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Q&A with Dr. Michael Aho

1) What would be the things to look for in researching doctors? And for our readers who are looking for better chiropractic care, what are good tips for finding the right doctor for specific conditions and problems?

Ideally you would find a chiropractor that your friends, doctor, or family has had success with and then check online reviews. When researching doctors, you can also check out their website to get an idea of what kind of office they have and what type of experience to expect.

Chiropractic care includes a wide variety of treatment styles. One of the biggest variables is the type of treatment the doctor uses and what additional services the office offers. If you do not like the idea of manual adjustments, or treatments that produce a click or popping noise, you should find an office that offers low force techniques. If you want massage therapy or want to learn stretches, you should make sure the office performs those services.

Most offices commonly treat neck, midback, and low back pain. If you have a specific shoulder, knee, or foot problem, you may want to find a doctor that frequently treats those issues. If you are pregnant, you want to choose a chiropractor that has experience working with pregnant women. You can always call the office and confirm that they offer the services you are interested in.

2) What techniques do you specialize in- and which one do you prefer and why?

Our doctors went to Palmer College of Chiropractic and use both traditional and low forces techniques including Palmer Package, Flexion-Distraction, and soft tissue methods. Additionally, both doctors are Certified Chiropractic Extremity Practitioners (CCEP). The program is post graduate studies that emphasize the role of the shoulder, hip, knee, and feet when treating common conditions of the body and spine.

We do not have a preference on which technique we use because it is more important to us to see great results. Not every condition is the same, so treatment should be customized to the patient’s needs. Years of experience has helped us understand the condition should dictate the treatment used.

We have found Flexion-Distraction to be one of the best techniques for disc issues such as degenerative disc disease, while a low force treatment like the Activator Method works best with a patient with severe arthritis or osteoporosis.

We have also learned that you can never judge a book by its cover! We have seen petite women that respond best with traditional treatments and 300 pound men that do best with a very light touch!

3) Have you written articles or books about chiropractic medicine- if so, please specify?

We produce blog articles that can provide helpful information about common issues like chronic pain management. Managing your condition at home can seem overwhelming! We also try to provide resources for homecare instructions such as customized stretches and strengthening exercises that can be watched on your computer or cellphone. The more resources you have, the better the long-term outcomes are!

4) What are the pitfalls patients should avoid when undergoing chiropractic care—in other words, how can they benefit most by going to a chiropractor?

One pitfall of chiropractic is that it cannot fix everything! No treatment is 100% effective for all cases. One of the worst things people do before beginning treatment is waiting too long before starting treatment. Severe pain can often be helped; however, you have a better chance of success when symptoms are more moderate. If you are already having severe pain, a trial of care is helpful to determine if treatment is going to benefit you or if a referral is needed.

The other pitfall of chiropractic care is that treatment sometimes causes temporary increased soreness. We are working on areas of the body that are in pain, may have had issues for decades, and are often inflamed. We explain to our patients that we are essentially “poking at a beehive.” A good chiropractor has experience managing complicated conditions and minimizing flare-ups. It is also important for the patient to be compliant with icing instructions and their treatment plan to maximize results.

In short, you will have the most benefit from care if you do not wait too long before starting treatment, and are consistent with your treatment. You should not expect instant results and may experience some soreness. Soreness is usually comparable to the soreness you may feel after a workout and generally responds well to ice. You should have an idea of how your treatment is going after one or two weeks of care.

 Chiropractic can really increase your quality of life. Increasing function and decreasing pain is important. Many people get used to being in chronic pain, however, pain is not a normal part of the aging process. Using chiropractic care to manage conditions that occur from sleep, stress, and work can really make a difference in your quality of living.

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