Defining "New Age" Chiropractic
With the ever-evolving healthcare situation, it is hard as a consumer to find quality care at an affordable rate. This has driven many healthcare practitioners and practices, from a broad range of disciplines, to ditch insurance all together and go "cash only". In addition, this is causing a surge in differing healthcare models. For chiropractic, you may see practices that stick to adjustments only, practices that incorporate electrical stimulation or ultrasound, and others that open the technique box much wider.
"New Age" chiropractic includes integrating the best of: chiropractic manipulations/mobilizations, soft tissue therapy, and rehabilitation services into each visit, if needed. This model breaks the mold of traditional chiropractic thought; it integrates the best of the best across several disciplines. It's evidence-informed. It's not stating "I" created a new technique for marketing purposes, but instead incorporating existing techniques tailored to each individual. To help understand this a little further, let's break down the three pillars that we, at ICT Muscle & Joint Clinic, have adopted: chiropractic, soft tissue therapy, and rehabilitation.
In my opinion, top tier chiropractors and practices have a background in biomechanics from the most evidence-based literature. Integrative approaches taken and results produced are not based on subjective opinions. The best of the best chiropractors almost always have a strong foundation through the Motion Palpation Institute, or MPI, in reference to understanding full body biomechanics. MPI doctors practice holistically, viewing the body as one unit not individual parts. For example, think of the last time you were sick, I bet your strength was hindered as well.
The body is one unit and MPI doctors understand this interplay best. MPI chiropractors believe in the restorative power of adjustments and mobilizations, not getting caught up on structure, but concentrating on ultimately restoring function. Because without function, the body is effectively a corpse. Chiropractic care is about understanding how loss or excessive range of motion in one region of the body will affect another area, to what degree is case dependent.
Soft Tissue Therapy
Soft tissue structures include: muscle, fascia, nerves, ligaments, and tendons. Many times the phrase “Soft Tissue Therapy” is not well understood, but when rephrased to “Muscle Therapy,” many individuals will understand what is being treated. However, there are many other soft tissue structures in the body that can produce pain and present as limiting, causative factors in decreased function/performance aside from muscles only. Below are some of the most progressive, soft tissue therapies, including:
- Dry Needling
- Fascial Manipulation
The approaches listed above are mostly focused on restoring tissue quality via movement. As human beings we are moving creatures, we do not thrive as static structures. We consistently have to move from point A to point B and it only makes sense to treat the soft tissue and rehab in accordance.
Rehab can traditionally be thought of as physical therapy. They are one in the same. Many of the advanced, rehab-based approaches are listed below. These techniques are not necessarily chiropractic based; they are a collection of specialists within the rehabilitative world. The list highlights the expert opinions that functionally-minded chiropractors, like ourselves, utilize in their approaches.
- Stuart McGill
- PhD – world renown authority figure on spinal biomechanics
- Focus on spine sparing exercises
- Pavel Kolar – Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS)
- Physiotherapist, PhD in Pediatrics
- From Prague
- Discovered and integrates developmental, ingrained movement patterns as the most comprehensive, movement-based approach to musculoskeletal problems
- Karel Levit – Prague
- Deceased- MD, DrSc
- One of the first clinicians known to advocate take-home exercises
- McKenzie – MDT (Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy)
- Deceased- Physical Therapist
- Emphasis on self-treatment through preferred direction of movement
- Butler – Neurodynamics
- PhD - Clinician, author, lecturer and educator regarding the treatment of acute and chronic pain
- Moseley – PhD, PT
- Noted pain is an expression of the brain even after tissue damage is no longer present
- Vladimir Janda – Prague
- Deceased – MD
- Pioneer of evaluation and treatment of muscle imbalances based on neurology and movement patterns
A closer look shows that the above does not list any chiropractors; they are MDs, PhDs, or PTs. As a chiropractor, our schooling is largely based on joint palpation and restoring natural movement within joints. However, many chiropractors seek out further rehabilitative techniques to become a more well rounded practitioner. New age chiropractors are pushing the field in understanding and integrating full body biomechanics like no one's business. With the list of experts noted above, new age chiropractors are leading the field, integrating rehabilitative services as a part of a whole system, in regard to treating musculoskeletal conditions.
New Age Chiropractic Integration
By integrating the best of the best under one roof, you as the consumer get an experience that is truly second to none in education, treatment, and outcomes. "New age" chiropractors are NOT traditional chiropractors. If you have not heard or recognize techniques listed above you are most likely not seeing a new age chiropractor. Also, if you walk into a clinic and they use e-stim (electrical pads) on you every visit, then you are not seeing a new age chiropractor.
While stating all of these amazing services you can get in one location, at one time, it is still not a miracle pill. There is a need for all of these services to be offered, but the emphasis on which services provided in a given visit can widely vary. Functional chiropractic clinics can truly be a one stop shop for many musculoskeletal dysfunctions and disorders.
The future looks bright for new age chiropractic. The model is outstanding and so are the results. Now is the time for new age chiropractors to be known and the juncture to stand out from the crowd.