Annually, several million people around the world choose chiropractic care for natural, safe, and effective pain relief for their head, neck and back. They also seek a chiropractic solution for low energy levels, poor health, extremity pain, and more.
What is Chiropracty?
Chiropractic is a discipline which provides health care by emphasizing the inherent recuperative process of the human body to promote healing without the use of chemical drugs or invasive surgery.
A chiropractor focuses on the connection between the body’s structure (primarily the spine) and the body’s function (corresponding to the nervous system) and how that connection affects the restoration and preservation of the body’s health.
What is a Chiropractor?
Doctors of Chiropractic, also known as chiropractors or chiropractic physicians, practice a drug-free, hands-on, methodology to health care, which includes examining their patients, diagnosing their complaint and providing chiropractic treatment. Chiropractors have broad diagnostic skills and are also trained to recommend rehabilitative and therapeutic exercises, as well as to provide lifestyle, dietary and nutritional counseling.
Chiropractors assess patients through diagnostic imaging, laboratory testing, clinical examination and other diagnostic interventions to determine when chiropractic treatment is applicable or when it is inappropriate. Chiropractors will gladly refer their patients to the appropriate health care provider when a chiropractor is not a right fit for the patient’s condition, or the condition requires co-treatment protocols in concert with other healthcare providers.
With many patient complaints, such as lower back pain, a chiropractor’s care may be a patient’s best option for treatment. When additional medical conditions are present, a chiropractor’s services may support or complement medical treatment by providing relief of the musculoskeletal facets associated with the condition.
Like their Medical Doctor colleagues, chiropractors are subject to parameters regulated by community licensing boards established in national practice acts. Furthermore, their education is in extensive doctoral graduate school programs accredited by the nation in which they practice. After graduation, chiropractors must pass national board exams before receiving a chiropractic license. They must also maintain their license each year through continuing education.
The Goals of a Chiropractor
Good chiropractors will do everything possible to relieve their patient’s discomfort quickly – with as few treatments as possible – and advise on avoiding future episodes of sciatica, or back pain.
In the short term, the goal of a chiropractor is to help their patient find pain relief by the natural processes of the body while working to restore flexibility and mobility in certain joints suffering from strain or inflammation. As these conditions resolve because of consistent chiropractic adjustments, and additional treatment techniques, a chiropractor’s care begins to enter its long-term treatment phase. At this point, a patient may find improved mobility and their daily functions easier than before they started seeing their chiropractor.
A chiropractor will establish detailed goals for a patient’s personalized treatment plan:
- Short-term goals include restoring muscle balance and normal joint function, and reducing pain
- Long-term goals include tolerance to normal activities of daily living and restoring functional independence.
Multiple treatment sessions will be recommended to reach a patient’s personalized goals.
For most types of lower back pain, a treatment recommendation of one to three chiropractic sessions weekly for two to four weeks will be recommended, followed by a re-assessment after the prescribed treatment regimen is complete.
Because chiropractic treatments focus on the spinal region, many patients assume chiropractors treat only neck and back conditions. While chiropractors effectively eliminate neck and back pain quickly, it’s not the only benefit they provide. Their goal is to restore and improve human health.
How a Chiropractor Heals
You might be asking yourself how a chiropractor can effectively treat my back pain and improve my health? You can find the answer by understanding the relationship between the nervous system and the spine.
The nervous system is the central controller of your body’s organs, tissues, and living cells; coordinating and orchestrating the body’s cellular functions. The spinal column envelops the nervous system (nerve roots and spinal cord) and protects it.
Because of this close relationship, structural and biomechanical problems in the spinal column can aggravate parts of the encased nervous system. This irritation may result from direct mechanical pressure or a tissue injury releasing noxious inflammatory biochemicals. Either way, the function of the nervous system is negatively affected, as are organs, tissue and cell functions, which are supplied by the affected nerve.
The discomfort and condition depend on the organs, tissues and cell affected as well as to what extent of the nervous system was compromised.
Now because the body’s recuperative powers are integrated through and affected by the nervous system, the treatment of spinal abnormalities which irritate the nervous system can lead to several positive results in patients suffering from various non-spinal conditions.
Chiropractic treatment is mainly locating and treating vertebral subluxations.
A vertebral subluxation is a complex of pathological, structural, or functional articular (joint) changes which compromise neural integrity and may influence general health and organ system function.
Using training and practical skill, the chiropractor checks the patient’s spine for any abnormalities, fixations, or misalignments. If any are detected, the chiropractor will apply a gentle force to correct the affected spinal area.
Chiropractors use multiple techniques specialized to detect and treat these spinal abnormalities and optimize your overall health. In addition to spinal adjustive techniques, your chiropractor will employ lifestyle modification programs, physical therapies, nutritional and dietary counseling and soft tissue techniques such as massage.
There are several distinctive chiropractic techniques. Some chiropractors use various instruments while others perform joint manipulation with their hands only. Also, some chiropractors treat while using a light, gentle touch, while others prefer using quick but firm manipulation.
Some patients favor the instantaneous feeling of pain relief offered by the spinal manipulation of joint popping, while others recoil at the sheer thought and favor a low-force chiropractic technique.
Summarily, individual preferences of both the patient and chiropractor are the principle driving force of chiropractic treatment.
How a Chiropractor Differs from a Medical Doctor
There is an important and significant difference between the method medical doctors and chiropractors approach healthcare.
With patient evaluation and treatment, chiropractors take a holistic approach which includes identifying and correcting the cause of the patient’s health condition. In contrast, the medical doctor’s treatments tend to focus more on the symptoms rather than the cause.
Chiropractors believe that correcting the cause of the problem provides significant long-term benefits over only treating the symptoms.
Chiropractors want the best for their patients regarding pain relief and quality of life. They also want to ensure indefinite results without infinite treatments.
They advise how to avoid future problems by evaluating diet, orthotics, posture, ergonomics and lifestyle activities. Proactive recommendations include dietary support; orthotics; home rehabilitation tools like a foam roller, elastic bands; ergonomic tools like back supports, belts, or pillows; and exercises and stretches.
When improvement is realized, a reduction of treatment will be implemented with the introduction of home-based and self-help treatments. If improvement is not forthcoming, a change in treatment should be considered and alternative therapy options introduced.
The Benefits of a Chiropractor’s Care
Occasional and regular visits to a chiropractor have multiple benefits including:
- Decreased tissue inflammation
- Improved tissue healing
- Reduced risk of injury and degeneration
- Increased balance and coordination
- Increased sense of relaxation and well being
- Increased performance and energy
- Increased joint health
- Arthritic joint relief
- Decreased muscular spasms and stiffness
- Increased mobility and range of motion
- Headache relief
- Spinal and extremity pain relief
Are you ready to schedule a chiropractic consultation with one of the premier chiropractors in our network? At Leading Medical Clinics of the World®, we’ve already narrowed it down to the best of the best healthcare providers in your area. Now, all you must do is find the chiropractor that you feel will help you to achieve your specific goals!
What does a chiropractor treat?
Chiropractors care for patients of all ages treating multiple health conditions. Chiropractors are well known for their expertise in caring for patients with headaches, neck pain, and back pain, with skilled chiropractic adjustments or manipulations. They treat a wide range of disorders and injuries of the musculoskeletal system, involving the joints, ligaments and muscles. These painful conditions often impact or involve the nervous system, which may cause referred dysfunction and pain distant from the area of injury. The benefits of a chiropractor’s care extend to general health issues since the body structure affects our bodily functions. Chiropractors also advise patients on lifestyle modification, healthy habits, nutrition and diet and exercise.
Can a patient who had back surgery seek a chiropractor?
Yes. Unfortunately, more than 50% of those who had back surgery experience a return of discomfort. This pain is known as “failed back surgery syndrome.” A chiropractor’s treatment may prevent revision back surgeries.
How do I select a chiropractor?
The best way is to use our directory for your area. Leading Medical Clinics of the World® researches and picks the best chiropractors in communities around the world using stringent factors and qualifications.
Does seeing a chiropractor require a referral from an MD?
No, a referral is usually not needed to see a chiropractor. However, health plans sometimes have specific referral requirements. You may want to contact your health insurance company to inquire what protocols must be followed to receive coverage.
Is a chiropractor’s care okay for children?
Yes, children can benefit from a chiropractor’s care. Children can suffer injury or have inherent issues that require the services and talents of a chiropractor. Chiropractic care is personalized to each patient, child or adult. It is a highly skilled treatment, and in the case of children, very gentle and appropriate.
Can chiropractors practice in hospitals or medical outpatient facilities?
Chiropractors received hospital privileges first in 1983. They are recognized to admit and treat patients in outpatient clinics and hospitals and use lab work, x-rays, etc. for their patients not hospitalized.
Do insurance plans cover a chiropractor?
Yes. Most healthcare plans cover chiropractic care – Blue Cross, Blue Shield for federal employees, Medicaid, Medicare, worker’s compensation and major medical. Chiropractic care is also available to veterans at more than 60 major veteran’s medical facilities, at more than 60 military bases and to active-duty members of the armed forces.
How is a chiropractic adjustment performed?
Chiropractic manipulation or adjustment is a manual procedure which manipulates the joints of the body to restore or enhance joint function. This procedure often helps reduce pain and resolve inflammation. Chiropractic manipulation is a controlled maneuver which rarely causes discomfort. The chiropractor adjusts the procedure to meet the current need of each patient. Patients often cite positive changes immediately the following procedure.