Among people looking for alternatives for back pain relief, most choose chiropractic treatment. About 22 million Americans visit chiropractors annually. Of these, 7.7 million, or 35%, seek relief from back pain for a variety of reasons, including accidents, sports injuries, and muscle strains. Other complaints are pain in the neck, arms and legs, as well as headaches.
What is chiropractic?
Chiropractors use manual spine manipulation and other alternative treatments. The theory is that proper alignment of the body’s musculoskeletal system, especially the spine, allows the body to heal itself without surgery or medication. Manipulation is used to restore mobility to joints that have been compromised by tissue injury caused by a traumatic event such as a fall or repeated stress such as sitting without adequate back support.
Chiropractic treatment is mainly used as an analgesic alternative for muscles, joints, bones and connective tissues such as cartilage, ligaments and tendons. It is sometimes used in conjunction with conventional medical treatment.
The initials “DC” identify a chiropractor whose education typically includes a bachelor’s degree plus four years of chiropractic college.
What Does Chiropractic Treatment For Back Pain Include?
A chiropractor will first take a medical history, perform a physical exam, and may use laboratory tests or diagnostic imaging to determine whether treatment is appropriate for your back pain.
The treatment plan may include one or more manual adjustments, in which the doctor manipulates the joints with a controlled, sudden force to improve the range and quality of motion. Many chiropractors also incorporate nutritional advice and exercise / rehabilitation into their treatment plan. In addition to relieving back pain, the goals of chiropractic care include restoring function and preventing injuries.
What Are The Benefits And Risks Of Chiropractic Care?
Spinal manipulation and chiropractic care are generally considered to be safe and effective treatments for acute low back pain, the type of sudden injury caused by moving furniture or grabbing at it. Acute back pain, which is more common than chronic pain, doesn’t last more than six weeks and usually gets better on its own.
Research has also shown that chiropractic care is helpful in treating neck pain and headaches. Additionally, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia may respond to the moderate pressure used by both chiropractors and deep tissue massage practitioners.
Studies have not confirmed the effectiveness of prolotherapy or sclerotherapy for pain relief, which some chiropractors, osteopaths, and doctors use to treat chronic back pain, a type of pain that comes on suddenly or gradually and can last for more than three months. Therapy includes injections such as sugar water or anesthetic to strengthen the ligaments in your back.
People with osteoporosis, spinal cord compression, or inflammatory arthritis, or who are taking blood-thinning medication should not undergo spinal manipulation. In addition, patients with a history of cancer should first seek approval from their doctor before undergoing spinal manipulation.
All treatments are based on an accurate diagnosis of your back pain. The chiropractor should be well informed about your medical history, including ongoing medical conditions, current medications, traumatic / surgical history, and lifestyle factors. Although rare, there have been cases where treatment worsened a herniated disc or herniated disc, or where manipulation of the neck resulted in spinal cord injury. To be on the safe side, always check with your doctor to make sure your condition is benefiting from chiropractic or other pain relieving alternatives.