When Dr. Stephen Ball opened his chiropractic clinic 22 years ago, the primary diagnostic tool to measure range of motion was something he called the party hat.
“It would be placed on my patient’s head and it would provide a measurement for neck range of motion,” he says. “Now we have much more sophisticated computer-based diagnostic tools that put a real number on the diagnosis and help patients see real numbers associated with their results.”
In your first visit to Ball Chiropractic Center you probably won’t try on the party hat, but you will get a better picture of your overall health. The Surface EMG test, for example, uses two painless probes to measure how hard your muscles are working; muscle spasm is a common reaction to spine-related problems.
“It’s useful to demonstrate to patients how it works by measuring muscle activity while they make a fist. They watch the line on the screen go up and come back down. Then we measure muscles on the spine where they’re experiencing pain and they’ll say ‘gosh, look at all those big red lines,’” Ball says. “We’ll return to the test after treatment and they’re able to see that the lines have settled down, along with their symptoms.”
The latest technology and now the standard of care
Before Ball earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree he was working as a Physical Therapy assistant. When he injured his back helping stroke patients with rehabilitation, treatment by a chiropractor not only healed his spine, it sparked a career change.
“If you have a spine, someone should check it,” he says, and he’s not joking. “I have the most fun when someone comes in and says ‘I’m not hurting now, but I want to make sure I stay on top of things.”
He also has fun when someone skeptical of chiropractic medicine is quickly taken from discomfort to relief, and their world view shifts.
“A lot of the diagnostic advances have been driven by the insurance industry who want objective findings and objective improvement, but they also help my patients see their progress,” Ball says. “It allows me to spend more time connecting to and treating patients.”
Thanks to his background in physical therapy, Ball’s practice incorporates a lot of therapeutic exercise as well as musculoskeletal manipulations.
“My patients get homework, and I expect them to keep up with it!” he says, though he’s equally willing to do his own homework to provide attorneys and insurance adjusters with the concrete data to support his patients’ treatment.
Motor vehicle accident? Chronic headaches? Neck or lower back pain? General health and wellness? Find Ball Chiropractic Center at 1717 S 324th St. B in Federal Way. Request an appointment online at ballchiropracticcenter.com or call 253-838-6909.