Whether you’ve never visited a chiropractor or you’re a staunch advocate of your weekly adjustment, it pays to learn the full scope of what conditions these medical professionals can treat.
Humans tend to pigeonhole people and ideas into very narrow spaces based on whatever our first or strongest impression is. In the case of chiropractors, that’s usually the fact that they treat problems of the spine. This is true, of course, but it’s also only a small part of what they can do. And, if you have less than a PhD in anatomy, you likely don’t realize just how much of an impact a simple spinal adjustment can have.
So, with that in mind, let’s dive into three treatment categories your chiropractor can help with:
Most people recognize that your spine can come out of alignment over time, and that a chiropractor can put it right again by “cracking your back” — what professionals call spinal manipulation.
That is absolutely true. But, Doctors of Chiropractic are actually experts in the alignment of the entire skeletal system. Their focus is on restoring proper alignment of all the bones in order to relieve pressure, restore full range of motion, and promote healing. They’re also able to treat issues centered in the muscles, joints, connective tissue, and nerves, as well.
As such, they can perform manipulations on nearly any part of the body, not just the spine. And, beyond manipulation, chiropractors will also use other treatments and devices you may more readily identify with physical therapists. These include heat, ice, ultrasounds, lasers, and more.
Chronic and acute pain
In most cases, the chiropractor’s goal is to relieve the patient’s acute or chronic pain. That’s not news to you. Most patients are first directed to a chiropractor to treat some combination of lower back and neck pain. But, what many people don’t realize is how many different kinds of pain chiropractic care can treat.
Through skeletal manipulation and other chiropractic treatments, chiropractors can relieve pain associated with:
- Strains and sprains
- Skeletal misalignment
- Sports injuries
- … and more.
Medicine hasn’t yet settled on the underlying mechanism behind why chiropractic care helps. Many proponents believe the adjustments help increase the mobility of the joint, which can restore function and allow surrounding tissues to heal, which in turn relieves pain. Others think it may actually change the way your central nervous system processes pain.
Stress and anxiety
Of course, your nervous system involves a lot more than pain response. It’s inextricably linked to other electrochemical systems throughout the body, including the endocrine and immune systems. So, if something is affecting any other system in the body, the nervous system is impacted.
Nearly every nerve signal in your body finds its way, at some point, through the spinal cord. It’s the superhighway containing nearly every message sent out by your brain and every bit of sensory input sent to it. And, nothing can cause a traffic jam on that superhighway quite like stress and anxiety.
The negative impact of stress on health and wellness is well documented. From heart disease and stroke to indigestion to depression, it hurts you in a thousand different ways. But, your chiropractor can help. Although few clinical studies have been completed thus far to measure the body’s level of cortisol — the so-called stress hormone — existing results do concur that spinal manipulation may directly impact cortisol secretion and regulation in patients. Even without the numbers to prove it, however, thousands of satisfied patients make a strong anecdotal argument that going to the chiropractor helps relieve their stress and anxiety.
Chiropractic adjustment can help release muscular tension — much like a good massage — which naturally tends to build up when you’re stressed or anxious. This physical relaxation naturally urges the mind to release mental and emotional tension as well. Spinal manipulation can also reduce spinal nerve irritation and improve blood circulation along the spinal column. This signals your brain to turn off the “fight or flight” response that’s constantly firing when we’re stressed out.
So, have you ever dealt with any kind of pain, musculoskeletal injury, or stress? Then you may want to consider visiting a chiropractor today.