Chiropractic is a form of health care profession which specializes in non-surgical treatment of nervous system &/or musculoskeletal system disorders. Majority of people seek chiropractic treatment to alleviate the effects of severe back pain. Since back pain can occur due to several reasons: from bad posture, back injury, stress, etc., the treatment also varies.
But how does chiropractic treatment work? What role does it play? And what benefits does chiropractic care offers? We’ll answer all the questions.
What is chiropractic care?
A chiropractor uses hands-on spinal manipulation and other related treatments to treat back pain. The basic idea behind this practice is that by providing proper alignment to the body’s musculoskeletal structure, especially the spine, it will help the body to heal without medication or surgery. These manipulations focus on restoring joint’s mobility that was cramped due to injuries. Such injuries may occur due to a traumatic incident or continuous stress, etc.
The primary use of chiropractic treatment is to alleviate pain in muscles, bones, joints, and even in connective tissues like cartilage, ligaments and tendons. Some doctors even suggest chiropractic care with mainstream medical treatment.
What does chiropractic treatment involve?
The basic chiropractic generally involves treatment of usual lower back pain conditions using manual therapy:
- Manual and spinal manipulation: The method involves a high-velocity, short lever arm thrust administered on the abnormal vertebra. The objective is to boost functionality, decrease nerve irritability and reinstate complete motion.
- Mobilization: These mobilizations involve a low-velocity joint and muscle manipulation, stretching and movement to reinstate motion in the target areas.
Chiropractor and their functions
A chiropractor is a health care professional who directs his attention on the diagnosis and treatment of neuromuscular disorders. Their main emphasis is on treatment using manual manipulation of the spine.
Chiropractors prioritize on alleviating pain and boosting a patient’s movement while educating them on how they can help themselves through regular exercises and other means to improve back pain.
Goals of a chiropractor
Chiropractors centre their aid on the delicate relationship shared by the nervous system and spin. They do so to prove that:
- Structural and biochemical disturbance of the spine directly affects the nervous system.
- In many cases, chiropractic care like cervical chiropractic adjustment can reinstate the structural coherence of the spine and lessen the stress on delicate neurological tissue. Thus, it eventually enhances the overall health of a person.
The complete treatment is aimed at reaffirming the total mobility of the spine. It will only then mend all the spinal nerve irritations.
Conditions and ailments
A chiropractor will use his treatment techniques to aid patients suffering from:
- Neck pain
- Repetitive sprains and strains
- Lower and upper back pain or sciatica
- Sports-related injuries
- Injuries from a car crash
- Arthritic pain
If there is a need, chiropractors will even refer patients to doctors and other health professionals for further treatment. Several chiropractors working in a community have a referral network and work simultaneously with other specialists through a multi-specialty clinic.
Chiropractic exam of your back
A regular chiropractic examination is quite similar to a standard exam by a medical professional. But when it comes to examining the structure of a patient’s spine and then administering a chiropractic treatment, a chiropractor has to be careful.
A typical chiropractic exam has three necessary steps:
- Consultation: The patient and the chiropractor interact to understand the reason for the back pain. It includes knowing the duration and description of the symptom, area of pain and what alleviates and worsens the problem.
- Case history: The chiropractor then works to understand the nature of back pain. He asks some questions and checks the patient’s case history. It includes:
- Dietary habits
- Family history
- Past medical records
- work history
- psychosocial history
- any other area that might affect treatment
- Physical examination: After the two steps, the chiropractor will use different methods to ascertain the parts of the spine that need chiropractic treatment. As a result of these steps, he may suggest additional tests like X-ray.
Once a chiropractor has followed all the examination procedures and diagnosed the problem, he will recommend chiropractic adjustment or manipulation.
Chiropractic adjustment or manipulation
A chiropractor will use different adjustment techniques on the patient’s back. It involves the manipulation of the vertebrae that suffer from movement failure. The final goal is to decrease subluxation, nerve irritability and improve range of motion and function.
Side effects of chiropractic adjustment
There are no significant side effects, but the most common result of a chiropractic adjustment is the soreness in the spinal muscles or joints. Such soreness occurs post-treatment and does not remain beyond 24 hours of undergoing the treatment. To soothe the pain, it is recommended to apply an ice pack or cold therapy.
Benefits offered and risks associated with chiropractic care
Chiropractic adjustment and care are generally accepted as safe and effective in treating acute back pain. They are also known as chronic pain and typically last for six weeks and improve on its own. Chiropractic care helps to alleviate pain and help in faster recovery by working on the affected muscles.
Researches conducted by different sources have shown that chiropractic care like upper cervical adjustment benefits patients with headaches and neck pains. There are even findings that fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis do respond to mild to moderate pressures that chiropractors use.
But health care professionals warn patients with osteoporosis, inflammatory arthritis, or spinal cord compression should refrain from chiropractic care. Same goes for those patients who use blood-thinning medications.
Why should you exercise along with chiropractic care?
Studies have found that exercise helps significantly in managing chronic and acute lower back pain. It also helps strengthen the back, prevent injuries and improve overall health. When aerobic exercise is teamed-up with chiropractic treatment, it keeps muscles properly toned, promotes digestion and better blood circulation.
Chiropractors advise patients a set of different exercise to do along with spine manipulation for better movement and fast recovery.
Chiropractic treatment is highly effective buts depends on correct diagnosis of the problem. The chiropractor should conduct a thorough examination and understand the patient’s medical history. It includes current medical conditions, medications, past traumatic incidents or surgeries and current lifestyle. Before undergoing chiropractic treatment, consult your doctor to understand how it will benefit you.