Chiropractors try to correct or improve the body’s alignment to relieve pain and enhance function and to help the body repair itself.
While the pillar of Chiropractic care is spinal manipulation, it now incorporates a wide variety of other treatments, including:
- Manual therapies
- Nutritional consultation
- Postural and exercise education
- Ergonomic training (how to sit, stand, and walk to limit back strain)
And even laser and ultrasound treatments.
Synergy Between Medical Disciplines
Also, Chiropractors today often work in tandem with primary care doctors, surgeons, and pain experts to treat patients experiencing discomfort.
Most research on Chiropractic is focused on spinal manipulation for back ailments. Chiropractic care for many other problems—including headaches, fibromyalgia, asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other musculoskeletal pain —has also been studied.
A recent review indicated that spinal manipulation might be helpful for whiplash, migraine, neck pain, and back pain.
There have been reports of severe complications, including stroke, following spinal manipulation of the neck, although it is very rare and some studies suggest this unfortunate side effect may not be directly caused by the treatment.
Utilizing Spinal Manipulation Techniques
“Spinal manipulation” is a general term used for any therapeutic activity involving the spine, but used more accurately it is the application of quick, but intense pressure on a joint between two vertebrae.
That pressure rotates or twists the joint beyond its normal spectrum of motion and causes a sharp cracking noise. That distinct sound is believed to be due to the breaking of a vacuum or the release of a bubble into the synovial fluid (the thick, clear fluid that lubricates the spinal and other joints).
Spinal manipulation can be done by pushing on the vertebrae directly, or indirectly by twisting the neck or upper part of the body. It should be done to one joint at a time.
Chiropractors and other practitioners achieve this by positioning the body, so the force they exert is focused on one joint, while the joints above and below it are held very still.
Most spinal manipulation treatments take somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes and are initially scheduled two or three times a week. You should notice improvements in your symptoms in a few weeks.
Also, a Chiropractor may advise you to change your biomechanics and posture, and suggest other treatments and techniques.
At the end of the day, the ultimate goal of Chiropractic care is to help alleviate pain and help patients manage their condition at home.