What Disorders Do Chiropractors Treat?
Chiropractors diagnose and treat many different spinal disorders that cause musculoskeletal or nerve pain. Similar to other types of doctors, a chiropractor performs a physical and neurological examination as part of his or her process of making an accurate diagnosis. X-rays or CT scan studies may be ordered to confirm your diagnosis. This article highlights several spine-related problems that may be evaluated and treated by chiropractic care.
Back sprains and strains are experienced by approximately three out of four adults. Sprains are caused when ligaments—the tough bands of tissue that hold bones together—become overstretched or torn. Strains involve a muscle and/or a tendon. Either one can occur when you lift too much weight, play a strenuous sport, or even bend or twist improperly during regular activities during the day. The pain may be aching, burning, stabbing, tingling, sharp, or dull.
Cervicogenic headaches are caused by referred neck pain. The pain from this type of headache is usually felt at the back of the head, in the temples, and/or behind the eyes. A cervicogenic headache may be mistaken for migraines or cluster headaches.
Coccydynia is pain that develops in the spine’s tailbone. Some people who fall down or who ride a bike for a long time may develop coccydynia, which can get worse when sitting. Sometimes the pain begins without any known cause.
Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is usually associated with aging. As you become older, your intervertebral discs— the pillow-like cushions between your vertebrae—can degenerate or break down due to years of strain, overuse, or misuse. The discs may lose flexibility, elasticity, and shock absorption. They also become thinner as they dehydrate.
Herniated disc usually occurs in the neck or low back. A herniated disc can cause pain when the outer ring (annulus) or interior matter (nucleus pulposus) presses on a nearby nerve root.
Myofascial pain is a chronic pain disorder where pressure on sensitive points in your muscles—called trigger points—can cause deep, aching pain in seemingly unrelated parts of your body. This is known as referred pain. Sometimes myofascial pain feels like a “knot” in your muscle, and occurs after a muscle is used repeated.
Piriformis syndrome may occur when the piriformis muscle (a narrow muscle located in the buttocks) compresses or irritates the sciatic nerve. Symptoms may be called sciatica and may include pain and/or sensations (tingling, numbness) that travel down through the buttock(s) and into one or both legs.
Sciatica may occur when the sciatic nerve or a branch of the sciatic nerve is compressed or becomes irritated. The hallmark of sciatica is moderate to severe pain that travels below the knee of one leg. Some people with sciatica describe the pain as sharp, shooting, or similar to an electric-shock.
Short leg or leg length discrepancy is also known as limb length discrepancy (one leg is shorter than the other). It can be caused by different types of structural (eg, birth defect) or postural problems (eg, pelvic tilt).
Spondylosis or spinal osteoarthritis may affect the spine’s facet joints or other bones. This type of arthritis is often associated with aging.
Whiplash is a hyperflexion/hyperextension injury commonly occurring when a motor vehicle is rear-ended. The neck and head are “whipped” suddenly and quickly forward (hyperflexion) and backward (hyperextension), which may lead to severe neck sprain and/or strain.