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For more information about chiropractic treatment, contact:

John Ballam, DC

201 Davis Grove Circle, #106
Cary, NC 27519
Telephone: (919) 363-2277

First Pain Relief, Then Healing

Without exception, patients come to Legacy Chiropractic in Cary because something hurts. Pain is a strong and principal motivator for seeking treatment, says Legacy owner, Dr. John Ballam, “but it’s important to note that pain relief and healing are not the same thing.”

Using X-ray, Dr. Ballam was able to show Frank
the source of his low-back pain. A combination of misalignments in his pelvis, lumbar, and neck
created this episode of severe pain. Fixing these
areas in the correct order was the key to finding
relief and avoiding future episodes of back pain.
Now Frank is back to enjoying life

Pain certainly tells you something’s wrong, says Dr. Bal-lam, “but it doesn’t always tell you what is wrong. And that can be true even with acute pain resulting from an accident. When a patient presents with acute pain, of course our first objective is to provide relief. But we also want to un-derstand the source of the pain—the structural issues that caused or contributed to the patient’s painful condition.

“Too often, treatment begins and ends with treating the patient’s acute pain—often with medication. I’m always amazed, for example, by how many over-the-counter pain meds there are on the market—medications that many patients take daily. Seeking relief, they believe they are in fact addressing their pain issue, when in reality they are in most instances just masking its causes.

Relieving Pain and Healing the Source

An A patient we’ll call Frank has found profound relief in work-ing with Dr. Ballam to precisely identify and correct the source of his back pain.

“I’m an active 56-years-old,” Frank notes, “and I was at the YMCA taking a class and jumped on one of those small exercise balls. When I did that, I felt a twinge in my back but I continued with my exercise routine.

“The twinge got more intense. I went to the sauna thinking that would help, but by the time I left, I was feeling light-headed and then passed out, falling backward and hitting my head on a cement wall. I went to the hospital where staff conducted a series of tests, and the pain in my lower back was causing me to pass out. They sent me home with pain medication.

“I knew Dr. Ballam socially and went to see him professionally, and was introduced to the whole con-cept of the Gonstead Method. I was still in pain when I first went to see him, but in two visits I was pain-free and still am today.”

“That’s a lot like taking the battery out of the smoke detector because the annoying beep was bothering you. Removing the battery won’t put a fire out, it just turns off the smoke detector. Similarly, medications will ‘turn off’ the pain; and they certainly can help in a crisis. But, ultimately, they don’t put the fire out.”

Underlying Issues

Chiropractic treatment, as practiced by Dr. Ballam, attempts to fix the problem at its source, by addressing underlying issues. “The biggest misunderstanding in health care is that ‘if I feel good, I must be healthy,’ while in truth, many conditions such as heart disease or cancer are symptom-free until reaching advanced stages.

“I always caution a patient to never ignore symptoms. Pain, actually, is a blessing in disguise, alerting you that something is not right. You can mask it or—a better choice—you can fix the underlying issue. Doing it sooner, rather than later, will always produce the best results. Most people like a quick and easy fix, but some of the most important things take time to do well.”

The main issue for both acute and chronic pain, explains Dr. Ballam, “is to get to the source of the problem and try to get it under control as quickly as possible. And, at that point, my goal is to help the patient understand that their pain is part of a chronic, long-standing problem, when that is the case.”
In fact, notes the doctor, one of the biggest challenges a chiropractor faces is building rapport with the patient so that they are willing to go beyond short-term pain relief, and to continue care so that underlying issues can be addressed.

“When I show my patients their X-rays, and explain the details of what they are viewing, most realize that they will benefit from continuing care until issues are resolved. Bone spurs, degeneration, the health of their spine—all are really quite evident on an X-ray. This helps me explain that what has happened now—the acute problem that brought them in—is a symptom of a process that began a long time ago. Typically, pain, with treatment, is the first symptom that goes away, but to really fix the structural problem takes a lot more time, and that’s the challenge.”

Dr. Ballam uses the Gonstead Method of chiropractic care, a scientific and analytical approach to looking at the spine, as a guiding practice. This method involves a series of examinations—including a full spine X-ray and NervoScope assessment of inflammation—that provide doctor and patient with a clear and detailed picture of the spine and any structural issues causing problems.

Cause and Effect: The Source of Pain Is Not Always Obvious

“Not every case of neck pain is a neck problem,” explains Dr. Ballam, “so that’s where our comprehensive analysis is key. If a patient presents with neck pain, we’ll look at their neck, their mid-back, their low-back, their pelvis, and even all the way down to the floor—the way they’re standing and the position of their feet. We want to examine the whole interrelated system, not just isolated segments of their spine.”

And there’s a reason for this approach, he explains: “I once had a patient who was having neck pain and numbness in her hands. Her physician, after a careful examination, recommended neck surgery. However—based on her X-rays and history—it was clear that her ‘neck problem’ was actually more of a hip issue. I didn’t do any neck treatments, but just addressed the hip, and her neck pain resolved over several weeks of treatment. Prior to that, she was never aware that she had a misaligned hip.”

Surprising Treatments for Pain

“Back and neck pain, as well as headaches, are among conditions we treat with consistent success, often finding that the point of pain and the point of treatment are different,” notes the doctor.

“Ear infections are another of those surprising issues that we can treat,” Dr. Ballam adds. “Kids have eustachian tubes that are nearly horizontal, and as their face grows and elongates, these tubes end up angling downward; if the top bone of the neck is misaligned, it can put mechanical pressure against the eustachian tube to prevent drainage.

“We can adjust children if their eustachian tubes are misaligned. The ear starts to drain, providing instant relief and comfort. Alignment also prevents this from becoming a recurring issue.”