When I was finishing chiropractic school and finally achieving a certain level of confidence in adjusting the spine, my attention went to the other joints in the body-the extremities. I never wanted a patient to come to me complaining about knee pain or hip pain or wrist pain if I was less than 100% confident that I could help them.
So I learned about extremity adjusting by taking the postgraduate CCEP program. It is a series of classes and training that addresses sports chiropractic issues. These are the injuries that can occur to the extremities either through a sports injury or through the day-to-day wear and tear of regular life. After the coursework and training, a candidate has to pass an exam in order to achieve the CCEP certification. This program is very similar to the CCSP (Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician) accreditation.
What I didn’t appreciate after I started practice was the extent to which so many patients have extremity complaints as secondary issues. Most people think of chiropractors as pretty much only taking care of neck pain and low back pain. So while I do get patients who come to me within extremity issues as their primary complaint, the vast majority have some type of spinal issue that is bringing them in door.
In most cases, it seems, they only mention their elbow pain or ankle pain when I start drilling down into all their complaints during the initial evaluation. The news that I can and will work on those extremity areas usually comes as a pleasant surprise to them-an added bonus that they had not anticipated.
For me, this is often one of the most satisfying parts of what I do. I suppose that most patients these days expect that they will go to the chiropractor with neck pain or low back pain and get better. I enjoy surprising them by being able to help other complaints they did not know could be addressed by a chiropractor.
The added bonus is that addressing those other extremity complaints makes the entire spine more stable and helps their neck and low back pain get better more quickly and stay more resilient.