Our Chiropractic Clinic Blog

Interested in reducing pain and improving fitness? Our chiropractors give tips on building a healthier lifestyle through chiropractic care, nutrition, and more!
Dr. Keith Sparks

Inflammatory Pain Handout

Inflammatory Pain Handout

WHAT IS INFLAMMATION?

After an injury, or flare-up of an existing issue, the body produces inflammation. Symptoms of inflammation may include: pain, swelling, redness, increased temperature, and loss of movement. When inflammation sets in, it usually is felt as an increase in 3 points on a 10-point scale, which lasts longer than a day. Once inflammation sets in, the body starts to heal. Pain is your body’s response to inflammation. Pain bring awareness to an area of the body to decrease the odds of re-injury during the early phase of healing.

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Dr. Keith Sparks

All Things Strained

All Things Strained

Strain to the body can be both good and bad. Like all things in life it’s a balancing act. Everyone has heard of a strain/sprain, or over-straining yourself. Usually strain is thought of as bad however strain can also be good. But how do we know when strain is good vs bad? To understand good vs bad strain, we need to understand how strain occurs. Strain to the body is caused in three ways: load, speed, duration.

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Dr. Keith Sparks

How to Program Stretches at Home: Part 2

How to Program Stretches at Home: Part 2

The whole moto of this approach is “too much of a good thing can be bad.” With each example, in Part 1, the person started to experience a decline in feeling better when performing more reps or more amount of time spent in a specific stretch. Let’s explain why.

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Dr. Keith Sparks

How to Program Stretches at Home: Part 1

How to Program Stretches at Home: Part 1
Rep Chart

It’s important to understand too much of a good thing can be bad. I often use the analogy,

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Dr. Keith Sparks

Treating Disc Bulges

Treating Disc Bulges

Easiest truth, find a McKenzie or Mechanical Therapy & Diagnosis (MDT) healthcare provider. This will save you money, time, and frustration. If a clinic’s website does not list MDT than the doctors on staff do not understand MDT. MDT is one of the most botched techniques out there, much like A.R.T., and the growing rise in popularity with dry needling. In my opinion, McKenzie, is the number one conservative-based approach to treating symptoms commonly associated with disc pain and onto further physical therapeutic care and rehab. Sure there are other things that can help treat disc pain such as decompression and distraction machines, however they do not promote self-care which only increase costs to you and the entire healthcare system as a whole. 

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Dr. Keith Sparks

Bulging Disc Pain

Bulging Disc Pain

The subtitle here should read, “Enter the Gauntlet.” Disc pain is more variable than any other type of “true” musculoskeletal related pain. It almost seems like there is no rhyme or reason in symptoms. Disc related pain can even be the source of pain behind other unresponsive diagnoses such as: carpal tunnel, plantar fasciitis, and IT band syndrome.

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Dr. Keith Sparks

Are MRIs of Disc Herniations Useful?

Are MRIs of Disc Herniations Useful?

This question is becoming more and more controversial for neck and low back pain. For the past few decades, healthcare has largely based its treatment options for disc herniations on image findings (X-ray, MRI, CT Scans). With these advanced tools, one would think positive outcomes with disc herniations would be significantly higher; however, different types of clinicians come to different conclusions when using different diagnostic and clinical tests. (1,2) This creates an approach based on a doctor’s theory of pain rather than a comprehensive, evidence-based approach.

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Dr. Keith Sparks

3 Un-Thought of Questions When Finding the Right Chiropractor

3 Un-Thought of Questions When Finding the Right Chiropractor
With chiropractic care you never know what you are going to get. Google, Facebook, and Yelp reviews can help (though sometimes misleading), or maybe a family member or friend referred you to a specific chiropractic clinic or practitioner. 
 
There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong chiropractor. It’s more of a personal preference of personality, viewpoint, services provided, etc. However, there are many things that get overlooked when deciding on a facility. Three things we feel people should think of include: the amount of services provided within the cost of care, certifications, and the style of chiropractic provided. 
 

Chiropractic Services Included in Cost?

This is the first question everyone asks, right? No. Everyone asks what is the cost. Not what service(s) are provided for the cost. Prices can range from $15 a visit to $150 per visit. It largely depends on the style of chiropractic and the certifications, demonstrating advanced training and skill, the chiropractor possesses.
 
Most places charge $40 for a baseline adjustment; this is fairly standard across the board. Any advanced services, such as dry needling, A.R.T., McKenzie, etc., will cost additional. This isn’t a bad thing. If your pain is from tight and restricted muscles, then a chiropractic adjustment isn’t going to be the game changer. If you’re looking for a cheaper, yet longer treatment plan approach that’s your right. If you’re looking to fix the issue faster and are willing to pay a little more per visit, then that is also your right. 
 

Importance of Certifications

Currently, asking a clinic or looking on their website (ours) for their advanced certifications is one of the most important questions a person should ask. One day certifications will be considered a dime a dozen, but right now it should be on a person’s mind to ask.
 
Certifications directly demonstrate advanced skills and indirectly the style of chiropractic they provide.
 
A good rule to follow is: if there is nothing listed on the website, then they don’t offer more than the minimal standard. In my opinion, chiropractors and other healthcare providers should be required to list their certifications and techniques in order to claim or market that they “treats sport-related injuries, geriatric population, etc”. Having the chiropractor or clinic state their certifications helps you identify if they have a better chance at helping you other than just them saying they can.
 

Style of Chiropractic

This ties directly into certifications. Certifications such as A.R.T. (active release techniques) do not limit a chiropractor to seeing only sport-related issues, but it does help guide a person when shopping for a chiropractor to identify how the chiropractor may go about treating an injury.
 
There is a large diversity in chiropractic with philosophy and how treatment plans are structured. Some practices focus on wellness plans, others on pain management, and some unfortunately are just money driven scams. Ask your doctor why he/she is doing something and how that is going to achieve your goal. A tid bit of advice, if your doctor gives a generic statement you're probably getting a generic care plan. Reduction in pain does not need to take 5+ months. Depending on what is going on it may only need 5 visits, not 5 months. 
 

Where to Look for Information

There are a lot of caveats within chiropractic. Some are for the better, while others are not. Ultimately it is your responsibility to figure out if a practice is going to align with your view points. Look at the website, social media posts, call, and ask questions. For the most part, there is not a wrong or right approach; only what aligns with you and what you are looking for.
 
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Dr. Keith Sparks

The 7 Most Important Things to Know for Self-Treating Movement Pain

The 7 Most Important Things to Know for Self-Treating Movement Pain

When it comes to self-treatment, there is a plethora of information on the internet. How do you navigate it accordingly? Stretch this, activate that, feel here and not there – you can quickly be standing on your head feeling more lost then when you started. We have put together a “cheat sheet” on what we find are the most important CONCEPTS when trying to self-treat at home. By focusing your efforts on concepts or principles, it will help weed out 95% of unneeded information on the web.

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Dr. Keith Sparks

Wichita's Preventative Care Programs

Wichita's Preventative Care Programs

Being proactive toward your health instead of reactive not only improves the quality of your life but also is financially less burdensome in this ever-changing healthcare market. Insurance is cracking down on practices such as billing maintenance care under medical necessity. This means the way many practices have typically filled their schedules must change to remain compliant.

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Dr. Keith Sparks

2018 Changes!!

2018 Changes!!

Happy Holidays everyone!

We wish you, your family members, and friends the very best going into the new year! It is always exciting to think of what the next year will offer as you reflect on the previous year. For us, so many things have changed; Rachel and I were married, and we are now expecting our first child late spring. As I am writing this I cannot believe how much has changed so fast and how well Wichita has rallied behind our cause of setting a new standard for chiropractic care. Stating this there will be some changes in services and pricing for 2018.

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Dr. Keith Sparks

Stop the Orthotic Band-Aid Treatment

Stop the Orthotic Band-Aid Treatment

I am tired of seeing orthotics being prescribed like pills. Oh, your foot hurts… Well this shoe and orthotic combo work wonders but it will cost you $1300+. Um… No. Has your foot pain hurt you your entire life? Chances are the answer is a strong no! Over-the-counter orthotics are relatively pointless to relieve your pain unless they cost $20 or less constructed with Sorbothane. Here is a link for a pair on Amazon or if you want them now most Walgreens or CVS carry them. Sorbothane is the best shock absorbing material on the market, period. This type of orthotic is more for those individuals that have generalized foot pain during long periods of standing. 

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Dr. Keith Sparks

Dry Needling: Our Chiropractic Approach

Dry Needling: Our Chiropractic Approach






Forgetting many little nuisances to "needling" such as gauge, size, diameter, and material, here is our approach to dry needling. Depending on a person’s comfortability and tissue quality we may start with just dry needling; no fancy tricks. From here, if needed, I will progress into more intricate forms of dry needling if results become stagnant or limited. Quite frankly this rarely happens as long as the injuried tissue is classified correctly. Don’t get me wrong, dry needling is powerful, but it is never the end-all-be-all. Sometimes people are scared of the idea of dry needling and want to be eased into the approach. There is no right or wrong mindset here.

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Dr. Keith Sparks

Air Compression Sleeves: Our Rambling Thoughts

Air Compression Sleeves: Our Rambling Thoughts

There are so many options available today when it comes to improving recovery speed, that it makes it difficult to comprehend which methods or which pieces of equipment are worth your time and (monetary) investment. Recently we purchased a lower body set of compression sleeves. After a few months of using them, here are our thoughts.

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Dr. Keith Sparks

Local Elbow Pain

Local Elbow Pain

Reading this title, you might have considered "local" as a geographical location such as Wichita, KS; however, I am referring to pain that is arising in tissues (muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments) local to the elbow. There are many causes to elbow pain. Elbow pain can originate from simple issues such as: muscular tension surrounding the elbow, or more complex scenarios arising from the shoulder blade and neck. When the source of the pain is close to the elbow, it is considered local pain. Elbow pain arising from the shoulder or hand is considered regional pain, and when pain is a full body experience, it is considered a global pain mechanism. Whatever the cause may be, taking the time to identify if the pain source is local, regional, or global is the only way to decrease and eliminate the pain as fast as possible.

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Dr. Keith Sparks

Recovery

Recovery
The old adage "no pain no gain" is a fool's philosophy. There are times in training you may feel fatigued, tired or outside of your comfort zone and this is fine.  I am referring to the difference between "it hurts so good," and "it flat out hurts." If you are in the latter group, then you have missed out hugely on progress and performance.  
 

Why Recovery is Important 

Spending time on recovery helps to prevent "flat out hurt" by keeping the tissue within your body healthy and closer to 100% optimal quality. If your focus is on leaving the gym, court, field, etc., completely drained and weak, then your body has to spend time recovering. This will happen naturally, with or without your approval. Sometimes this can be felt over the next few days as DOMS – delayed onset muscle soreness. Also, some individuals can recover from this faster than others – simple fact of life.
 
If not enough time is spent in a state of recovery between training episodes, you increase the chance of developing overuse syndromes (i.e. IT Band Syndrome, strains/sprains, jumpers knee, rotator cuff tear). Think about your body as a car, you get oil changes and maintenance care on it to prevent it from falling apart faster. Without doing so, you would be buying a new car quite often. You only get one body, which makes taking care of it all that more important.  
 
Pushing your body's limit and physical capabilities is important for a plethora of health conditions; it is beneficial to create adaptation and challenge the body physically. However, each person has a different limit to how much stress their body can withstand without having a negative impact upon it. This is why recovery is important. Recovery allows you to heal faster in order to train harder; this is training smarter. By incorporating recovery, you help to compliment and further progress the main focus of your goals – to continue training. Recovery creates a checks and balance system for your body, for continual growth while staying as optimally healthy as possible. 
 

What Recovery Is and What It Is Not 

Recovery is being pro-active and taking care of your body when you feel at the top of your game; it allows you to repeatedly do the things in life you love and enjoy. Recovery is not re-active care, or integrating various mobility drills and stretches when "flat out pain" is present. There are times in training and competing when you might have to participate hurt (depending on the severity), but attempting to eliminate pain through recovery alone will be an extremely long process, if beneficial at all. There is time for recovery and there is time to seek further, more-advanced care via: chiropractic, massage therapy, and physical therapy services.   
 
The amount of time a person may spend on recovery is different from individual to individual. Someone who likes to lift weights for an hour a week may not need to spend any time in recovery, yet someone who spends 1-2 hours every day working out will need to spend time recovering. Below are two general rules to help you identify where you may be at on the spectrum.  
 

2 General Rules to Follow with Recovery 

  1. The older you are, the more time you should spend implementing recovery strategies.
    • At some point in life, you need to face the music and understand you are not a young buck anymore. That does not mean training or working out has to suffer or be limited. It simply means, in order to keep your tissues healthy, you need to spend more time focused on activities or modalities that help you recover better and recover faster.  
  2. The more you train, the more you need to spend time on recovery. 
    • I have talked with numerous high-level athletes and the ones who win understand concept #2; unfortunately, it is not often talked about. D1 and NFL football players may get treated multiple times in a single day, by a wide range of health professionals. Whether you are trying to get to this type of level (professional athlete), maximize your potential or prevent the loss of your current potential, then spending time in recovery is needed. You cannot outrun or outwork an overused muscle. 
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Dr. Keith Sparks

Wichita Pride: Road to Regionals

Wichita Pride: Road to Regionals

Get excited! CrossFit Regionals are here. The six events have been revealed and competitors across the world will compete on three separate weekends. Soon there will be countless of individuals across the world tuning in to watch these competitions. Rachel and I both have enjoyed past competitions, but this year is special and it should be to everyone with Wichita pride.

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Dr. Keith Sparks

Understanding Chiropractic: Physical Therapy

Understanding Chiropractic: Physical Therapy

The concept that chiropractors can perform physical therapy is almost unknown; chiropractors can perform and bill for physical therapy depending on passing of the appropriate board examination. Some chiropractic schools do not focus on physical therapy as part of their curriculum, and in doing so, those students and graduate doctors are not capable of billing for physical therapy. A state's allowed scope of practice can often influence a school's opinion on providing this type of education. Some chiropractic schools do not offer education in physical therapy because surrounding states' scopes of practice do not allow chiropractors to bill physical therapy to insurance companies and therefore that school unfortunately does not teach physical therapy.

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Dr. Keith Sparks

Healthcare: A Broken System

Healthcare: A Broken System

Healthcare is broken – period.

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Dr. Keith Sparks

Understanding Chiropractic: The Joint-by-Joint Approach

Understanding Chiropractic: The Joint-by-Joint Approach

As stated in previous blogs, defining and understanding chiropractic can be vague. There are many techniques offered by chiropractors in an attempt to address a variety of health issues - not always musculoskeletal in nature. However, when considering chiropractic, most individuals think of some form of manipulation or adjusting. To better understand how chiropractic adjustments are beneficial, a concept known as the "Joint-by-Joint Approach," established by Mike Boyle and Gray Cook, needs to be acknowledged.

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Have a Question?

Do you have a question about chiropractic care, fitness or nutrition?  We would love to hear from you, and we might even turn your question into our next blog post!

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