WHAT CAN A CHIROPRACTOR DO FOR ME?
Spinal manipulation is a gentle pressure applied to your spine to help relieve pain, increase mobility to your spine, and relax tight muscles. Spinal manipulation is safe and effective for low back pain when performed by a health professional with training in manipulation.
Chiropractors are doctors who specialize in the relief, correction and prevention of musculo-skeletal problems of the spine, peripheral joints and related areas. The emphasis of chiropractic care is not simply to relieve the immediate symptoms, but also to treat and correct the cause of the problem and to prevent further damage and injury.
Most patients originally consult chiropractors with complaints of back pain, neck pain and sciatica. Other musculo-skeletal conditions include strains, sprains, bursitis, tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, shinsplints, etc.
Chiropractors also have a great degree of success in treating many conditions that involve irritation of the spinal joints, ligaments, muscles and nerves, such as tension headaches, migraines, intercostal neuralgia, and radiating arm or shoulder pain.
Chiropractic care has also been shown of some benefit in the treatment of various conditions such as sinusitis, hyatus hernia, menstrual cramps, etc. The effectiveness of Chiropractic treatment for these problems is best explained by the effect it has on the Nervous System.
In Canada, the Chiropractic profession is the only one whose graduates are all trained in the full time practice of Manipulative Therapy. Practiced and perfected by chiropractors for the past 100 years, manipulative therapy is clinically proven to be one of the most effective methods of back care available.
In some provinces in Canada, Chiropractic is one of the health professions licenced and qualified to diagnose (the others being medicine, optometry, dentistry and psychology), and to have earned the title of "Doctor".
In addition, chiropractors are trained at taking and reading their own x-ray studies, or those brought in from radiology labs. In fact, some chiropractors train to become x-ray specialists in their own field.
Chiropractors are also trained to use therapies like exercise, rehabilitation, stretching, trigger point and massage techniques. In addition, many chiropractors use modalities like ultrasound, electro- and magneto-therapy, nutritional counselling and orthotics prescriptions.
HOW IS THE CHIROPRACTIC APPROACH DIFFERENT FROM OTHER TYPES OF TREATMENT?
Chiropractors are spinal wellness specialists, who pay particular attention to the proper function of the Nervous System. The brain, spinal cord and spinal nerves form this communication network, which is in charge of controling all organ functions, supervise tissue repairs and maintain good health.
Chiropractic medicine is commonly defined as a system of diagnosis and treatment that is based upon the concept that the nervous system coordinates all of the body's functions and argues that disease results from a lack of normal nerve function. Chiropractic medicine employs manipulation and specific adjustment of body structures such as the spinal column so that pressure on nerves coming from the spinal cord due to displacement (subluxation) of a vertebral body may, it is believed, cause problems not only in the back but also in other body parts, such as in the leg. Consequently, chiropractors work to manipulate the spine with their hands to realign the vertebrae and relieve the pressure on the nerves. Chiropractic treatment is proven to be effective for muscle spasms of the back and neck, tension headaches, and some sorts of leg pain.
Both the Canadian Chiropractic Association (CCA) and the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) advocate chiropractic medicine in conjunction with non-chiropractic medical treatments such as acupuncture and other forms of complimentary care. The CCA mandate for members is to “practice a drug-free, manual approach to health care that includes patient assessment, diagnosis and treatment. In particular, chiropractors assess patients for disorders related to the spine, pelvis, extremity joints, and their effect on the nervous system. As a result of taking a physical assessment and patient history, chiropractors are able to provide a differential diagnosis for the patient’s presenting condition(s) and develop a comprehensive treatment/management plan. Chiropractors are also trained to recommend therapeutic exercise, to utilize other non-invasive therapies, as well as to provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counselling”.
Chiropractic adjustment, also known as spinal manipulative therapy, is the most common form of treatment used by chiropractors in clinical practice. Adjustment is a carefully controlled procedure delivered by a skilled, highly trained practitioner to dysfunctional spinal or extremity joints. The primary goal of spinal manipulative therapy is to “decrease pain, improve areas of reduced movement in the joints and supporting tissues, particularly of the spine and decrease muscle tightness or spasm through the restoration of normal mechanics and improved functioning of the spine, extremities and supporting soft tissue structures (CCA)”.
Adjustment rarely causes discomfort. However, as it is a manually applied therapy, patients may sometimes experience mild soreness or aching following treatment for anywhere from 12 to 48 hours.
Chiropractors adapt procedures to meet the specific needs of each patient, such as children, pregnant women and older patients. Patients typically note positive changes in their symptoms immediately following treatment. The vast majority of patients who seek chiropractic health care do so for complaints of the musculoskeletal system, most often for conditions affecting the spine such as low back pain, neck pain and headaches and research studies have demonstrated that chiropractic treatment is effective for these conditions.
Until the last few decades, the greater medical communities in Canada and the United States (as well as most of the rest of the world) refused to acknowledge the efficacy of chiropractic treatment. Beginning in 1976, when the ACA won a lawsuit against the American Medical Association and other medical governing bodies, chiropractic medicine gradually began to gain acceptance in both the general population and the greater medical community.
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A doctor of chiropractic is a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of muscle and joint disorders. Treatment of back pain will often consist of spinal manipulation, soft-tissue massage, physiotherapy, exercise and application of heat or ice.