Active Treatment Strategies
Improve Patient Outcome & Clinic Profits
Building a profitable practice takes the right equipment, skills and a commitment to excellence. Certainly central to that is a clear, results-oriented treatment strategy. Spinal adjusting and passive modalities are ubiquitous in chiropractic. Decompression/traction is also becoming a staple of passive care. However, exercise and specific movement therapy is fast becoming a major player in many forward thinking clinics…as the emphasis shifts to an active model of care.
Active treatment methods should, ideally, be integrated with passive care. A substantial result over a wide range of conditions is no longer an option but a necessity. Competition and managed care necessitates it. We all are faced with the daunting task of getting our patients better faster…and certainly faster than the doctor (or therapist) down the street! The mind-set of today’s forward thinking clinicians is to develop patient wellness strategies that are active, functional and leading to a patient self care plan. We can no longer wait weeks to get them actively engaged in functional activities—our personal and collective reputations are at stake as well as our bottom lines!
We are all faced with trying to stay ahead of changing healthcare trends. My practice has evolved to provide treatments that compliment the philosophy you-grow-or-you-die! I use a new and very effective device called an ATM2 (Active Therapeutic Movement). This type of treatment enlarges the scope of my practice and is an ideal transition treatment method from passive to active care. An Active Rehabilitation Suite with the ATM2 affords dramatic outcome and profit opportunities. The ATM2 creates an ideal dovetail for active relief and transition to real, substantial exercise. It is unique in the world of physical medicine.
A highly researched concept in physical medicine suggests, IF a painful range-of-motion (a movement impairment) can be made painless (through positional fixation, compression and/or support), the central nervous system (CNS) can, and normally will, improve or optimize muscle activation patterns, i.e., the pattern or sequence of contraction it uses to create vertebral motion. (If the activation is less than optimal, untenable compression or tension on innervated tissues results in pain.) The Active Therapeutic Movement technique and ATM2 system that I use is actually a vertical treatment table with three sets of belts. Using these specialized external stabilization belts, I can safely position patients and comfortably compress and fixate specific body areas. In a matter of minutes, painful movements (impairments) become completely pain-free. Once the movement is pain-free, a near isometric (safe-range) resistance exercise is incorporated. This substantial exercise into the once painful direction ultimately provides substantial rehabilitation of the motion impairment. Theoretically, the resistance exercise forces the CNS to memorize a more idealized (and pain-free) muscle activation sequence. The ATM2 treatments are done in the upright, full weight bearing position, fostering lasting changes both anatomically and neurologically. Within minutes, patients are moving pain-free. It is quite extraordinary and I have yet to find any treatment which replicates its results.
This Active treatment method and the impressive results it provides have changed my practice for the better. Many of us use active rehab in our practices. However, most simply use a therapy ball and resistance-bands—things that require substantial pain relief before they are tolerated. In my mind, if we are to compete with the “therapist down the street,” we must offer our patients more. And, realistically, we must offer therapies and treatment methods that are substantial, functional and provide immediate positive feedback to the patient.
This active treatment rehabilitation involves surprisingly little time (most patients, five to eight minutes) but creates consistent and immediate pain relief in many instances. And, unlike previous PT methods demanding sometimes years of study (and two or more assistants bracing and compressing the patient into position), the ATM2 technique affords a clinician the opportunity to simply, safely (and with virtually no learning curve) attain these results without an assistant. If you have staff, as I do, this method can be taught quickly and easily. (There is further training on-line and via DVD as well).
At our clinics, the patient is qualified for the therapy, safely positioned and participating in these pain-free therapeutic motions within minutes, gaining substantial relief and substantial therapeutic benefit unavailable anywhere else. An additional clinician benefit is the strain reduction on your own back. Less bending over, lifting and rotating—lengthening your own career! Not to mention the ease of treating those very large or very de-conditioned patients who have not exercised for many years. ATM2 affords many patients the opportunity to start beneficial therapeutic movements on the very first visit, in both chronic and acute conditions.
I have developed a specific patient protocol for combining Active Therapeutic Movement with Decompression therapy (a favorite treatment of mine). Combining modalities and adjusting is also very practical. And keep in mind that the ATM2 is an excellent and very reliable self-prognosticator. If a patient CANNOT be set up completely pain-free, they are not, at that time, an ATM2 patient. This is extremely powerful in reducing the potential of negative or less than desirable outcomes and in reducing your liability, as well as channeling a patient to the best intervention at that time. And, since the response to a treatment is immediate, athletes and fitness enthusiasts are continually captivated by the active relief of an ATM2 treatment. They often will comment that they feel lighter or taller. This would seem congruent to muscle activation or muscle selection patterns being improved by the CNS, thereby re-organizing the most specific or appropriate muscles, optimally selected to do the majority of the workload.
I hope you will take the time to investigate for yourself the distinct and powerful clinical advantages of using active treatment strategies that are possible with Active Therapeutic Movements and the ATM2. I believe it will improve your marketability as you provide a more eclectic treatment offering, including an active treatment component, and have a dramatic effect on your patient outcomes, your clinical confidence and your bottom line profits.
Dr. Jay Kennedy is a Palmer Graduate and has been in both a private & MD/DC practice in Berlin PA. for 18 years. He lectures throughout the United States on decompression and rehabilitation procedures and has successfully utilized the ATM2 treatment in his clinics for several years, creating a classification system which utilizes patient-specific conditions and as that relates to treatments with traction/modalities/adjusting & the ATM2. He is also a clinical consultant and product designer for a major physical medicine manufacturer.