Chiropractors are doctors that can diagnose medical conditions and see patients without a referral from a medical doctor. DC’s create their own treatment plans.
(Chiropractors can’t refer patients to PT’s.)
The focus is on releasing joint restrictions, tension and muscle spasms. Treatment techniques are usually manual, but can be mechanical, electric or thermal (using ice or heat.)
Physical Therapists are not doctors and need a medical doctor’s referral. They are given a treatment plan that needs to be followed.
PT treatments focus on cardiovascular exercises, stretching and strengthening (resistance work.)
Both Chiropractors and Physical Therapists can use muscle manipulation and exercise simultaneously. This will help a patient get out of pain, regain normal function and increase overall fitness.
Chiropractic’s original and most popular treatment technique is joint manipulation. Joint manipulation, or what most present day chiropractors call an Adjustment, is releasing a joint that becomes restricted or misaligned. This occurs in the spine, but can also occur in all the other joints in the body. The pain relief and increased range of motion achieved is often immediate.
Forms of joint manipulation have been used in all cultures going back thousands of years. The first modern chiropractor in the US started practicing in 1895.
Chiropractic joint manipulation is the best technique to release restricted joints and realign them. Pain releasing substances like endorphins and cannabinoids are released during this procedure. Repeated treatments are needed to produce a longer lasting effect and to have an improvement on a patient’s overall health. The best response is when spinal joint manipulation is combined with other treatment modalities like exercise, massage and nutrition.
Joint manipulation is safe and painless. The sound that is sometimes heard during the procedure is produced when the joint is released and or realigned.
In July 2021, Donald Petersen of Dynamic Chiropractic published “Why JAMA Recommended Chiropractic”. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), published a Patient Page to educate consumers on their best options for treatments of acute and chronic low back pain. The list of recommended options for both acute and chronic low back pain included “spinal manipulation” ahead of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and muscle relaxants.
Currently, Chiropractors perform 90% of all spinal manipulations in the U.S. Research shows that most chiropractic patients are much more satisfied with chiropractic care than with conventional medical services in the treatment of lower back pain.
Does chiropractic work? Yes! Does it work for other musculoskeletal complaints? Patient responses and research continue to provide positive feedback.
What are the benefits of massage? Massage can effectively reduce pain, tension and stress. Here are three of the most common techniques he uses:
Swedish massage is one of the most commonly offered massage techniques. It releases muscle tension and promotes relaxation.
Deep Tissue massage uses more pressure than the Swedish technique, and is better at releasing knots in tight bands of muscle fiber. This type of massage can increase blood flow and reduce inflammation, for a better and longer lasting effect.
Myofascial release involves sustained pressure to reach deeper layers of muscle, and is used when there is a more painful symptom than muscle tension.
The back consists of the region of the spine from the neck to the pelvis. The lower back starts at the last rib and ends at the pelvis.
Eighty percent of people will experience back pain. Most of that pain is centered in the lower back, which can strike suddenly or come on slowly.
The length of time lower back pain persists can also vary. Sometimes the pain will subside by itself, but then there is always the risk that the pain will return because the underlying cause has not been resolved.
The best course of action is to undergo a medical evaluation. Chiropractors are trained to perform medical examinations as well as prescribe X-rays and MRI’s. A chiropractor will also refer to a medical doctor, orthopedist or physical therapist when necessary.
Chiropractic offers a non-invasive course of treatment options rather than drugs and surgery.
Neck pain is a very common complaint. It can appear suddenly as tightness and spasms in the muscle, or develop slowly as a restriction in the spinal joints. Pain can also travel up to the head, producing headaches, or down the arms. Neck pain restricts a person’s ability to move their neck.
Common causes of neck pain:
1) Trauma (injury from a car accident or a fall).
2) Muscle strain (poor posture or sitting at a computer for too long).
3) Worn joints or nerve compression (possibly resulting from osteoarthritis or herniated disks).
Chiropractors can diagnose the cause of neck pain with orthopedic and neurological testing. They can also order x-rays and MRIs when necessary. Most neck pain can be resolved with a simple course of massage and spinal manipulation, followed by exercise and posture correction.
It should be noted that the amount of pain experienced by a patient does not necessarily correlate with the severity of your condition or the length of time it takes to resolve it.
When you sleep, use a cervical pillow to fully support your neck. This keeps your head in alignment with your spine. If you can, sleep on your side or back instead of your stomach.
At your office, position the computer screen so that it is at or slightly below eye level and right in front of you. Set a timer on your cell phone to remind you to get up and move every 60 minutes.
Have a regular exercise routine, involving cardio, stretches, strength-building and endurance. People who are more physically active are less likely to experience neck pain.
Try the Anti-Inflammatory diet. It focuses on fruits, vegetables and meats. Stay hydrated by drinking water whenever you are thirsty. Feel free to try unsweetened tea to increase your antioxidant intake.
Carrying a heavy purse, briefcase or roller bag can hurt your neck. Pack only what you need to take with you. I prefer to use an ergonomic backpack, with evenly distributed weight of the contents inside. Rolling a roller bag is the best thing for your spinal health.
Reach behind your shoulder and dig your fingers into your neck muscles. Work the tight fibers back and forth until they loosen up.
If you experience whiplash, or get injured in an accident, seek chiropractic care as soon as you can. I can help you manage your pain, and reduce any long term problems.
The most common types of headaches are tension and migraine headaches. Tension headaches are caused by restricted joints and muscle spasms in the neck. Most migraine sufferers have extremely debilitating symptoms like intense pain, nausea and sensitivity to light.
Chiropractic care can be very effective in the diagnosis and treatment of headaches often without the use of medication. Pains in the head can often be reproduced when examining the neck. Chiropractic treatment can include rest, ice, heat, exercise, massage and joint manipulation. In some cases, over the counter medication will compliment treatment and be needed to control initial symptoms.
Perpetuating factors should also be addressed to insure headaches don’t return. These factors include:
• Appropriate levels of sleep
• Stress reduction
• Postural correction
• Regular exercise to to relax muscles, increase the fitness and flexibility of muscles and joints of the neck and upper back
• Activities like walking, and bicycling or elliptical
• Periodic chiropractic treatment
Sit up with your upper back straight and your shoulders back and down. Your rear should touch the back of the chair.
Keep some arch in your lower back. A small, rolled up towel or a lumbar support cushion can be used to help you maintain the curve in your lower back. Another way is to point your knees slightly toward the floor which will rotate your pelvis and create more arch.
Your phone or computer screen should be at eye level and you should look down as little as possible. Your arms should hang at your sides, so you don’t have to reach forward to use your keyboard.
Don’t forget to periodically get up and move your body.
If you can’t remember, set an alarm to go off at regular intervals (ex: every 60 minutes).