Chiropractor | Chiropractors
Chiropractors are back specialists who specialize in the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions through the use of manipulations of the spine, as well as the soft tissues of the body. Chiropractors are board certified to perform chiropractic care. Though chiropractors are best known for treating back pain related to back and spine conditions, they are experts in the treatment of all arthritis and orthopedic conditions. Like the medical profession, chiropractic care is often covered by medical insurance.
Unlike the medical profession, chiropractors are not qualified to prescribe medicine. Like the medical profession, chiropractors may be qualified to order diagnostic testing for patients such as X-Rays, MRI, and CT scan. Chiropractors aren't qualified to perform back surgery or pain management procedures such as epidural/steroid injections. Chiropractors are trained in the arts of back exercises and physical therapy, and may provide patients with exercises that they may be able to perform at home between chiropractic appointments. Today, doctors and chiropractors are much more likely to work together for their primary care and complementary care than they were 25 years ago.
4 out of 5 people have back pain at some point in their lives. Some of these patients go directly to doctors when they experience back pain, and some find their way into Chiropractic offices after medical treatments that they sought out have failed to provide enough relief. According to a 2007 study, between 6-12% of all people in the US receive chiropractic care every year, which amounts to about 18-36 million total chiropractic visits per year.
Chiropractic is a profession that embraces medical science and the holistic healing arts, such as alternative therapies - more so than you expect from western doctors. Chiropractors vary in the types of alternative therapies that they are aware of and recommend, so selecting the right chiropractor for your condition may be a challenge.
Chiropractors are professionally trained to recognize muscle imbalances and misalignments of the joints in the body that may not shore up in standard medical imaging tests - such as X-rays and MRIs. X-Rays are good at showing the curvature of the spine - be it normal or abnormal, detail about the health of the vertebral bones, and the thickness of the discs between the spinal bones. These types of medical tests are good at showing obvious signs of degeneration of the discs and abnormal curvatures of the spine. What these types of tests are not as good at is presenting more subtle displacements of the structures of the spine. When joints become severely pushed out of position, the condition is known as a dislocation. These types of joint problems are obvious to see on an X-Ray or MRI, or when doctors manually put their hands on their patients. What chiropractors, as opposed to doctors, are more likely to look for are more subtle slight dislocations to the joints that they describe as subluxations. Chiropractors describe vertebral subluxations as the cause of many cases of back pain, and treat the patients accordingly, using manual adjustment techniques that are designed to put the spine back into its ideal position.
The minor displacements of the vertebra may be caused by over-exertion of the muscles, pressures and lifting movements that overload the spine, muscle tension, and falls. Patients may experience back pain when these minor displacements occur, and relief when the body's healing mechanisms are able to realign all of the components of the spine back into their correct position. In some cases, though, these misalignments may remain after some time has passed. These minor displacements may cause irritation to the nerve roots and affect a patient's reflexes and muscles. Chiropractic care may be beneficial to these types of patients to correct the underlying problem causing the back pain.
The types of treatments that chiropractors use to treat these types of problems are known as mobilization and spinal manipulation. These are non-surgical solutions to mechanical back pain conditions.
Chiropractors treat patients with the following orthopedic and joint pain conditions:
Most of the orthopedic conditions mentioned above involve wear and tear or injury to one or more of the structures of the musculoskeletal system or nervous system (neuromusculoskeletal disorders). Chiropractors are also trained to treat other types of problems that cause pain in a patient's body.
- Arthritis related pain
- Car accident related pain and complications
- Neck Pain
- Low Back Pain
- Repetitive Use Injuries (Repetitive Strains)
- Sports Injuries
Fundamental belief and goals of chiropractic care: The primary purpose of chiropractic care related to the spine is to re-establish spinal mobility. Chiropractors believe that this disruption of spinal mobility is one of the more common causes of back pain. As spinal mobility is re-established, a patient's reflexes will return to normal and a patient's back pain and stiffness will resolve.
During a chiropractic examination, a chiropractor will examine the bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles throughout the spine, taking care to look for any points of muscle tension and trigger points, as well as any asymmetry that is present. When asymmetries are discovered, chiropractors will perform chiropractic adjustments. Chiropractic manipulation involves quick high velocity arm thrusts that are applied to the affected vertebra, to move it back into its proper position.