Who can benefit from the Hesch Method?
Essentially anyone can benefit from Hesch Method, because we all experience injuries. Furthermore, people without any pain would benefit greatly from a preventive screen to address asymptomatic biomechanical dysfunction that has not yet become painful. This preventive care can enhance sports performance; and by reducing stress in the body may give a person more energy, mental focus, and a restored sense of movement fluidity. I am especially enthusiastic about treating acute injuries, because then more severe and chronic problems can be prevented.
Excellent candidates for Hesch Method include clients with joint pain, soft tissue pain, or nerve injuries involving joints such as foot, ankle, knee, hip, sacroliac, low back, upper back, neck, shoulder, elbow, and hand.
Conditions include but are not limited to:
Low back pain
Hip and knee pain
Shoulder and upper extremity pain
Foot and ankle pain
Peripartum and postpartum backache
Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
Post joint replacement surgery
Failed back syndrome
How many office visits are generally needed, before treatment with Hesch Method is completed and lasting results are achieved?
Typically, three visits will resolve chronic problems. Fewer visits may be required for acute problems. Severe injuries involving multiple regions of the body may require up to six visits.
For similar injuries, many clients are accustomed to seeing a practitioner on a regular basis over weeks or months. However, with the Hesch Method, this is generally not the case. I want to resolve the injury, and am tenacious in doing so. This is a different way of thinking which is empowering to the client. When a client's painful condition is efficiently addressed, there is less of a drain on time, money, and emotional well-being.
I do not use auxiliary staff. My entire approach is distinctly different from traditional approaches. As stated previously, some complex injuries by their very nature will require more than three visits; fortunately these are in the minority.
What can I expect on the first visit?
At the first visit you will receive a brief, full screening of all major regions of the body, followed by a highly focused examination of the symptomatic areas as well as asymptomatic problem areas. This will probably be the most thorough hands-on examination you will have ever received. It is based on orthopedic manual therapy principals, advanced kinesiology, neurology, anatomy and physiology.
Treatment is performed on the first visit. Treatment includes hands-on manipulation, mobilization, and soft tissue treatment. It also incorporates patient education in exercise, self-correction if needed, proper body mechanics, and prevention.
How is the Hesch Method able to pinpoint & correct problems within a limited number of visits?
Hesch Method is often helpful to end the cycle, for those who find themselves having to seek care for repeated spinal adjustments. Let's say that the patient's upper back is painful on the right. Treatment that only manipulates the painful joint may not achieve lasting results. Why is this true? The painful injury usually came about because, below or above it, there is another joint dysfunction that although not painful, is in fact related and sometimes causative. It is related because some of the most powerful reflexes in the body, are those that keep your eyes level and circulation to the brain equal on both sides. Therefore, a non-painful joint dysfunction on the left side, over time, will create a “setup” for a joint dysfunction on the opposite side. That is, the right side becomes vulnerable to injury. Hesch Method will treat both joints in order of cause and effect. Hence the underlying cause of the dysfunction and pain is removed. If only the painful area were treated, the injury would probably readily recur.
Another reason for a recurring injury on one side of the body, has to do with movement. Most injuries happen when someone bends forward, such as when picking up a box. If there is a painless restriction in the motion of a joint, the spine will bend to the side or twist slightly in order to progress the body forward. The top of that twist or side bend, on the opposite side, ultimately gets injured as a result of the initial joint restriction. When developing Hesch Method, I learned that when a muscle or joint dysfunction was difficult to resolve, I should look on the opposite side of the spine or body. Inevitably, the original cause would be encountered.
What results can I expect after treatment with Hesch Method?
Some clients will realize immediate benefit from Hesch Method. For other conditions, successful application of Hesch Method will facilitate the recovery process and reduce stress on the painful region. For example, if nerve damage is involved and the pressure is removed from the nerve, it is possible that the nerve will require a period of time to heal.
Most musculoskeletal conditions will respond to Hesch Method. However, sometimes an underlying disease process will limit the potential benefit, and/or require referral for other modalities of care. Evaluation of the musculoskeletal system using Hesch Method, provides very specific data and readily pinpoints issues. Therefore, if Hesch Method is not an appropriate treatment for the client, this can be determined with a single office visit. A progress letter will then be sent to the client's Physician, with specific recommendations.
What is an example of a successful treatment with Hesch Method?
An example would be a patient with persistent back pain and sciatica after three surgeries. Using Hesch Method, it was found that the client had a tipped pelvis leading to excessive lumbar lordosis. This causes compression of the facet joints, and reduces space where the spinal cord and nerve roots are housed. Hesch Method can improve the resting position of the pelvis. This in turn will create more space around the spinal cord and nerve roots. This is accomplished in two to three visits; and a few simple home exercises maintain the gains.
Can treatment with Hesch Method make me worse?
This work is very precise. Prior to treatment, I make a careful physiologic assessment. The treatment is specific to the identified problem. If I do not pinpoint the exact nature of the dysfunction, I do not treat. Instead I make written recommendations to the client and their health care provider.
I use only mild forces, because the body responds better to mild forces. Rather than impart a large force, I use specific amounts of force depending on the region of the body, which I developed and is research-based. The key is that these forces are maintained for a minimum of two minutes at a time, which is based on the science of connective tissue properties. This key is also one of the reasons why people respond very positively within one to three visits.
What is medical screening, and why do you do it? Isn't it sufficient that I see my MD regularly?
Medical screening is an ongoing process of being attentive to your individual presentation. I have a professionally mandated responsibility to be aware of signs and symptoms that might indicate the emergence of another medical problem. As a medical problem begins to emerge, the signs and symptoms may be very subtle. One example is subtle shoulder pain due to early gall bladder disease. It is to the patient's benefit that I have sufficient information, to recognize the need to inquire about further medical testing.
I am experiencing significant pain and/or dysfunction, but medical imaging such as x-ray, CAT scan, MRI, etc have been negative. What does this mean?
No test is perfect. If your problem is a dynamic dysfunction, meaning that it is a movement problem, a static test may not reveal what the problem is. There are some imaging tests that incorporate movement, but they unfortunately are rarely utilized. Sometimes they are used in biomechanical research. Tests, such as dynamic x-rays, that evaluate movement with any type of imaging are virtually inaccessible to the average person. The Hesch Method is a method of evaluating movement dysfunction. In contrast to many imaging studies, Hesch Method will evaluate your moveable structures in both static and dynamic context.
Can I go see another Physical Therapist, and get Hesch Method?
Yes and no. We have taught more than 80 seminars in the United States and Canada. These are 2 day / 15 hour seminars on the basic and intermediate Hesch Method regarding such areas as the low back, the sacroiliac, and hip. There is an advanced body of work on this topic; and I am in the process of certifying clinicians in both the basic and advanced work.
I treat the entire body, and have almost three decades of experience in developing this work; therefor, if you will, I am “the” expert on Hesch Method.
If I live out of State, can I travel to see you?
Yes. However, I will want you to be thorough in accessing local providers first. If that should fail, I might be a good resource for you. The good news is that many airlines offer inexpensive flights to Las Vegas, Nevada. My office is a 25 minute drive from the airport. Typically, you should plan to stay long enough so that I can see you three days in a row.
How was Hesch Method developed?
I first began delving into body work at age sixteen. I was a State wrestling champion and acquired some injuries that are frequently seen in that sport. Later my continued interest in body work was largely driven by my own experiences with injury. I was the victim of several sports mishaps and also several motor vehicle accidents. As a result I sustained numerous injuries including severe trauma to the neck, back, and pelvis.
Due to chronic pain and neuropathy, I sought care from Chiropractors, Physical Therapists, Massage Therapists, and nearly every other type of traditional or alternative practitioner. This opened up my vision in regard to joint dysfunction, joint manipulation, and soft tissue work. I was disappointed that the soft tissue and joint manipulation I received did not adequately address my pain syndrome.
Upon further research into biomechanics, I intuited that there was something intrinsically confusing about conventional medical wisdom surrounding such joints as the foot and ankle, the sacroiliac joint, the rib joints, and the upper cervical spine. My initial sense about my own inadequacy to understand the prevailing paradigm, was a seminal insight which would evolve to become the Hesch Method of somatic therapy.
In my early quest to gain a new understanding of biomechanics, I plumbed the depths of existing literature and added hands-on trial and error with a skeletal model as well as my own body. I had to make sense of the literature, in light of what I was observing first hand in analyzing joints. I looked at each joint in all three planes one at a time; and evaluated all potential motion dysfunction. Then I stacked them to create a 3-D understanding of joint movement. Utilizing self treatment, I developed a body of manual therapy work that is distinctly different from other techniques. Slowly my sense of inadequacy faded, replaced with a new understanding that has significant clinical application.
In developing Hesch Method, I was able to address my own chronic skeletal, muscular, and neurologic issues. Without Hesch Method, I myself would probably be disabled due to the chronic and severe nature of my injuries. This has given me empathy for others suffering from injury and chronic pain syndromes; and this empathy drives rigorous scientific inquiry. To help people with chronic musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction, I have been willing to abandon that which is popular and strike out on a road less travelled. The result is a unique, innovative approach to treatment that really works. It is a melding of science and hands on, intuitive tenacity and commitment.