It's Time to Get Active!
Historically, chiropractic practices have depended on manipulation, ultrasound, stim, and heat - in other words, passive care. Insurance carriers did not demand the rigid standards they do today to prove medical necessity. Patients loved to go to their chiropractor, lie on a comfy table, receive warm and tingly therapy, get adjusted, and have their insurance pay for it. That is no longer a possibility in today’s insurance-driven healthcare environment. However, your practice will benefit by complying with these stricter insurance standards; reimbursement will be higher, and your patients will receive better care.
Today’s practices must move the patient from passive care (which is always appropriate in the acute phase of treatment) to active care. It means creating a system that will take each patient on a journey with a clear beginning, middle, and eventual endpoint to care. Patients and insurance carriers alike want more active care plans, and carriers are willing to pay for this type of care. Because it aligns with the concept of improvement of function, rather than simply reducing pain, the payers see this as a reasonable adjunct to treatment.
The Importance of Active Therapy
Some patients ask about the importance of an active lifestyle, and rightly so because moderate exercise and weight training at least twice per week can reduce the risk of dying prematurely. You can help encourage them to increase their activity levels, especially if that starts in your office with an active therapy treatment plan. The doctor prescribes the treatment methods and their duration according to the patient’s condition and desired outcomes, and plays an active role in helping the patient work through their exercises
The positive effect of exercise on general health has been well-studied. While we work with patients and watch them progress from hurting to healing, we know that spinal conditions tend to heal better when active care is combined with other forms of treatment, including manipulation. Active care, like therapeutic exercises, involves active patient participation.
You can support this by encouraging patients to find motivation from both external sources and their internal drive.
Activity and Passivity
A continuum of therapies with varying degrees of activity or passivity is necessary. Progressing from the most passive to the most active treatment as quickly as possible is advisable. Bed rest is the most passive, progressing to medication, modalities, traction, chiropractic manipulation, increased activities of daily living, rehabilitative exercise, and finally to broad-based fitness.
While chiropractic may not be as active as broad-based fitness, it does set the patient’s ability to tolerate active care in motion. Chiropractic is not passive care; it is activating care, allowing patients to progress to higher levels of activity. Not only are chiropractic manipulations useful in removing barriers to active care, but they also work well in combination with active care and are often the missing link in other therapeutic strategies.
Active Care Progression
To facilitate the progression of a patient from passive to active care within a chiropractic practice, consider the use of the following six progressive components of chiropractic rehabilitation:
- educating patients about what caused their condition and how to prevent further injury
- joint and soft tissue manipulation
- stretching tight muscles
- strengthening weak or inhibited muscles
- functional rehabilitation, which may include proprioceptive/balance training
- restoration or introduction of a broad-based fitness program
A phased progression of active therapy and care provides the doctor and patient with a clear treatment plan to successfully reach their goals. This model of chiropractic rehabilitation is inherently understandable and measurable and moves the patient’s function through increasingly better action.
The secret to success is the system
The key to the proper integration of active care into a practice is to create a system that will evaluate each patient to identify their need for rehabilitation, what type is needed, and when that rehab is complete. At KMC University, we have a host of tools and resources that will do exactly these things, and more! Members can click here to learn more.
Not yet a member? Give us a call at 855-832-6562, and we’ll get you on the right track. It's time to get active!
Dr. Jess Brower is board certified by the American Chiropractic Rehabilitation Board, and a designated Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician® with an interest and expertise in the rehabilitation and functional restoration of spinal and extremity related injuries and conditions. He has been in private practice since 2010 upon graduation from Logan University.