Do you ever feel like you are having an identity crisis? I feel that way every day. One would think in my line of work, explaining what I do would be easy for people to understand.
Unfortunately for Copper & I (and our staff), explaining what I do is not easy. In my head, I help people overcome pain and return to activity. You see, very rarely do people just come in and ask me to look at them and help them to keep moving well. More often that not, someone is experiencing pain and the pain is preventing them from doing something or doing something at the level they’d like. Having trouble with….Tennis? Sleep? CrossFit? Run? Lifting grandkids? Sit/drive? Yeah, I help with all of that are more. You don’t even have to be a high level athlete to work with me.
So how do I help people overcome pain? I have been trained and certified in a lot of different modalities:
- Spinal & Joint Manipulation
- Active Release Technique (ART)
- Dry Needling
- Kinesiology Taping
- Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Manipulation (aka tissue scrapping)
I use some or all of these modalities to create a temporary relief in pain and improve range of motion. Researchers would call this a neurophysiological ‘window’. How long does the ‘window’ stay open? Depends on the severity of injury and if you do the exercises prescribed and avoid the activities that aggravate the condition. For example, someone with lower back pain, I may tell to avoid sitting for extended periods of time, avoid heat and avoid bending at the waist. These restrictions would be temporary until we get the pain levels down. Then we safely return the restricted activities. Strengthening the area so future episodes of back pain are avoided is also very important and a part of all treatment plans.
So where does my identity crisis part come in? The ‘crisis’ is around my licensure and credentials and ones pre-conceived ideas about what someone with my credentials does. If you think I am just a chiropractor, then you think I manipulate. Some people don’t want to be manipulated or dislike chiropractors. If you think I am a strength and conditioning specialist, then you think I make you exercise. If you think I am a researcher, teacher and writer, than you think I hang out in an ivory tower on a campus near you. If you think I hang out on a sideline and help injured athletes during competition, then you think of me as an athletic trainer. I am none of these in isolation and all of these as a unique treatment option for non-surgical musculoskeletal conditions. Thus an identity issue.
Instead just thinking of me as a credential (chiropractor, athletic trainer, strength coach), I’d prefer you think of me as someone who cares, has empathy for my patients and uses over 20 years of experience, education & training to help people overcome pain and return to activities. In the end it doesn’t matter what modality or technique I use as long as you get the outcome you are looking for- in the time period you would expect. I am warning you though…I have a huge bias toward using exercise as a means to improve your bodies capacity to tolerate the demands you are asking of it. Does that make me a physical therapist? No. That’s a credential I haven’t pursued…yet. : )
Ed Le Cara, DC, PhD, MBA, ATC, CSCS
Board Certified in Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation
Co-owner, Body Lounge Park Cities