Designating Chiropractors as an Essential Service

Throughout the COVID-19 epidemic, we’re all figuring out new ways to blend necessary chores with working remotely while being quarantined inside our homes. The Pacific Northwest’s erratic spring weather makes getting out for even simple exercise tricky and that can exacerbate physical stiffness and pain. With this in mind, the Washington State Chiropractic Association (WSCA) worked to have chiropractors, like Dr. Chani Henderson at Vancouver’s Family & Sports Chiropractic Clinic, deemed an essential service.

Officials from the WSCA explain that “Most chiropractic patients present with musculoskeletal conditions, and many do not have primary care physicians. Without their preferred healthcare providers, those patients will either compound the burden on emergency facilities, or they will attempt to treat themselves. Self-diagnosis and treatment are dangerous even in the absence of a public health emergency, and even more so now. Chiropractors are uniquely situated to address these and other cases.”

They are calling on chiropractors to stay open and see patients while remaining within federal and regional health guidelines. During a visit, “They should perform a differential diagnosis on every patient, not only evaluating them for the condition they present with, but also for potential infection. Patients who are already symptomatic should stay home. All patients should be instructed to wait in their vehicles until called into the office. Adjusting tables and equipment should be sanitized after seeing each patient. They should use personal protective equipment and check every patient’s temperature.”

More than that, they should continue to care for the whole person. “As portal of entry providers, chiropractors must assess the whole patient and determine what care they need, even if it isn’t chiropractic. Patients should be treated as needed, but urgent cases should be prioritized. State health officials have not restricted chiropractic during this outbreak because the profession is essential to the emergency response. The WSCA urges all chiropractors to continue their work as long as they are safely able to do so. Together, our community will get through this and the WSCA will be there, helping chiropractors help patients.”

Chiropractors are ideal at getting to the root of chronic pain, headaches, joint and balance issues, and age-related mobility concerns. These not only influence day-to-day activities but our mental and emotional outlook. Ongoing issues that cause pain can impact our relationships and work life…especially if we’re quarantined under the same roof for weeks.

The CDC reports that “An estimated 20.4% (50.0 million) of U.S. adults had chronic pain…Chronic pain, one of the most common reasons adults seek medical care, has been linked to restrictions in mobility and daily activities, dependence on opioids, anxiety and depression, and poor perceived health or reduced quality of life.” For some individuals, regular chiropractic care can alleviate such pain and reduce or eliminate the need for medication.

Medication often masks the underlying issue instead of providing a permanent solution. It can also make things worse in the long run. By dampening pain sensations, some patients continue to be active when they should be resting a damaged joint, tendon, or ligament. Others can become addicted to increasingly stronger doses of prescription medicine or even seek illegal opioids instead.

“In 2018, Washington providers wrote 49.3 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons,” says the National Institute on Drug Abuse. They report that “In Washington, an estimated 63% of drug overdose deaths involved opioids in 2018” and nearly half were from prescription medication. If a visit to the chiropractor could reduce even a fraction of those prescriptions, it’s well worth trying.

This approach, says the WSCA, is part of what makes chiropractic care so special. “Doctors of Chiropractic are physicians who consider man as an integrated being and give special attention to the physiological and biochemical aspects including structural, spinal, musculoskeletal, neurological, vascular, nutritional, emotional, and environmental relationships…Chiropractic is a drug-free, non-surgical science and, as such, does not include pharmaceuticals or incisive surgery.”

If you’re dealing with sore muscles, tension headaches, back and neck pain, or other issues, give the office a call at 360-254-0400.

“We’re still open during Washington’s Stay Home Order,” says Dr. Henderson. “Chiropractic offices have been labeled essential businesses and we are here to help alleviate overcrowding in our local hospitals and urgent care clinics. We’re taking new clients and, of course, doing all we can to keep our space clean and sanitized.”

No-one knows when things will return to normal or what the new normal will be. Don’t let pain erode your patience, efficiency, or attitude: schedule a visit today.