During my time as a massage therapist I have discovered that not many people know much about chiropractic and some are actually apprehensive about trying it. So, in order to help put your mind at ease, I recently interviewed chiropractor Dr. Mike Polanski to get the inside scoop about chiropractic. Below you will find a series of questions I asked and Dr. Mike’s responses.
How do I know if I need a chiropractor?
We all get back pain after a long flight or working in the garden. That’s normal stiffness that doesn’t require a chiropractor, just rest and a hot pack. But if you’re feeling prolonged (more than a week) low back, neck or mid-back pain that isn’t getting better with rest, then Chiropractic is probably going to help you. If you’re getting severe symptoms (sharp pain, pins and needles, numbness) then it doesn’t make sense to wait a week and you should be seen sooner, (within three days).
How often should I go?
Every patient is different. I make my recommendations on frequency of treatments on a second visit. This way, I can see how you responded to care and what progress you made between first and second visit. In general, more severe cases are seen more frequently for a longer duration like three times per week for two to four weeks. After that I re-examine you and see if it makes sense to start tapering down your treatment frequency or continue as before.
Does it hurt?
Yes and no. I do soft tissue work like massage, stretching before and sometimes after an adjustment. This means that when I try to adjust you, I will need less force, it will be less painful, and the adjustment will hold for a longer period of time. But even massage can be painful. My rule of thumb is that your pain should not go above 4 on a 0-10 pain scale. If it does, then I need to reduce the amount of force I’m using. When you’re in the early stages of healing, it is common to be sore after a treatment for a day or two at most, as you would with a deep tissue massage.
What is Your specialty?
My specialty is working with pregnant women and small children. I’ve taken several seminars and have been certified for a long time to safely work on these unique groups. Pregnant women frequently will have low back pain and/or sciatica especially later on in pregnancy. I offer a drug-free treatment that is safe for mother and baby and very effective.
What about those people who say if u start to see a chiropractor you’ll become dependent on their services?
During the course of treatment, my patients start to feel amazing results and see how limited their lives were by the pain. They want to experience their life to the fullest and see what is possible with Chiropractic. I wouldn’t call it a dependency but an eye-opening experience.
When I first see a patient who has been suffering with low back pain for a very long time, my goal is to reduce and relieve their pain. Later the goal is to create stability in the back and prevent the recurrence of the problem. When the patient has recovered from the problem, I give them two options: come back if/when the problem comes back OR get adjusted one to two times a month. And then the patient decides what is a better fit for them.
Is it OK to crack my knuckles? Neck?
Generally yes, the old adage about arthritis in your knuckles was completely way off. When you get up and your back or neck cracks, you’re actually self-adjusting! That is a good thing.
Dr. Mike Polanski is the owner of Families First Chiropractic in Brooklyn, NY. To learn more about him and the work he does please click here.
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Have some questions of your own for the chiropractor? Submit them in the comments below. If there is enough interest we will do a follow up blog post!