Chiropractic Care Includes More than Spinal Manipulation
Even though chiropractic has been around for about a hundred years, there is still a lot of misinformation about this area of medicine. Here's what you need to know:
What is a chiropractor?
Chiropractors are medical professionals who diagnose and treat musculoskeletal and nervous system disorders. While chiropractors use traditional diagnostic testing methods (like x-rays, MRI, and lab work), they also use specific chiropractic techniques that involve hands-on manipulation of the body. Chiropractors do not prescribe medications and they do not perform surgery. However, chiropractors are trained to recognize when an injury is outside of their scope of practice and will refer patients to the appropriate medical specialist if necessary.
How do I find one?
Doctors of Chiropractic are licensed in all 50 states. State licensing boards regulate the practice of chiropractic and grants licenses to chiropractors who meet certain educational and examination requirements. You can ask your primary care physician for a recommendation, ask people you know who go to a chiropractor, or look in the phone book.
Adjustments - do they really crack my back?
When vertebrae become misaligned, they can place pressure on the spinal nerves and cause pain. This is called a subluxation. Chiropractors use a specific technique called a spinal adjustment to treat subluxations.
During an adjustment, the vertebra is returned to the proper position in the spinal column. When your vertebrae are adjusted, tiny pockets of gas are released from the joints, sometimes making a "popping" noise. It's the same sound you hear when you crack your knuckles.
Who can benefit from chiropractic?
Some patients with the following conditions have found chiropractic to be helpful:
- Pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders, back, arms, hands, chest, abdomen, hips, legs, feet.
- Certain types of headaches
- Injuries and trauma to the body such as whiplash
- Leg pain
- Sports injuries
- Bursitis and Tendonitis (conditions involving inflammation of soft tissues)
- Fibromyalgia (chronic muscle pain and stiffness)
Although their main method of treatment is the spinal adjustment, many chiropractors also use other therapies to treat their patients, including:
- Diet and nutritional counseling
- Lifestyle modification counseling such as smoking cessation, weight loss, and stress management
As you can see, chiropractic medicine is more than just spinal manipulations. Chiropractors use a variety of treatment modalities to help the body heal itself and return patients to a pain-free and healthy life.