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If you live with some form of back pain, whether it’s from an injury or slowly developed over time, you are not alone. According to the World Health Organization, roughly 60% to 70% of people living in industrialized countries around the world suffer from lower back pain; and, to no surprise, it is the leading cause of “activity limitation and work absence throughout much of the world.”
If you have personally dealt with back pain in your life, there’s a high chance that you visited a Chiropractor. A Chiropractor, according to Spine-health.com, is a healthcare professional that focuses on the “diagnosis and treatment of neuromuscular disorder.” And, more specifically, treatment is done through “manual adjustment and/or manipulation of the spine.”
When you make a visit to the Chiropractor, especially if it’s your first time, you may want to be sure you research and read carefully what to expect at your visit. Generally, chiropractic care is categorized as alternative medicine or complementary medicine, according to Spine-health.com, and focuses on the intimate relationship between the nervous system and the spine.
What to expect at the Chiropractor’s Office
The bottom line, or end goal, for treatment measures used by a Chiropractor is to re-establish “normal spinal mobility, which in turn alleviates the irritation to the spinal nerve and/or re-establishes altered reflexes.” Per Spine-health.com, a chiropractic visit or exam is similar to a standard health care provider. During the visit to the office, there will be a consultation, a case history and a physical exam.
Once you are given a diagnosis and you are ready to begin treatment, you will receive what’s called a chiropractic adjustment. Also known as a chiropractic, manipulation, manual manipulation or spinal manipulation, which are a common, therapeutic treatment used for lower back pain.
What’s involved during a chiropractic adjustment? Per Spine-health.com, here’s what it involves:
- A high velocity, short lever arm thrust applied to a vertebra
- An accompanying, audible release of gas (joint cavitation) that is caused by the release of oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide, which releases joint pressure
- A relieving sensation most of the time, although minor discomfort has been reported if the surrounding muscles are in spasm or the patient tenses up during the chiropractic care; but this minor discomfort doesn’t last long
Although spinal adjustments are a very common practice used in chiropractic care, it’s not the only treatment that they may recommend or that you might visit the office for. When managing a patient’s care, a chiropractor might also use natural agents such as heat, cold, water, massage, light and exercise for therapeutic measures.
In fact, chiropractic care dates back to the late 19th century when the chiropractic profession in the United States began to appear.
History of Chiropractic Care
The word “chiropractic”, according to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), comes from the Greek words “cheir” (meaning hand) and “praktos (meaning done), which comes together as “done by hand.” And although these natural, manual healing methods can be traced back to ancient times, Daniel David Palmer is widely credited with giving the first chiropractic adjustment in 1895, as well as establishing the first chiropractic school in 1897 in Davenport, Iowa.
Generally excluding drugs or surgery, chiropractic care practices a holistic approach to health care and manual adjusting techniques have continued to evolve and be refined over time to improve function and relieve pain for patients. Kansas, per the ACA, was the first state to license chiropractic care in 1913, and today, the US along with more than 40 other countries worldwide now have licensed chiropractors.
“With an increasing body of research supporting its approach, the chiropractic profession has over time become integrated into many healthcare systems, hospitals and public and private health and managed care plans,” writes the ACA.
By 1972, spinal manipulations were first included in Medicare and two years later, it became a benefit in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program. In recent years, as per the ACA, the epidemic of opioid overuse has prompted many health organizations to recommend more holistic, non drug-use approaches to pain relief as a first line of defense – making chiropractic care a major source for receiving treatments.
“The chiropractic profession continues to grow and evolve,” writes the ACA. “There are more than 70,000 chiropractors licensed today in the United States – practicing in solo practices, multidisciplinary clinics and major hospital systems. It is estimated that more than 35 million people visit a chiropractor each year.”
So, when should you go see a chiropractor? Although an obvious reason would be to go when your back hurts, but you might wonder what other reasons would prompt you to visit a chiropractic care professional.
When to go see a Chiropractor
There are many benefits to seeing a chiropractor as it can help improve your overall physical and emotional well being. Chiropractor care doesn’t have to be given just to treat a sudden injury or when something has gone wrong. A chiropractor, according to Gifford Health Care, can also help you take preventative measures to getting injured or something not feeling right from the beginning.
While it may be common to visit a chiropractor when experiencing back pain, it isn’t the only reason to go. In fact, Gifford Health Care has explained a few different signs of when you should go see a chiropractor:
- Headaches: Chiropractors can help relieve headaches and improve blood flow, which increases the amount of oxygen that’s supplied to the brain and in return, can help you feel better.
- Joint or muscle pain: Joint or muscle pains can be caused by problems with your musculoskeletal alignment; when the chiropractor conducts a spinal adjustment, this helps increase blood flow and nerve conductivity to the joints and muscles that might be experiencing pain.
- The soles of your shoes wear out differently: If you start to notice that the soles in your shoes wear out differently, this could be a sign that your body is out of alignment and needs to be adjusted.
- Involved in a recent accident: If you are involved in an accident, you might have several different injuries that a chiropractor can help heal; in fact, many chiropractors specialize in car accident injuries and are able to diagnose and properly treat these injuries.
- Sharp, shooting pain in your legs: A major sign that you might be suffering from a pinched nerve or a slipped disc is if you start to feel sharp, shooting pain in your legs or tingling and weakness; a chiropractor can adjust and alleviate the unwanted pressure being placed on the nerve and causing pain.
- If you are an active person: Many times, people that play sports or have an active lifestyle will spend some time at the chiropractor. Having an active lifestyle can put your body in additional strain and pressure, which can become prone to pinched nerves, slipped discs or other alignment problems. Seeing a chiropractor on a regular basis can help maintain an active lifestyle.
The reasons listed above are just a few reasons why visiting a chiropractor in these conditions might be helpful. However, even if you are looking to create a more health-conscious lifestyle, visiting a chiropractor might be a great way to do so, since they have all the sufficient knowledge and training to provide you with a good set of exercise routines, nutritional guidance and specific techniques to help relieve stress. So, whether there are some questions you might have about a more proper care of your body or you have body pains that nothing else you've tried has been able to alleviate, seeing a chiropractor might be a great thing for you to try.