Ice is Cold

December 21, 2008

Here in the northeast, we are getting buried by snow. Not only is there a ton of snow on the ground but the forecast is for temps in the low teens.

Patients in my office are getting a double dose of cold, for we ice most of out patients after they get adjusted and stretched. People always ask, why ice and not heat.

If we look at basic first aid, everyone is taught the RICE principle when injuring an area. R stands for rest; I for ice, C for compression, and E for elevation. This principle is typically applied for the first 48 hours and then heat should be applied.

Now for an extremity this is great advice, however, for the spine I believe that it is best to stick with ice and ice only, please let me explain why.

When you examine a spine you will see nerves coming out of each side of the spine. These nerve roots pass through two small holes called foramen. When your spine misaligns, swelling is present in those holes, placing pressure on the nerve roots that exit them. We know through studies that pressure on the nerve roots causes the nerves to function less than optimally. This pressure could easily cause pain, numbness, tingling etc,.

If we don’t reduce this inflammation, the nerves never get a chance to work to their potential and you never get a chance to feel as good as you deserve.

Next time it is below freezing outside and even colder in my office you will know that at least the cold in the office is trying to accomplish something!


Are Insurance Companies Penny Smart

December 4, 2008

I recently had a patient hurt himself.  He called me for an exam and possible treatment, however, was dismayed to hear that his insurance would not cover the visits.  Since he was in a considerable amount of pain, he went to the ER, his primary care physician and a specialist.  Total cost of all those visits:  over $9,000.

One week after seeing all his docs, he was no better.  At this point he came into the office, we agreed on a fee, and got to work on getting him better.  After his first visit he was 75% better, leaving the office stating that he had not been able to breathe this well in a few weeks.  By the third visit the patient was released from care 100% better.

Total cost to the insurance company would have been less than $300.  Most health insurance companies put huge restrictions on chiropractic care.  Yet they will gladly pay and pay and pay when a patient goes into a hopsital or doctors office for diagnostic tests.

Imagine the money saved if 60,000 chiropractors had this type of case 3 times per week.  $4,700 x 3= 14,100 dollars per chiropractor per week.  Now take the roughly 60,000 chiropractic offices in the country and the number jumps to $846 million per year.  Not a bad number.

I often ask patients how many insurance companies they have had over the last 10 years.  It is not unusual for that number to be 5, 6 or even 10.  I then ask them how many spines they have had in that time period.  Of course the answer is 1.

You only have one body, it is not up to the insurance company to take care of it.  If you don’t have insurance or your coverage is very limited, please talk to your chiropractor if fees are a concern.  You may be surprised at what he or she has to offer.