Chiropractic Care for Neck & Back Pain
Chiropractic treatment is the most popular complementary medical treatment for back pain. In fact, about 30 million Americans visit chiropractors annually. Of these, 35% are seeking relief from back pain caused by accidents, sports injuries, and muscle strains. Patients also frequently rely on chiropractic for relief from headaches, as well as neck, arm and leg pain.
What Does Chiropractic Treatment for Back Pain Involve?
A chiropractor first takes your medical history, performs a physical examination, and may then order lab tests or diagnostic imaging to determine what kind of treatment is appropriate for your back & neck pain.
The treatment plan often involves one or more manual adjustments in which the doctor uses quick, controlled force to manipulate your joints to improve range and quality of motion. Many chiropractors also include nutritional counseling and exercise/rehabilitation into the treatment plan to further improve your long-term physical resilience. Besides back pain relief, the goals of chiropractic care are always to restore full function and prevent future injury.
What Are the Benefits and Risks of Chiropractic Care?
Chiropractic spinal manipulation is generally considered a safe, effective treatment for acute low back pain that may result from a heavy lifting or sports-related back injury. Though acute pack pain typically resolves within six weeks, that is a long time to suffer unnecessarily. Chiropractic treatment can accelerate the healing process.
Research demonstrates that chiropractic is also often helpful in treating both neck pain, back pain and headaches. Osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia are among the other conditions that respond well both to chiropractic treatment as well as deep tissue massage.
There are times, however, when chiropractic treatment may not be advisable. For example, people who have osteoporosis, spinal cord compression, or inflammatory arthritis, or who take blood-thinning medications should not undergo spinal manipulation. In addition, patients with a history of cancer should first obtain clearance from their medical doctor before any chiropractic treatment.
Chiropractic treatment should only proceed after a thorough, accurate diagnosis of your musculoskeletal pain. Your chiropractor needs to be fully informed about your medical history, any ongoing medical conditions, current medications, traumatic/surgical history, and lifestyle factors. Although rare, there have been cases in which treatment aggravated a herniated or slipped disc, resulting in stroke or spinal cord injury. To be safe, always inform your primary health care provider whenever you are considering using chiropractic or any other alternative pain relief therapy.