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Doctors of Chiropractic (DC), more commonly known as chiropractors, typically treat conditions involving back pain and/or neck pain through “hands-on” chiropractic care, including: Spinal manipulation and manual manipulation. Referring to a high-velocity, short lever arm thrust that is applied to abnormal vertebra with the goal of improving functionality, reducing nerve irritability and restoring range of motion in the back, manual manipulation is also known as a chiropractic adjustment. There is firm literature support for chiropractic treatment of lower back pain. Many of the published guidelines recommend chiropractic manipulation to be included in the treatment plan early in the care of lower back pain. Mobilization. Chiropractic mobilization refers to low velocity manipulation, movement and stretching of the muscles and joints, with the goal of increasing the range of motion within those areas. Close to 18 million adults and 2 million children receive chiropractic treatments for pain therapy and other conditions every year. Chiropractic methods have been shown to be effective in reducing pain among people with back pain. For example, a study of 42 patients who visited chiropractors for pain management over a period of two months found that low force spinal adjustments successfully helped ease lower back pain.
How Chiropractic Treatment Works
Chiropractic treatments usually focus on spinal manipulation and alignment to aid pain management and stimulate the body’s self-healing abilities. Realignment of the spine to reduce pressure on the central nervous system. Lower back pain, Neck Pain and Headaches are among the most common conditions treated by a chiropractor. Your first visit is likely to be an evaluation, not unlike what you go through on the first visit to any other doctor’s office. You will be asked to describe your symptoms and your chiropractor may order tests and X-rays that could help her understand your condition better. You and your chiropractor will then develop a treatment plan. Pain management may require multiple visits over a period to provide the best pain therapy. At each visit, your chiropractor may use a non-evasive pressure on key parts of your back or other parts of your body to realign your spine and manage pain. This pressure may be a quick force or it may be low in force, and may be delivered by hands or with the help of a specially designed instrument. Massage may also be incorporated into your treatment.
Additional Services in Chiropractic Care
In addition to manual manipulation, most chiropractic clinics offer a range of health services, such as: Physical therapy modalities. In many chiropractic practices, various types of equipment (ultrasound, electrical stimulation, traction, etc.) may be used with the goal of reducing back pain and inflammation. Exercises. Various cardiovascular, stretching and strengthening exercises may be prescribed by chiropractors to decrease lower back pain, increase strength and restore range of motion. For example, chiropractors may prescribe exercises that strengthen under-active muscles and/or inhibit over-active muscles with the goal of attaining muscle balance and a balanced structure. Chiropractors may also have patients do exercises that strengthen the weak, underactive muscles of the trunk and pelvis, and exercises that stretch the tight, overactive muscles. Pelvic stabilization. When flat feet and/or subtalar instability are present, the chiropractor may place a small heel lift in the shoe on the short leg side or prescribe corrective arch supports to help stabilize the pelvis. Ergonomics. During the course of chiropractic care, the chiropractor may recommend some procedure(s) that should be employed at home and/or at work. The success or failure of obtaining patient satisfying outcomes may be directly related to an ergonomic/job-related activity or a hobby-related irritating activity. Patient education. A chiropractor may advise a variety of lifestyle modifications, including diet and nutritional programs, self-care and coping strategies, to the patient experiencing lower back pain. It is important to note that doctors of chiropractic do not utilize drugs or surgery in their practice. However, there are times when a chiropractic doctor will recommend that the patient consult another practitioner if these or other methods of treatment are indicated.