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How Health Care Should Work

Satori’s outstanding Osteopath, Katherine Liberatore, said to me the other day, “I like working with you because you are so open”. This was said while I was applying Laser Therapy to her strained quad muscle. Having seen the dramatic results of Laser Therapy on a torn biceps muscle (see last week’s blog), Katherine elected for some Laser to her sore hip. What she meant by ‘open’ is that it is encouraging that a chiropractor and an osteopath can work side-by-side (figuratively and literally: our treatment rooms are beside each other). Despite some obvious overlap between our therapies, Katherine and I co-exist at Satori Urban Wellness for the betterment of our patients.

Her comment was in reflection of a patient encounter we shared earlier that day. A new patient had come to see me with a six-month-old wrist injury. She hurt the wrist pushing a heavy piece of furniture. No obvious indication how the wrist was injured, but it became very painful immediately following the furniture move. No broken bones, just pain. She sought out a chiropractor who attempted to help but his treatment made no difference to her pain and limited mobility. Six months passed, with varying degrees of pain and limited wrist range of motion, until she was referred to me by her family doctor.

I carefully examined her wrist using the standard wrist tests and compared it to her healthy wrist. It was obvious that the wrist had some instability and a noticeable bump in certain positions. Following her first visit, I consulted with Katherine about possible diagnoses for this wrist complaint. Various mechanical considerations crossed my mind: Distal radio-ulnar instability due to wrist ligament damage and a subluxated lunate (a small carpal bone of the wrist) were at the top of my list. Katherine agreed, having not examined the patient herself. A second treatment, incorporating Laser Therapy, Kinesio-Tape, and manual therapy proved only mildly successful. Time for more consultation, I thought. This time, Valerie (RMT) and Katrine (RMT & osteo-in-training) were around the office to consult. Having had previous clinical experience with a ganglion cyst, Katrine suggested this as an alternative diagnosis. Katrine then asked a few questions and then concluded that it must be a ganglion cyst. Having personal experience with a ganglion cyst on her wrist, Val also suggested this as an alternative diagnosis. Enough consultation. Time to research ganglion cysts of the wrist. Lesson learned. It might definitely be a ganglion cyst. Time for a second opinion. I referred my patient to Katherine so a second set of hands and eyes can evaluate this wrist. Katherine agreed that a cyst is likely, although there is carpal and metacarpal bone instability as well. Perhaps years of flute-playing had led to a latent wrist problem that became aggravated during the furniture move. Next step: We referred the patient back to her family physician for a diagnostic ultrasound to confirm the presence of the ganglion cyst. When confirmed, she will have a couple options: drain the cyst with a needle, or ignore the cyst but continue to improve wrist function and pain via manual therapy.

This is how healthcare and wellness care should operate. In just a short period of time (1 – 2 weeks), the chiropractor (myself), osteopath, and two massage therapists collaborated on diagnosing a wrist injury that had been present for six months and missed by a different chiropractor and family physician.

Many points can be made about this story. The one I choose to highlight is the collaborative nature of the Satori therapy team. Not one ego in the bunch – just a team of complementary medicine therapists striving to improve each and every patient’s life. Had I been working in an office by myself, I may never have reached the diagnosis. Being part of the Satori team ensures excellent care, no matter which therapist you start with. Many patients start with massage therapy – for various reasons – and end up benefitting from chiropractic care or naturopathy. And, in turn, many chiropractic patients see synergistic results with massage therapy. And, as this story highlights, even if you start with chiropractic, I may feel that the osteopath is a better fit for you clinically, and vice-versa.

The bottom line is your health is our priority.

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