Chiropractic treatment is one of the most sought-after treatments for pack pain. About 22 million Americans visit chiropractors every year. Of these, 7.7 million are seeking relief from back pain from various causes. Other complaints include pain in the neck, arms, legs, and head.
What Is Chiropractic Care?
Chiropractors use spinal manipulation, along with other treatments, in their treatment of pain and injury. They believe that proper alignment of the body’s musculoskeletal structure, particularly the spine, will let the body heal itself without surgery or medication. Manipulation restores movement to joints restricted by tissue injury from a traumatic event, such as falling, or stress, such as sitting without proper back support.
Chiropractic care is mainly used as a pain relief supplement for muscles, joints, bones, and connective tissue. It is sometimes used along with conventional medical treatment.
What Does Chiropractic Care for Back Pain Involve?
First, a chiropractor reviews a patient’s medical history, performs a physical examination, and may use lab tests or diagnostic imaging to determine if treatment is appropriate for back pain.
The treatment may involve one or more manual adjustments, where the doctor manipulates the joints using a controlled, sudden force to improve how well the patient is able to move. Many chiropractors also incorporate nutritional counseling and exercise or rehabilitation into their treatment. The goals of chiropractic care include the healing of function and preventing other injuries.
What Are the Benefits and Risks of Chiropractic Care?
Spinal manipulation and chiropractic care is usually considered a safe, effective treatment for lower back pain, especially for the type of sudden injury that results from something like moving heavy furniture. Acute back pain is more common than chronic pain, lasts no more than a few weeks and typically heals over time.
Research has shown chiropractic care to be very useful in treating neck pain and headaches. In addition, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia may respond better to the moderate pressure used both by chiropractors and practitioners of deep tissue massage.
Studies have not yet confirmed the effectiveness of prolotherapy or sclerotherapy for killing pain. These treatments are used by some chiropractors, osteopaths, and medical doctors to help treat chronic back pain, the type of pain that may come on either all at once or slowly and lasts many months. The therapy involves injections such as sugar water or anesthetic in hopes of strengthening the ligaments in the back.
People who have osteoporosis, spinal cord compression, or inflammatory arthritis, or who take blood-thinning medications should not receive spinal manipulation. In addition, patients who have had cancer should first obtain an O.K. from their medical doctors before having spinal manipulation.
All treatment is based on a precise diagnosis of your back pain. The chiropractor should know your medical history, including ongoing medical conditions, current medications, trauma and surgical history, and lifestyle factors. Even though it’s not common, there are times in which treatment worsened a herniated or slipped disc, or neck manipulation resulted in stroke or spinal cord injury. For safety, your primary doctor should be well-informed of any procedures you are planning on receiving.