Optimizing Primary Care With Chiropractic Collaboration
Chiropractic care collaborations with primary care providers give patients a unique assessment; one that takes into account the patients’ physical form and deviations from their individual norm.
Primary care encompasses a wide array of health services and does a fantastic job at prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Primary care often takes a mix of patient history, lab tests, and clinical reasoning to determine a medical intervention to bring back health and/or to eliminate symptoms. Chiropractic care focuses on the relationship between the body’s structure and its function. Chiropractic care is a philosophy, science and art; a system of adjusting the spine without the use of surgical means to correct areas with reduced coordination.
Chiropractors follow the philosophy that form follows function. This means structures are formed in direct correlation to what they are meant to do. Like primary care physicians, chiropractors are trained to observe, locate, diagnose, and treat.Chiropractors focus on dysfunction in the structures of the muscles, joints, fascia, tendons, and ligaments. Treatments typically consist of adjustments to the spine, other hands-on therapies, exercises, correcting breathing patterns, and making changes to the way we walk. Treatments may be aimed at restoring appropriate coordination between tissues and bones, with the goal of restoring function and homeostasis to the body.
Ideally, the goal of chiropractic care is to assist and encourage the body with its inborn capacity to heal. Research illustrates that chiropractic treatments benefit conditions in the musculoskeletal system, including the back, neck, headaches, arms, and legs. The ability of the chiropractor to diagnose and treat this system adds another layer of assessment to a primary care physicians’ diagnosis. Collaboration between a primary care physician and a chiropractor allows for treatment plans that incorporate both medical and chiropractic elements, are cost-effective, and patient-centered. Such collaboration also allows both providers to see the overall picture of the patient’s health, helps avoid unnecessary tests and procedures, and provides the first lines of defense against internal and musculoskeletal conditions, many of which require and respond best to such co-management. This is especially true when providers are co-located and using the same electronic health record.
While this integrative model is still in its infancy, and with opioid addictions a growing concern, primary care providers are recognizing the value of chiropractic techniques in pain management. When care is integrated, it allows for direct communication between primary care and chiropractic providers and results in optimum treatment plans. Many chiropractic patients find they are in less pain, have more energy throughout the day, are resting better, rely less on over-the-counter medicine, and feel better than they had prior to being part of an integrative approach to patient care.