Anyone who has experienced back pain is most likely to describe it as one of the most debilitating pains they had to go through. Almost everyone suffers from back pain at some point in their life. A treatment option that many opt for is chiropractic care. It includes spinal manipulation, which is also called manual manipulation. But what do chiropractors do for back pain that offers immediate relief?
A chiropractor cures your back pain by performing what is known as spinal manipulation. A staggering 27 million Americans are treated annually for back pain with chiropractor services, and the numbers speak for themselves. Chiropractic relief is based on the clinical assumption that the cause of back pain is due to spine misalignment.
Spinal manipulation is a combination of physical pushing, pulling, and anatomical repositioning of the back, shoulders, hips, head, or neck to help remove back pain. Through these practices, spinal manipulation can alleviate pain and improve overall body mobility in those suffering from acute low-back pain.
What Is Meant By Chiropractic Care?
Professionals who use hands-on spinal manipulation and alternative treatment methods to provide pain relief are called chiropractors for back pain. The appropriate alignment of the musculoskeletal system in the body, especially the spine, enables the body to recover from the injury without any surgical or medical interventions.
Manipulation aids in restoring the mobility of your joints, which has been limited by tissue injury. Tissue injury can occur due to a traumatic event that involves falling or repeated bouts of stress, such as working for long hours on a desk without sufficient back support.
Chiropractic care is mainly used to offer pain relief alternatives for bones, joints, muscles, and connective tissue, including tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. It is often used along with conventional medical treatment so that the relief curve is steeper.
Chiropractic Treatment For Back Pain – Is It Worth A Try?
The treatment plan that chiropractors have for relieving back pain may involve one or more manual adjustments to manipulate the joints. These adjustments are made using controlled amounts of force, which can improve the range and quality of motion and functionality.
Several chiropractors create a recovery routine for their clients by also adding bits of nutritional counseling and exercise into the treatment plan. A cumulative effect leads to better results and quicker relief. Every chiropractor's goal includes the restoration of mobility and prevention of injury while also offering back pain relief.
Other treatments that can help reduce and help in recovering from back pain include over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, physiotherapy, massages, or a combination of all these. Researchers have found that spinal manipulation works as efficiently as anti-inflammatory and pain relief medications.
Often, patients don’t need any treatment, and back pain will go away on its own. For chronic pain, chiropractic treatment may offer temporary relief.
On the other hand, some chiropractors are not usually in favor of using mainstream medicine, such as immunizations. Others work together with a team of medical doctors, where they give and accept referrals. Some chiropractors for back pain treat only back pain issues and use conventional methods such as icing, heat therapy, and massage.
A chiropractor starts off by taking a detailed medical history. They will then perform a thorough physical examination and refer to lab tests or radiological findings to determine if chiropractic care is appropriate to deal with your back pain. If the findings are not relevant or enough, they may request you to get another X-ray done so that the spine can be visualized better for enhanced results.
During The Procedure
While a typical chiropractic adjustment is being carried out, your chiropractor will ask you to lie down in different orientations to treat affected areas. You can be positioned lying face down on a professionally designed bed, called the padded chiropractic table.
The chiropractor makes use of his or her hands to apply pressure. The pressure is applied in a controlled manner with a sudden force acting at a joint or any other musculoskeletal structure that has to be targeted.
The force pushes the ligament beyond its regular range of motion to improve flexibility. You may hear a cracking sound as your chiropractor tries to mobilize the joints during the session.
After The Procedure
Some people who undergo a chiropractic session experience minor side effects for a few days following the chiropractic adjustment. These side effects may include headaches, fatigue, or mild to moderate pain in parts of the body that were treated.
Why Should You Consider Chiropractic Treatment?
According to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), chiropractors treat not only back pain but also various other health conditions that include neck pain, headaches, and muscle, ligament, and joint injuries and musculoskeletal disorders.
Chiropractors offer a holistic approach to their clients by counseling them on a diet, nutrition, and healthy lifestyle habits. Chiropractor treatments generally comprise of six to 12 visits spaced out over two to four weeks.
Conservative pain management is stressed upon by the use of drugs and surgery, but a good chiropractor for back pain will refer their patients to other medical professionals if the issue is beyond the scope of their practice.
Chiropractors perform spinal manipulation through their hands or a device that applies light force or a stronger forceful thrust to readjust the bones in your neck and spine.
Spinal manipulation is typically most effective when performed in addition to other traditional therapies to overcome back pain.
- Cold and heat therapies
- Massage and Relaxation techniques
- Electrical activity or ultrasound
- Exercise and rehabilitation
- Patient education and awareness
Are There Any Risks Of Chiropractic Care?
There is minimal risk of injury following chiropractic treatment when being performed by a trained and licensed practitioner. Spinal manipulation offers fewer risks as compared to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Most of the side effects include mild aches, sore, or stiff muscles. This lasts for barely a day or two following the treatment. Some people may also experience temporary dizziness, headaches, or numbness after the appointment.
Although rare, chiropractic care can also have more serious side effects following chiropractic therapy.
- Spinal cord injury
- Spinal fluid leakage
- Herniated disc
- Worsening of an existing herniated disc
- Compression of nerves arising from the lower spine (cauda equina syndrome)
Neck manipulation carries a rare risk of causing a stroke because of the high-velocity rotation of the head, which causes a tear in an artery traveling through the neck. It is referred to as vertebral artery dissection (VAD). If a VAD is left untreated, it may impede blood flow to the brain, which causes a stroke.
Spinal manipulation isn’t the ultimate solution for everyone. If you have checked in with a chiropractor and your condition isn’t improving any further even after a few sessions, then you may need to visit your primary care doctor or see a specialist who can guide you further.