Would You Like Me to Patch it or Fix it?

By Dr. Bryen Brown

September 20, 2018

Houston, Texas, home of the Astros, Rockets, and screw music. Also home to some bad roads.

Most larger cities have terrible roads due to the repetitious patch work. Can you imagine rolling over concrete, asphalt, and dirt all at the same time. And I get it. Not only is it quicker and cheaper to just patch it up, it relieves a lot of stress on the people whose life is a little better when traffic is moving faster. What a relief……until when some time has gone by, you’re cruising, and BAM! your tire feels like it just fell into the Grand Canyon. And of course, it’s from that same spot they just patched up. Now you’re pricing a wheel because it bent when you hit the pothole.

This same decision occurs often when informing patients about the options they have when choosing care.

Most people who enter my office are looking for help because of some type of pain and patchwork doesn’t sound bad at the time. And I’m perfectly okay with that. My job is to help to feel better and help guide you to health with my education and experience as much as you allow me to. Believe me I get it. Pain (and traffic) can definitely be bad enough for you to ask for a quick patch job. It’s hard to focus on the long term care on this guy who literally crawled into office.

It’s your decision to make, but, choose wisely.

No one can really tell you what to do. They can recommend, ask, even demand, but you make the decision that you feel is best for you based on the information you are given, even when at a doctor’s office. You have to live with the consequences. These choices will guide your life whether down a smooth road or towards the bumpy ones.

In the daily patient interactions we recommend treatment that is designed to not only get you feeling better as fast as possible but also including care that is geared toward preventative care. Both options are presented for clarity so that your expectations are not mislead. The patch up care is considered temporary relief. That shouldn’t be confused with feeling pain relief and thinking its fixed. There are a lot of people who believe that just because pain is gone or that they don’t have symptoms, they are fixed. Interesting enough, this thought process is normal for a lot of people. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Usually, if there was no trauma that caused the pain acutely, the discomfort that is felt has gradually gotten worse over time. Often, there is a waiting period for weeks to months and sometimes years before a person decides to come in and get it taken care of. The most common reason someone will wait before they get their issues looked at is “high pain tolerance”. Having a high pain tolerance is not a good thing. It just means that you have had pain for so long that you have either damaged the nerves for such a long period of time that they don’t fire or respond how they should or that you have suffered so long you can ignore it now. Both can also happen together.

Having a high pain tolerance will eventually allow your body to deteriorate due to you ignoring a problem, even if it’s not terrible or a debilitating pain, it is wearing your body and mind down.

A patient came in once for lower back pain that he states was sharp and constant. When going through his consultation he revealed this has been an issue that has come and gone for 15 years after a car accident and has recently become unbearable. He would usually go to his former chiropractor for 2-3 visits, do some stretching, apply heat, and after a few days it would go away. This time around it did not happen that way. He also states he has a high pain tolerance and that he often feels it, it wasn’t terrible, and that he could usually deal with it. We went through the initial process and took some x-rays and when doing the analysis I found that he had degenerated enough for his vertebra to become fused, completely dissolving his disc. Due to him choosing to mostly ignoring and patch work instead of fixing the abnormalities in his back, he now has permanent arthritis in the spine that will constantly need to be maintained so it doesn’t get worse.

We spoke on all of his findings and it was explained that his issue needed to be fixed and all he’s been doing is patch work. I know hindsight is 20/20 but I told him it was very possible he could have been in a better place in regards to the spine if he 1) didn’t think that having a high pain tolerance and ignoring the issue was OK, 2) if he would have used his chiropractic care to fix his issue instead of patching it.

What are the pros and cons of patching up my spine?

With temporary relief care, the pros include getting out of pain and cheaper in short term. The cons are leaving yourself susceptible to future injury because you’re not really fixing it.  Although cheaper you’ll pay more in the long term if or when things get worse and require more serious treatment options.

Whats should I do?

The best option for care is both. Here at Core Chiropractic we focus on getting you short term relief at the beginning but also transitioning you to maintenance/preventative care after the pain or symptoms are mostly gone. Fixing the problem will take more time, of course, and more energy. The great thing is that the extra energy you put into it can add years to your life.  You can also add/save $$$ (dollars) to your bank account because you’re able to avoid surgery, work at a more efficient level, and enjoy vacations. There are no cons because you are building up the body every time you get adjusted even when there is no pain. Every treatment is an investment and when you invest in you, you reap the rewards.

Patchwork works in short term but fixing the problem is always the best option when associated with the body. You can only patch a road up so much until it eventually becomes the slowest and most damaging road in the city, one that you have to travel on for the rest of your life. Unfortunately this metaphor of a road is your body where it’s impossible to just move to a different street or take a detour.

Dr. Bryen Brown

About the author

Dr. Bryen Brown is married to Dawn and has one son. He grew up in Bogalusa, LA and received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Grambling State University in 2008. He then attended and graduated from Texas Chiropractic College in 2012. Click Here To Read Full Bio

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