• Jeffrey Tirsch, D.C.
    Treating patients with domestic, work related, and sports injuries
    for over two decades.

Spinal Problems: Questions & Answers

"Slipped disk" or actually "Bulging disk" has become a common saying, as if we were talking about a stack of slippery poker chips.

Discs are actually the fluid-filled cushions that act as shock-absorbers between the dense bones of the spine. These discs allow the spine to support normal body movement and keep the vertebrae from grinding against each other and causing back pain. As long as the spine is lined up properly, the discs can do their job.

When the spine experiences a continuing misalignment due to stress, accident or slight dislocation the "disk" may "bulge" out between the edges of the spinal bones and eventually lose it's cushioning fluid and the ability to regain more fluid. This results in vertebrae grinding against each other. Sound painful? In many cases this condition leads to severe pain.

In the past, many patients looked to surgery for a reduction of this severe pain. New government healthcare guidelines do not readily endorse surgery because of the variety of complications that can occur as a result of the surgery itself. Surgery also does not attempt to correct the cause of the symptoms.

Although chiropractic is used most frequently to relieve low back pain, studies have found it to be effective for a variety of conditions, such as migraine headaches, neck and shoulder pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and infantile colic.

Typical chiropractic adjustments do not hurt. The patient may experience a minor amount of discomfort during the adjustment which lasts only seconds in an effort to correct misalignments and / or "fixations" in the spine that are causing pain or other symptoms and may have been present for years. Any discomfort you may have following your first few adjustments can be compared to the soreness you have after a hard workout at the gym

Chiropractic adjustments or manipulations are extremely safe. The risk factor is estimated to be one million to one. Doctors of Chiropractic are highly trained professionals with years of experience working on hundreds or thousands of patients, using techniques that have been in practice for over a hundred years. Our procedures are natural and drugless. By contrast, the December 11, 1999 issue of the British Medical Journal stated medical errors kill almost 100,000 Americans a year, with other sources estimating the figure to be up to four times that amount, ranking only behind heart disease and cancer as the leading cause of death. Our conservative philosophy is chiropractic first, medicine second and surgery last.

Before entering Chiropractic college, one must complete, at a minimum, a 2 year pre-professional study with many chiropractic colleges and universities requiring a 4 year undergraduate basic science degree. Chiropractors receive a post-graduate education that includes evaluation and care for the entire body with special emphasis on neuromusculo-skeletal diagnosis and treatment. Preparation for the practice of chiropractic is concentrated on three areas of learning; basic training in the biological and health sciences (anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, biomechanics, clinical and radiological diagnosis); specialized training in the chiropractic discipline (theoretical studies, practice, specific technique, diagnosis and applications); and extensive clinical and practical training with patients.

Several studies have documented the effectiveness of chiropractic in relieving back pain. More recent studies have shown chiropractic to be effective in treating 9 variety of conditions.

The first procedure your doctor will do is take a complete history of your complaints - when did it start, what happened, when does it hurt, etc. In addition your chiropractor will ask about your family history, dietary habits, previous injuries, other care you may have had (chiropractic, osteopathic, medical, etc.), your job, and other questions designed to help determine the nature of your illness and the best way to go about treating the problem. This one-on-one talk is very important in making a diagnosis.

A physical examination will be performed in accordance with your doctor of chiropractic's clinical judgement, which may include x-rays, laboratory analysis and other diagnostic procedures. In addition, a careful spinal examination and analysis will be performed to detect any structural abnormalities which may be affecting or causing your condition. All of these elements are important components of your total health profile, and vital to the doctor of chiropractic in evaluating your problem.

The Chiropractic "adjustments" are short gentle thrusts delivered to specific areas of the spine or other joints. These adjustments correct misalignments, reduce joint fixations, and improve mobility and flexibility of the spine and relieve pressure on sensitive irritated tissues which in turn helps reduce the pain and other symptoms such as nerve "pinching".

In addition to the specific chiropractic adjustments, a patient may receive physio-therapy to the affected soft tissues (e.g. muscles, ligaments and/or tendons) in an effort to reduce pain, inflammation and muscle spasm, and also to promote soft tissue healing.

Each patient is different. Some people have had their problem for a long time, and others have only recently begun to experience their pain. Depending on the severity and duration of the conditon and its underlying causes, you may be under care for as little as 2 weeks or as long as 3 months or more. Again, it depends on the nature of the condition, what the x-rays show, what the exam findings were, your overall health and fitness level, and how you respond to care.

Other than Chiropractic, what else do you do? We believe that no one can truly be healthy without good nutrition. We offer patients nutritional analysis allowing us to make specific vitamin, mineral, herbal, diet and nutritional recommendations. Who better to talk to about nutrition than your doctor? We may also recommend supportive products to assist in maintaining proper posture and body mechanics. These may include custom-made orthotics, cervical pillows, neck, mid or low back supports, home rehabilitation units or simple home exercises.

Most insurance plans cover chiropractic to some degree. However, some insurance plans, such as HMOs, are only designed to cover drugs and surgery. At Jeff Tirsch Chiropractic, we have various financial plans that make it very affordable for you to get the care you need. Our office policy is that we never turn anyone away based on their inability to pay. If we feel you are sincere about your health, we will work with your budget so that your condition may be restored to normal without resorting to more expensive, and possibly less effective, drugs and surgery.

Chiropractic treatment is designed to be used for any bone, muscle or joint in the human body. Most chiropractors treat from feet and ankle problems to chest and shoulder problems very effectively. Chiropractors are primarily specialists of the spine. Other joints of the body could be the cause of or related to a spinal problem.

Many people simply choose to just get out of pain for the moment. Our techniques and policies certainly allow you to do that. However, if you want to get your problem fixed on a permanent basis, it will probably take more time and commitment on your part, depending on how severe and long-standing your condition is. At Jeff Tirsch Chiropractic, we make the greatest effort to inform you of all your options, so that you can make a more educated and informed decision with your health. After all, it's your health and your money. You make the ultimate decision of how long and to what extent you will benefit from chiropractic care.

Chiropractic care is the safest way to treat your pain.