Does your back hurt? Have a nagging issue with a frozen neck? Join the club. Or don’t join the club and go see a chiropractor instead.
Chiropractors specialize in manipulating and organizing the spinal column, as well as other joints, of the body by hand. By analyzing and manipulating the position of the spine, chiropractors aim to resolve problems with the musculoskeletal system, including issues with the bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons.
Chiropractic adjustments, as treatments are normally called, involves manual pressure by the chiropractor on the back and neck, and less commonly your arms and legs. You may feel some discomfort or feel your spine “crack” as the vertebrae are moved.
If it is your first time with the chiropractor, he will do a general health assessment, asking about your symptoms, family medical history and your own previous injuries and pre-existing health conditions. He may also conduct some medical tests, such as MRIs or X-rays. You will typically wear a hospital gown during the examination and adjustment.
After the exam and adjustment, the chiropractor may recommend exercises or complementary treatments like massage.
The theory behind chiropractic medicine is that adjusting the spinal column and other joints strengthens the body’s nervous system, thus allowing the body’s bones, joints, connective tissue and muscles to work together more harmoniously and promoting healing. Chiropractors do not prescribe medicine.
Types of Chiropractors
The American Chiropractic Association sponsors diplomate programs, further optional specializations for chiropractors. These specialties include
- Acupuncture – for chiropractors who wish to incorporate needle and electro-acupuncture into their practice
- Forensics – for chiropractors who wish to apply their medical knowledge to legal issues
- Internal diagnostics – Chiropractors who train in diagnosing and treating internal issues
- Neurology – Allows chiropractors to consult on neurological issues
- Nutrition – Accredits chiropractors to add nutritional counseling to their practice
- Occupational health –Specialization in treating workplace injuries through chiropractic
- Orthopedics – Deeper knowledge of the function of nerves, bones, muscles and neurological components
- Pediatrics – Chiropractors who specialize in treating children Philosophical chiropractic standards – a deeper investigation of the role of chiropractic in managing health
- Radiology – A specialty in interpreting radiology tests such as the MRI
- Rehabilitation – Chiropractors who specialize in physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Sports – A deep emphasis on treating athletes and sports injuries and stresses
- Upper cervical spine – Chiropractors who specifically focus on neck issues
Benefits Of Chiropractic Services
Chiropractic care is one of the most popular treatments for acute back and neck complaints and headaches, including pain, tingling and tenderness. People with fibromyalgia, sciatica, TMJ and carpal tunnel syndrome may also receive relief from chiropractic adjustment. Pregnant women may also choose chiropractic care to relieve the physical stresses of pregnancy and to control nausea.
Preparation: First of all, make sure your chiropractor is fully licensed. He or she should have a state license and have graduated with a D.C. (a Doctor of Chiropractic) from one of the 16 accredited academic institutions in the United States.
Many chiropractors also specialize, so if you have an issue related to sports injuries, for example, you might choose a chiropractor with a subspecialty (called a diplomate) in sports medicine. Other diplomates include pediatrics and acupuncture.