neck and back pain, there are two resounding questions:
- What is the actual diagnosis?
- How long will it take to get better?
Let’s separate these two common questions and go into more detail on each.
What Is Causing My Neck And Back Pain?
There are only so many causes of neck and back pain, and therefore, only so many diagnoses. The most common diagnoses Dr. Hamel sees in his office include the following:
- Cervical segmental dysfunction (misalignment)
- Lumbar segmental dysfunction (misalignment)
- Cervical strain
- Cervical sprain
- Lumbar strain
- Lumbar sprain
- Cervical disc bulge
- Lumbar disc bulge
- Poor posture
- Facet syndrome
- Disc herniation
- Muscle spasm
- Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
There are more, but these are the most common. We must also look at the source of the neck and back pain and the cause of the pain, as often times they can be different. For example, when this Kingwood chiropractor is evaluating a patient with low back issues, he will look to see if there are movement restrictions and misalignments in the mid back, the SI joint and hips. Often times the low back is the source of the pain, but not the cause.
Very stiff and tight mid back and hips creates significant stress in the lumbar spine and surrounding musculature. Another common diagnosis, rotator cuff impingement or syndrome can often times be caused by postural stress, mid back inflexibility, anterior rolled shoulders and neck. Those rotator cuff tendons can only handle so much stress, especially when the shoulders are rolled forward. The chiropractor goes on to say that it is almost impossible to fix shoulders or impingements if you do not fix mid back posture and turn on those postural muscles. Now that we have figured out the diagnosis, cause and source of the pain, you’re likely wondering how we fix it and how long it takes.
How Long Will It Take To Feel Better?
A reputable Kingwood chiropractor should develop a specific treatment plan to help each individual get reduce neck and back pain quickly. The main goal of the treatment is to have the patient be able to do their regular activities of daily living, such as parenting, computer work, driving, going to the gym, golfing, playing tennis, picking up their young kids, taking their dogs for a walk, all with little to no pain. Dr. Hamel practices evidence-based chiropractic care, meaning that he recommends chiropractic treatment to his patients based on three things:
- The results of the thousands of past patients he has treated
- What he has seen that works and gets patients better quickly
- Considering what the research shows
In a nutshell, those patients who come in and get treatment until the point where they have little to no pain doing their regular activities of daily living seem to do the best short-term and long-term, with decreased neck and back pain.
Patients who come in for their scheduled treatments and do their recommended corrective/postural exercises get better the quickest, and long-term they seem to be much happier and in less pain.
On the other hand, patients who only get adjustments and do not do their homework in the form of corrective exercises do not respond nearly as well or as quickly when seeking to reduce neck and back pain.
So it definitely seems like patient commitment and discipline when it comes to coming in for the their chiropractic treatment and following through with their corrective exercises correlates to decreased neck and back pain and a significantly improved patient satisfaction. Some skeptics might ask, “What does the research show and who’s doing the research?” The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapies conducted the research in 2016 to determine clinical practice guidelines for neck and back pain treatment. The results of this study looked at a one-month treatment timeline and looked at the percentage of improvement in both disability and pain. The patients went through 30 days of getting a varying number of treatments per week, and they measured improvement levels in both pain reduction and disability reduction. The results of that study showed the following:
- In a 4-week period those patients receiving 1 treatment per week noticed a 36% reduction in disability and a 28% reduction in pain.
- In a 4-week period those patients receiving 2 treatments per week noticed a 41% reduction in disability and a 38% reduction in pain.
- In a 4-week period those patients receiving 3 treatments per week noticed a 60% reduction in disability and a 49% reduction in pain.
- In a 4-week period those patients receiving 4 treatments per week noticed a 74% reduction in disability and a 65% reduction in pain.
That’s what the research shows. And that’s the reason Dr. Hamel believes that when you are dealing with spinal and muscular pain, posture needs to be corrected, and in order for posture to be corrected, the patient’s body needs to see the treatment over and over again, and more frequently at the beginning of care.
This is very similar to physical therapy, whether you are fixing a shoulder or a neck, that area needs to be trained to improve posture, meaning joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons have to get used to a new and more postural friendly position. How long does a new diet take before you are comfortable with it and start to see results? How long do you go the gym to see positive changes and not be super stiff and sore anymore? The answer to both questions is about 30 days. That is the magical number for your body to get used to a new habit.
The mission of this Kingwood chiropractic doctor is to get his patients out of pain quickly so that they can enjoy their daily activities with little to no pain. Some patients come in 3 times a week and they are better in 2 weeks, other patients come in 4 times a week and take 6-8 weeks to get better. The great point here is that the patient knows when he or she has relieved their neck and back pain, and they let Dr. Hamel know when they feel comfortable with being released from care. This is all based on patient feedback, and he truly believes this is what patient’s want and what they deserve. There are some chiropractic doctors out there setting up patient’s on 3 month, 6 month, or yearly plans; the question must be asked, is this for the benefit of the patient or the doctor’s office? Keep in mind that this Kingwood chiropractor is very flexible when it comes to chiropractic therapy and getting results; he wants to get you out of pain quickly without any long-term treatment plans.
Dr. Tyler Hamel DC has been practicing chiropractic for many years. He has been treating patients for over 20 years in Kingwood, Texas and the surrounding areas. His back pain relief center is designed to keep you comfortable. He likes to keep things simple, quick and efficient for all his patients. The office understands that you are busy, which is why patients can walk-in, call, book online, use their insurance, or pay cash. The office accepts M.D. referrals and most health insurance.