What is physical medicine, you may ask? Physical medicine is a broader term used to describe techniques and modalities intended to affect the structure and physiology of (in this case) a person, thus their condition of health, through the manipulation of body tissues.
As a chiropractic physician based practice, RAD|clinic uses a variety of chiropractic adjusting techniques to improve the function of the body's spinal and extremity joints, as well as the associated proprioceptive system. The proprioceptive system is a network of nerve receptors that sense all things mechanical that are going on in their specific region of sensory scope. They assess things like angular acceleration, tissue stretch & tension, pressure, and relational movement. This information is then delivered to the brain for use in determining where the body and its constituent parts are in space and how they are relating / interacting with each other, as well as the world at large. Optimizing this information delivery to the brain allows for more appropriate (more stable, more accurate, more powerful, less painful) motor output.
The soft tissue component of the musical-skeletal system provides strength, stability, and locomotion to the skeleton and these components are not overlooked. Through injury; the repetitive stresses of poor movement patterns, poor posture, or being sedentary, the soft tissues carry much the burden of an ailing body. These muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia undergo changes based on these stresses placed upon them. The resulting asymmetries in length / tension relationships, adhesions, and altered movement pattern dynamics show up as tightness, weakness, and very often pain.
To address these issues, we use a variety of techniques such as manual myofascial release, instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM / Graston), and targeted stretching protocols.
Hopefully, you can see why RAD|clinic makes it a point to address both classes of tissue of the musical-skeletal system in our physical medicine protocols.
Class IV Laser Therapy
A lot of clinics use therapies. RAD|clinic only uses the ones that work. Light has some amazing properties. Various wavelengths of light (colors in the visible or invisible spectrum) have different effects on body tissues. Some cause us to produce vitamin D in the skin; some cause us to produce melanin in the skin. Yet others cause our pineal gland, centered in our brain like a little pea, to produce melatonin.
The wavelengths of light chosen for therapeutic lasers, different from those used in surgical lasers, are chosen because of their effects on mitochondria. These little organelles are the powerhouses of our cells, churning out ATP, which is the energy source that our cells use to perform their plethora of work tasks. These tasks include everything from structural growth and repair, to the production of chemicals, and even the transportation of certain nutrients from the blood into the cell.
The effect that these wavelengths of light, that the therapeutic lasers emit, have are to increase the metabolic rate of the mitochondria. So, what does this mean? The mitochondria within the area being dosed with the laser light get a boost and produce significantly more energy for use by those cells. This means that those high ATP (energy) use processes that are limited by available ATP can speed up their action. Healing happens to be one of those processes that is highly energy dependent, so speeds up.
End state... Class IV laser therapy is awesome. Less healing time. Less scar tissue build-up. Less pain. Less time out of the game.
If you haven't heard the term, you've likely seen the crazy looking tape on Olympians and professional athletes over the last 8 years or so. Kinesiology tape is a single direction stretch tape that, when applied appropriately, has some pretty great applications. This tape is very different from athletic tape in that it does not restrict movement, which is the main function of the white athletic tape that we've seen for decades. We tend to use kinesiology tape in RAD|clinic for two broad reasons, performance enhancement and rehabilitation.
Taping specific patterns, based on the athletic movements used, increases the proprioceptive barrage to the brain for those represented with the tape. This allows for increased stability and power output to those areas, thus to those movements. Endurance athletes face an additional factor that accelerates the rate at which their bodies fatigue. This is the rebounding effect that their muscles and other "softer" soft tissue encounter as they log in the miles. This bounce wastes energy and causes muscles to fatigue prematurely. Strategically applied kinesiology tape can leverage the elasticity of the tape to absorb the energy bleeding bounce and return much needed energy to working muscles.
Neurologic priming and enhanced fluid flow are the main characteristics of kinesiology tape that we exploit in rehabilitative applications. Most of what ails us are the latent effects of a life lived poorly. One of these great physical failures is postural in nature. We sit too much. We allow our general posture to be one of asymmetry and the effects are clear. When postural retraining is part of a treatment plan, the goal is to retrain motor patterns to an appropriate pattern and to engrain these heavily so that they become the default patterns. The tape works in two ways here. One, the additional proprioceptive feedback from the tape's action on the skin increases unconscious awareness of the area, cuing the muscles to fire more accurately. Two, the concept of neuroplasticity states (in short) that the neurological patterns used most often are the ones most easily used (a.k.a most heavily engrained). The increased proprioceptive input combined with the resultant increased motor output from the brain to the muscles equals a more heavily traveled neurological loop every time it fires.
Enhance fluid flow is very simple. Every time you move, with appropriately applied kinesiology tape, there is an alteration in pressure gradient under the skin. Alterations in pressure equals pumping action. One of the factors that slows healing is the stagnation and accumulation of fluids in an injured area. This is the swelling and bruising that is commonly seen at an injury site. When fluid accumulates outside of the vessels and cells, which always happens when the vessels and cells are damaged or ruptured, things get sluggish. Metabolic byproducts of normal cellular activity as well as those of the healing action cannot be whisked away by blood and lymph as easily. Along the same line, repair materials needed to facilitate healing are also delivered less swiftly. By applying a kinesiology taping pattern designed to increase drainage, both of these fluid flow based processes are accelerated.
What we put into our bodies literally becomes our bodies. More than that, it is also information. The food or fake food that we ingest is a stimulus, telling our DNA what sort of nutritional environment we are encountering. Our bodies respond to this with shifts in hormonal cascades, inflammatory mediators; production of blood and cellular chemicals that are our physiology.
The good news is that we have complete control over what stimulus we allow into our bodies as food. The bad news is that most people don't know what their food choices are actually saying to our DNA and mainstream media is far too rife with conflicts of interest and financial gain to give it to us straight.
A nutritional consultation at RAD|clinic cuts through the fluff and misinformation. Learn the decision making criteria that will put you on the food path to vibrancy and idealized health. Leave with a plan.
Lifestyle Medicine may be a made up RAD term but it is the apex form of medicine, the one that causes you to not need the others. Obviously, we are more than happy to help you through whatever set of circumstances have led you into RAD|clinic, however, the application of lifestyle medicine is the stuff that keeps you from needing to come back. Here we examine the factors drawing from your personal allostatic load and develop strategies and skills to mitigate them for the long term.
Some of these factors include:
The second opinion...
Having confidence that the course of care / path to recovery is the right one is extremely important. That seed of doubt, that feeling that you may be wasting your time and money or that you may not be doing the best thing to accelerate your healing is detrimental to the healing process in and of itself but also decreases adherence to the plan.
Dr. Cooper will review your history, testing, imaging, and care plan to determine the appropriateness of your prescribed course of care. He will provide you with an evaluation of your current course of care as well as insights and suggestions if areas are negligent.
Be confident that you are on the right path.