What is chiropractic care, and how can it help you?
What is chiropractic care?
Chiropractic care is a type of alternative medicine that focuses on diagnosing and treating mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, particularly the spine. Proponents of chiropractic care believe these disorders affect general health via the nervous system.
The history of chiropractic treatment
The practice of chiropractic care is thought to have begun in the late 1800s when a man named Daniel David Palmer began offering treatments for back pain. Palmer believed these disorders could be treated without surgery or drugs by manipulating the spine.
What is the musculoskeletal system?
The musculoskeletal system comprises the bones, joints, muscles, and connective tissues that support the body. It allows us to move, protects our organs, and gives our bodies shape.
Education, licensing and regulation of chiropractors in Ontario
For chiropractors to be licensed in Ontario, they must:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Have completed high school or equivalent
- Have completed an accredited 4-year chiropractic program
- Pass provincial and national exams
How do chiropractors offer complementary and integrative health?
Chiropractors often work with other healthcare providers to offer complementary and integrative health. This means that chiropractors take a holistic approach to medicine, focusing on the whole person – mind, body, and spirit.
This type of care aims to treat the underlying cause of the disease, not just the symptoms. This approach often includes lifestyle counselling, nutritional advice, and stress reduction.
Research on the effectiveness of complementary and integrative health
A review of the evidence on the effectiveness of complementary and integrative health found that:
- Chiropractic care is effective for treating low back pain
- Massage therapy is effective for treating neck pain and headaches
- Acupuncture is effective for treating pain
- Yoga is effective for treating chronic low back pain
Chiropractors use a variety of techniques.
There are many different types of chiropractic techniques, and not all chiropractors use the same techniques.
Some common techniques include:
• Manual manipulation. This is the most common type of chiropractic technique. It involves using the hands to apply pressure and manipulate the joints and muscles.
• Adjustment instruments. These devices are sometimes used to provide a more gentle form of manual manipulation.
• Rehabilitation exercises. These exercises can help improve range of motion and strengthen the muscles and joints.
Is chiropractic care safe?
Chiropractic care is generally considered safe when trained and licensed chiropractors perform it. However, is always a risk of side effects, such as pain, bruising, or discomfort during spinal manipulation therapy.
Benefits of seeing chiropractors for neck pain
One of the most common reasons people visit chiropractors is for relief from neck pain. A study published in 2015 in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that chiropractic care was an effective treatment for cervical spine-related headaches and neck pain.
A 2016 systematic review and meta-analysis concluded that chiropractic care might help reduce pain and improve function in people with neck pain.
Another systematic review published in 2011 found that chiropractic care effectively treated musculoskeletal and nervous system conditions, particularly back pain.
What are chiropractic adjustments?
A chiropractic adjustment is the primary form of treatment used by chiropractors. Chiropractic adjustments aim to improve joint function and range of motion.
A chiropractic adjustment involves using the hands or a small instrument to apply a controlled, sudden force to a joint. This force helps improve the alignment of the joints and relieves pressure on the surrounding muscles and nerves.
What happens during a chiropractic adjustment?
During a chiropractic adjustment, the practitioner will:
- Examine the patient’s spine and joints
- Identify the areas that are not functioning properly
- Apply a controlled force to the joints that are not moving correctly
- Manipulate the joints into their proper position
After the adjustment, the practitioner will often provide exercises or stretches to help maintain the new alignment.
Who can get a chiropractic adjustment?
Chiropractic adjustments are safe for people of all ages. However, infants and children may be more susceptible to side effects from chiropractic adjustments.
Pregnant women should also take caution when considering chiropractic care. Some chiropractic techniques can cause discomfort or pain for pregnant women. It is always best to consult a healthcare provider before getting any chiropractic adjustment.
What happens after a chiropractic adjustment?
After a chiropractic adjustment, most people feel relief from their pain. Some people may experience temporary side effects, such as:
It is important to drink plenty of water after chiropractic adjustments to help flush out toxins that were released during the treatment.
Exercises to do after a chiropractic adjustment
Several exercises can help improve range of motion and reduce pain after a chiropractic adjustment. Some of these exercises include:
- Neck rolls
- Shoulder shrugs
- Head tilts
- Arm circles
What is spinal manipulation?
Spinal manipulation is a type of chiropractic adjustment. Spinal manipulation involves using the hands to apply a controlled, sudden force to the spine’s joints. The goal of spinal manipulation is to improve joint function and range of motion.
Benefits of spinal manipulation and chiropractic adjustment
Chiropractic spinal manipulation and adjustment have been found to provide several health benefits, including:
- Pain relief
- Improved range of motion
- Increased flexibility
- Decreased stiffness
- Improved nervous system function
Does a spinal manipulation or other chiropractic treatments hurt?
No. A spinal manipulation and other chiropractic treatments are generally gentle and relaxing. However, some people may experience temporary side effects, such as:
It is important to drink plenty of water after a chiropractic treatment to help flush out toxins that were released during the treatment.
Do all patients require a spinal manipulation?
No. Not all patients require a spinal manipulation. Chiropractors will tailor the treatment to each individual patient’s needs.
How often do I need to see a chiropractor for adjustments?
The frequency of chiropractic adjustments varies from person to person. Some people may only need a few adjustments, while others may need to see a chiropractor on a regular basis.
Do chiropractors have specialities in their practice?
Yes, some chiropractors do have specialities within their practice. For example, there are sports chiropractors who focus on treating athletes and there are paediatric chiropractors who focus on treating children. However, most chiropractors treat a variety of conditions and patients of all ages.
Differences between chiropractic care and other treatments
What is the difference between an MD and a DO?
An MD (Doctor of Medicine) is a traditional medical degree (medical doctors). Students who want to become an MD must complete four years of undergraduate study, followed by four years of medical school. After medical school, they must complete a residency program.
DOs (Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine) complete a similar education path as MDs. In addition to their medical training, DOs also receive training in the musculoskeletal system. This additional training gives DOs a better understanding of how the body works and how it can heal itself.
Chiropractors vs. osteopaths
Chiropractors and osteopaths are both health care providers who focus on the musculoskeletal system. Chiropractors primarily use spinal manipulation to treat patients, while osteopaths may use a variety of treatment methods, including medication, surgery, and lifestyle counseling.
Chiropractors vs. physiotherapists
Physiotherapy is a type of physical therapy that uses exercises and other treatments to improve movement and function. Chiropractic care is a type of alternative medicine that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. while both professions focus on treating patients with musculoskeletal problems, they use different methods to do so.
Chiropractors vs. acupuncturists
Acupuncture is a type of alternative medicine that involves inserting thin needles into the body to relieve pain. Chiropractors don’t use acupunctre needles for chiropractic services.
Chiropractors vs. massage therapists
Massage therapy is a type of alternative medicine that involves using touch to relieve pain. Chiropractors don’t use massage for chiropractic services.
What are some common misconceptions about chiropractic care and chiropractors?
Some common misconceptions about chiropractic care include that it is only for back pain, that it is dangerous, and that it is not covered by insurance. These are all untrue. Chiropractic care can be used to treat a variety of conditions, and it is a safe and effective treatment option. Most insurance plans cover chiropractic services.
Common misconceptions about chiropractors are that they are not real doctors, and that they’re only interested in money. These are both untrue. A Chiropractor is a licensed health care professional who has completed a rigorous chiropractic education and training program. They are experts in the field of musculoskeletal disorders and can provide safe and effective care for their patients.
What are some common side effects of chiropractic care?
The most common side effect of chiropractic care is soreness or pain in the treated area. This is usually temporary and should resolve within a few days. Other potential side effects include headaches, fatigue, and dizziness. However, these side effects are rare and typically resolve quickly.
What are the risks of chiropractic care?
The risks of chiropractic care are generally low. However, as with any type of medical treatment, there is always a small risk of complications or adverse reactions. These risks can include headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. However, serious complications are rare.
When is it time to see a chiropractor?
If you are experiencing any of the following, it may be time to see a chiropractor:
- Chronic pain
- Limited range of motion
- Back pain
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
- Muscle spasms
- Posture problems
What to expect during the first visit
During the first visit, chiropractors will take a medical history and perform a physical exam. They may also order X-rays or other imaging tests to help diagnose the problem. Afterward, chiropractors will develop a treatment plan. This plan may include spinal manipulations, chiropractic adjustments, exercises, and lifestyle changes.