Unfortunately, pain is a part of life and when you experience pain there are a number of ways you can go about treating it. Here is a brief guide to the most popular professionals we visit for pain relief, with pros and cons of each. Obviously I am biased,
but I have tried to keep this as objective as possible to give you a valuable overview of your options.
PAIN MANAGEMENT CHOICES
Option #1. Go To The ER
1. By going to an emergency facility, you may be able to be seen immediately.
2. You will get an exam and/or diagnostic tests x-ray/MRI to determine if you have any broken bones, torn muscles or ligaments.
3. There is also the possibility of getting meds or an injection to reduce pain, however very rarely does this give you a solution to your condition.
1. Although you can theoretically be seen right away, emergency rooms often experience very long wait times. One to five hours of waiting is common depending upon the number and seriousness of patients presenting that day.
2. Generally, you will be referred to another doctor for follow up care. The doctors in the emergency facility are rarely sports oriented and geared towards moving you towards your goal.
3. The pain meds will mask the symptoms and not allow you to feel the pain. This creates the possibility of you doing something you would not do if you felt the pain causing more injury to yourself.
Option #2: Visit your GP
1. Generally you can be seen within a short period of time, 1-5 days.
2. By going to your GP, you get to be seen by a professional that knows you and is familiar with your history. They can evaluate you to determine if there is any need for emergency care and make the referral for further testing if necessary.
1. Most GP’s are not experts on sports type injuries. They generally do not treat these conditions and will end up referring you to an orthopedist, to better evaluate your injury. This can waste more time and more money in your attempt to get back to your training.
Option #3: Go To an Orthopedist
1. An orthopedist is an expert on broken bones, torn muscles and torn ligaments. They can reduce fractures and cast them. They can surgically repair torn ligaments and tendons if necessary.
2. Often if this is not the case, and there is a strain, sprain, and/or change in function, they will recommend PT or Chiropractic.
1. Because they are experts at severe injuries like broken bones, torn ligaments or muscles they use immobilization as care. They are not experts on the structural function aspects of these injuries, unless you go to a sports orthopedist. Those that are sports oriented have a PT or Chiropractor that they will refer you to for follow up care.
Option #4: Go To a Sport Centered Chiropractor
1. Generally you can go to a chiropractor to be evaluated within 24 hours.
2. Most offices have x-ray equipment to rule out fracture and can assess the structure and integrity of the affected area.
3. If you go to a sports oriented chiropractor they can determine the extent of your injury, and often find out what caused the injury to occur by assessing your structure and function.
1. Full permanent casting does not happen at a chiropractic office.
2. As a profession chiropractic chooses not to prescribe medication. Meds are mostly viewed as a vehicle to cover up symptoms and not as a fix of the problem. If the check engine light went on in your car, taking meds is like covering the light with tape. If you continued to drive the car, there is a great chance you will damage the engine more. What do you think would happen if you cover your symptoms with painkillers?
So which way do I go?
There is no simple answer to this question. Different people will have success with different approaches and no one approach is right for everyone.
Like I said I am obviously biased, and recommend a sports oriented chiropractor because it is extremely safe, all natural (no drugs or surgery) and the care creates no added scar tissue. The sports centered chiropractor is usually the easiest office to make the quickest appointment. Most offices have the preliminary diagnostic tests available and are likely to be able to care for the non-fracture injury immediately by providing a structural and functional solution to expedite healing.