Chiropractors are highly trained professionals who use a variety of modalities to help patients improve their health. Chiropractors are generally thought of as alternative medicine practitioners who focus on spinal manipulation, orthopedic services and various other treatment options. Chiropractors do not use diagnostic tests to diagnose problems, but instead rely on their patient’s description of what they feel when they see a symptom or other abnormality. Chiropractors can treat many conditions, but their most common practice is for back pain.
Chiropractic is an alternative medicine discipline that is focused on the diagnosis and treatment of non-surgical mechanical disorders of the muscular skeletal system, particularly the spine. The chiropractic doctor is also known as a chiropractor, and their primary tools are the hands-on manipulation of the spine and the manipulation of the joints. Some chiropractors use only their hands, but some also use the help of specialized devices, such as hydraulic pressions and other devices designed to apply gentle but effective pressure to the spine and nearby muscles and joints. Most chiropractors have formal education and training in a particular area of chiropractic medicine, but many also receive their chiropractic training through informal education programs, correspondence courses and online coursework.
During a chiropractic adjustment, a professional will often massage the area around the spine to loosen the stiff muscles and joints. The chiropractor may also apply heat or cold to help reduce inflammation and ease discomfort. Once the patient has felt the pressure of the manipulator and felt relief from pain, the chiropractor may recommend a regular regime of stretching exercises and other maintenance activities to help the body return to its normal range of movement.
Chiropractors often use spinal manipulative therapy in the treatment of low back pain. Some people are prone to spinal manipulations, while others are not. Those who are prone to spinal manipulations are advised to practice proper ergonomics and physical therapy to help prevent injury and develop an understanding of how their body works. Regular adjustments to the spine can help to eliminate strain and strengthen the muscles of the shoulders, hips and legs. Chiropractors often combine spinal manipulations with therapeutic massage and other bodywork. Chiropractors may also recommend specific exercise programs for patients who do not respond to standard treatments.
Chiropractors also use their knowledge to treat common ailments that affect people throughout their life. For example, chiropractors often treat patients who have pinched nerves to relieve muscle tension and reduce arthritic pain, headaches and toothaches. Many chiropractors also treat pregnant women for lower abdominal pain, urinary tract disorders and infertility. A chiropractic care provider can also evaluate and diagnosis athletic injuries and treat athletes’ skeletal pain and problems.
Another area where chiropractic care can be valuable is in the treatment of neck pain. Chiropractors are trained to detect misalignment of the vertebrae and teach patients how to correct the problem. Sometimes, chiropractic care can stop the progression of neck pain or make it easier to treat chronic neck pain. Chiropractors might also recommend lifestyle changes such as stretching and exercise to help improve circulation and posture. If the pain is caused by a medical condition, a chiropractor might recommend diagnostic testing to rule out the underlying cause.
If chiropractic spinal manipulations or other treatments don’t provide effective relief, a chiropractor might consider other methods such as prescription pain medications, anti-inflammatories or steroid injections. In some cases, the use of pain medications is limited to short-term use due to the potential for addiction. However, in some cases, a chiropractor might make the recommendation that medication be discontinued if the pain is persistent. Doctors of chiropractic care are not allowed to prescribe medication for patients.
Some patients prefer the idea of receiving chiropractic care from a professional who does not have extensive training in the field. However, there are many chiropractors who offer detailed, specialized instruction in the field of chiropractic care. These chiropractors may have specialized training in the areas of sports medicine, pediatrics, pregnancy and fertility, geriatrics and orthopedics. Their years of experience can help them treat specific pain problems that occur on a patient’s spine and alleviate the overall health and pain issue.