Chiropractic, also called chiropractic care, is a healthcare practice that utilizes alternative treatment methods mainly to treat acute and chronic pain, and certain other symptoms, associated with the spinal joints, discs, nerves, and soft tissue. The doctor who provides these services is called a chiropractor. A chiropractor may provide care to athletes or the whole family or may specialize in chiropractic care for pregnant women, babies, and children.
The main focus of this treatment approach is to restore the integrity of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems and stimulate natural healing without the use of medications—as is the case with traditional pain treatments. Care is also non-invasive and non-surgical. If you are planning to see a chiropractor, you should consider one that is board-certified and licensed to safely perform or deliver the treatments they offer.
Common Conditions a Chiropractor Treats
Musculoskeletal pain could originate from wear and tear, improper lifting techniques, or prolonged poor posture. Various injuries or conditions can also cause pain in the spinal structures. Certain injuries may result in a misaligned spine, for example, a blow to the back during an auto accident or whiplash that dislocated the cervical (neck) bones or joints.
Misalignment is also seen in patients with conditions such as spinal stenosis, scoliosis, and spondylolisthesis. When the spinal bones and joints slip out of their normal position, they can cause the intervertebral discs to bulge or herniate and cause pain. Or they may rest on nearby nerves and cause nerve compression also called pinched nerves. Here are some common musculoskeletal pain conditions a chiropractor usually treats:
- Shoulder pain
- Upper and lower back pain
- Neck pain, e.g., due to whiplash
- Muscle tension, strains, or sprains
- Degenerative disc disease
- Bulging or herniated discs
- Headaches and migraines
- Arthritis, e.g., osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
- Spinal misalignment (vertebral subluxation)
- Sciatica (nerve pain due to pinched nerve roots)
Types of Chiropractic Treatments
These are some of the core, pain-free, drug-free treatments performed by chiropractors:
- Spinal adjustment or manipulation: Using this thrust technique, the chiropractor applies direct force to the misaligned segment of the spine. High-velocity, low amplitude hand or instrument-based thrusts can be used to manipulate the joints, bones, and soft tissue. Gentle manipulations also help to mobilize the soft tissue. Restoring the spinal structures relieves pain, takes the pressure off the nerves, and stimulates healing.
- Non-surgical spinal decompression: A chiropractor uses decompression therapy mainly to relieve pain from spinal cord compression in the neck, upper, or lower back. This may be due to spinal cord injury, a ruptured disc, or degenerative disc disease such as arthritis. The chiropractor uses motorized traction to stretch and lengthen the spine to relieve the impinged nerve and stop the pain. Decompression also allows herniated or bulging discs to move back into their natural position.
- Joint manipulation: A chiropractor who treats sports injury may also perform manipulation of the shoulder, elbow, knee, or ankle joints that are dislocated or fractured. Manipulation helps relieve pain and allows the surrounding muscles, tendons, and ligaments to heal.
- Kinesio Taping: The chiropractor will place a special stretchy tape over the affected site to help take the pressure off the soft tissue. Kinesiology works by lifting the skin away from the tissue to relieve pain and allow soft tissue healing.
- Active Release Technique (ART): Your chiropractor may use this method to relieve muscle stiffness or tension by breaking up scar tissue and allowing blood circulation to the tissue so it can heal.
Other Chiropractic Care Techniques and Therapies
Chiropractors usually combine these core techniques with soft tissue therapy, pain relief techniques, and muscle rehabilitation. They believe that using a comprehensive treatment approach, instead of masking the pain with medication, can prevent recurrent pain, reduce the risk of re-injury, and promote overall wellness. Your chiropractor may be trained in performing these methods but may have a licensed specialist to perform these adjunct therapies. Some of the supplemental treatments a chiropractor may offer are:
- Massage Therapy
- Cold Laser Therapy
- Corrective Exercises
- Physical Therapy
- Spine and Joint Rehabilitation
- Nutritional Counseling
Benefits of Seeing a Tulsa Chiropractor
Treatment by a chiropractor can help you in a variety of ways. Let’s say you’ve tried traditional medicine and it’s not working or you prefer to avoid drugs altogether and go for natural care. In this case, a chiropractor may be able to help you. During your initial consultation, your chiropractor will explain what chiropractic therapy is all about and how it can benefit you.
A comprehensive physical and medical evaluation, along with x-rays and other imaging tests, are typically done to make a diagnosis. This helps the chiropractor to tailor a treatment plan to suit your needs and overall wellness goals. The alternative care techniques and therapies are known to provide these benefits:
- Corrects spinal misalignment
- Relieves neck, back, nerve, leg, and joint pain
- Improves range of motion
- Reduces inflammation
- Increases blood flow to the spine and soft tissue
- Assist in tissue repair or regeneration
- Alleviates numbness and tingling due to a pinched nerve
- May prevent invasive surgery
Is Chiropractic Care Right for You?
While these treatments may relieve pain from acute and chronic conditions, it is not right for everyone due to the risk of medical complications. Therefore, your chiropractor is the best person to determine if you should receive this treatment. For example, among those who should not undergo spinal decompression are:
- Pregnant women
- Patients with failed back surgery
- Anyone with broken vertebrae
- Individuals who underwent spinal fusion
- Patients with an artificial disc or implants in their spine
- Persons who had multiple surgeries that did not help
Now that you have a good idea about the basics of chiropractic treatments and how they can help you, you may be ready to visit a chiropractor near you. The internet offers easy access to online information about where to find a chiropractor in your area. A quick Google search using the terms “chiropractor near me“, for example will likely yield a list of them in your city or nearby cities, along with a phone number to contact them. You can then call to set up an appointment for a consultation. It’s that easy.
The bottom line is safe and gentle chiropractic care can help you
If you are experiencing acute or chronic pain and nothing seems to be working to relieve the pain, perhaps a chiropractor can help you. You should know that a board-certified chiropractor typically offers care using methods or techniques that are approved as safe for the whole family. Spinal decompression therapy, for example, is an FDA-approved treatment used in chiropractic care. Some patients with chronic conditions or athletes who want to maintain spinal alignment, good posture, and reduce the risk of injury usually see their chiropractor for routine care.
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