Chiropractors use hands-on spinal manipulation and other alternative treatments, the theory being that proper alignment of the body’s musculoskeletal structure, particularly the spine, will enable the body to heal itself without surgery or medication. Manipulation is used to restore mobility to joints restricted by tissue injury caused by a traumatic event, such as falling, or repetitive stress, such as sitting without proper back support.
Chiropractic treatment is primarily used as a pain relief alternative for muscles, joints, bones, and connective tissue, such as cartilage, ligaments, and tendons. It is sometimes used in conjunction with conventional medical treatment.
What to Expect When You See a Chiropractor?
A chiropractor first takes a medical history, performs a physical examination, and may use lab tests or diagnostic imaging to determine if treatment is appropriate for your pain.
The treatment plan may involve one or more manual adjustments in which the doctor manipulates the joints, using a controlled, sudden force to improve range and quality of motion. Many chiropractors also incorporate nutritional counseling and exercise/rehabilitation into the treatment plan. The goals of chiropractic care include the restoration of function and prevention of injury in addition to back pain relief.
What Are the Benefits and Risks of Chiropractic Care?
Spinal manipulation and chiropractic care is generally considered a safe, effective treatment for acute low back pain, the type of sudden injury that results from moving furniture or getting tackled. Acute back pain, which is more common than chronic pain, lasts no more than six weeks and often gets better on its own.
Research has also shown chiropractic to be helpful in treating neck pain and headaches. In addition, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia may respond to the moderate pressure used both by chiropractors and practitioners of deep tissue massage.