Your Guide to Chiropractic Care
If the word ‘Chiropractor’ is a mystery to you, never fear. You’re not alone.
I recently asked a few people what they thought a chiropractor was and their responses went something like this:
The person who cracks your back?
I’ve heard they give good massages…
Don’t they twist your spine to fix something?
While there is an element of truth in these responses, the answer is much more detailed. Chiropractors are proven to help you with your back pain, muscle strains, sporting injuries or even some types of headache pain.
What is Chiropractic?
The Australian Government categorises chiropractic care under alternative therapy, despite chiropractors being primary healthcare practitioners. With recent research surfacing about how bad painkillers and conventional medicines may be for your body, a lot of people have turned to more natural methods of pain treatment.
At its core, chiropractic treatment is based on disorders of your body’s musculoskeletal system and how these disorders effect the function of the nervous system and general health.
Chiropractors provide adjustments to:
- Relieve feelings of pain
- Increase joint range of motion, helping you move more freely
- Improve your biomechanics, allowing you to function at more optimal levels
The origin of the word ‘chiropractor’ originated from the Greek words ‘cheir’ meaning hands and ‘praxis’ meaning practice. You could say that it is a hands-on practice (pun intended).
Your Musculoskeletal System
Its quite simple.
Your musculoskeletal system consists of your spinal cord and muscles (obviously) along with joints, tendons, ligaments and everything else that holds them together. When any part of this system is not in the correct position or is restricted, you may feel pain.
When your chiropractor treats problematic areas, the pain is reduced and normal range of motion restored. This may happen in as little as one visit or may take many months of treatment.
Concern About Chiropractors
Many people may be worried and slightly scared about seeing a chiropractor. Back cracking, spinal manipulation and similar terms conjure up scary images and thoughts. But you shouldn’t be worried. They are not going to cut you up and move your bones around ‘Frankenstein’ style.
Chiropractors use a range of tools (again, not Frankenstein-esque tools) to determine the problem areas in your musculoskeletal system. They then apply force (sometimes gently, sometimes with more power) with their hands to help take pressure of problematic areas and to restore a more natural alignment to your spine.
There are numerous studies that show chiropractic therapy helps treat many of the common ailments you face today, which is why it’s recommended going to see a chiropractor if you are facing any of the issues listed below.
Video: Can a Chiropractor Help My Pain?
Why Should You See A Chiropractor?
You should definitely consider visiting a chiropractor if any of the following are relevant to you:
- You have chronic back pain
- You have muscle pain or muscular tension
- You suffer from migraines or regular headaches
- You have a stiff neck
- You want to avoid using conventional painkillers for musculoskeletal pains
- You want to try natural approaches to health and healing
- You injured yourself while playing a sport
- You want advice on posture correction
- You experience joint pain
If you still aren’t sure how a chiropractor may help you, why not give your local clinic a call (like New World Chiro) and ask to speak with the chiropractor before booking in a consultation.
What Can A Chiropractor Diagnose?
Chiropractors can diagnose a range of musculoskeletal health problems. Not limited to this, chiropractors can also advise on a range of health conditions or may refer out to more appropriate health professionals in different cases. The range of mechanical disorders that chiropractors provide diagnosis, treatment and preventative care for include:
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Headaches and migraines
- Strains and sprains from daily activities or more strenuous work/sport injuries
- Overuse injuries (repetitive strain injury – RSI)
- Arthritis and joint pain
- Herniated or bulging disc
- Restricted movement across your back, neck, shoulders or limbs
Are Chiropractic Treatments Safe?
Chiropractic adjustments are usually safe, although no medical treatment is ever without risk entirely. There may be some short term side effects after a chiropractic adjustment, such as feeling dizzy, light-headed or having more pain or stiffness afterwards. Because your body is being adjusted, often after many years of poor posture habits or injury, it is no surprise that you may feel some of these things.
Having said that, many patients feel great after their adjustment. That is because it takes pressure of stuck areas and helps to relieve feelings of pain.
The different types of chiropractic treatments that may be used include:
- Chiropractic adjustments or manipulation – hands on application of force to a joint
- Mobilisations – gentle movement of joint to increase its range of motion
- Stretching and specific exercises
- Heat or ice therapy
- Soft tissue massage (not all chiropractors do this)
- Posture and lifestyle advice – very important because if your pain complaint is caused by a preventable posture problem, such as slouching in front of a computer all day, adopting better posture habits can alleviate the cause of the pain
- Orthotic devices – shoe inserts that support your feet while levelling up your hips
- Back braces or other posture correction accessories
How Often Should You Get A Chiropractic Adjustment?
How often should you have a chiropractic adjustment? There is no one answer to this common question. It depends on the type of disorder or pain you are experiencing, how long you have had it for, your age, fitness levels and a range of other factors.
Your chiropractor can provide recommendations for treatment, including frequency of care, other modalities to tie into a treatment program and home based exercises and therapy.
I hope that answers your questions on ‘what exactly does a chiropractor do’. Next time someone asks what a chiropractor does, refer them back to this article.
Feel free to leave comments asking questions or leaving advice, it is much appreciated.
Contribution by Rutesha M.K.
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