The first time most people see a chiropractor, it is often because they have injured themselves or are experiencing acute pain. This is certainly something a chiropractor can help with, but you may be surprised to find that you keep returning for adjustments even after the original issue has been resolved. When you find a skilled full-body adjustment chiropractor, it is hard to deny the range of benefits, from lessening symptoms to improved overall health. You may even find something you thought was unrelated, like constant headaches, to be helped, or notice less reliance on pain medication. Whatever brings you to the chiropractor, there is always more to know about the profession and what full-body chiropractic care can do for you.
A chiropractor is a medical professional who is trained to care for the muscles, bones, and joints in the body by focusing on spinal alignment and the central nervous system. Unlike other doctors, chiropractors are not specialists in performing surgery or other invasive procedures. Instead, they use a series of natural techniques and complementary treatments in order to treat patients. While a chiropractor can administer a range of treatments, the most common one you will experience is an adjustment. Any other methods are usually used in addition to the chiropractic adjustment, which is the main skill chiropractors will be trained in.
In a chiropractic adjustment, the chiropractor will apply controlled, sudden pressure to the spine, neck, hips, shoulders, or other body parts as needed. This process is also known as spinal manipulation, and the goal is to improve spinal motion and the body’s physical function by returning the spine to alignment over time.
You may wonder why this is called a full-body adjustment when only specific areas of the body are adjusted by a chiropractor. This is because the spine is tightly integrated with the nervous system, which branches out through the entire body, meaning that when the spine is not functioning properly, it can have widespread effects. So while a chiropractor may focus their energy on the spine, it is having an impact on your whole body.
The most common reason people visit a chiropractor for the first time is that they are experiencing back or neck pain that is not responding to other treatments and home remedies. Any time you are experiencing pain, including pain in the rest of the body, a chiropractor may be a good fit. This includes people who have suffered a known injury, such as an athlete who is suddenly in pain or someone who was recently in a car accident.
Even if you are not experiencing bone or muscle pain, there are a range of ailments that chiropractors are experienced in treating. Some symptoms and conditions that may benefit from chiropractic care include:
There are also people who visit the chiropractor even when nothing is wrong with their health or body. This is because chiropractic care is well known as an excellent preventative treatment for many things. By keeping the spine aligned and the nervous system functioning properly, many issues can be avoided, from illness to injury. A body that is aligned is less likely to be subject to injuries, as it will have improved flexibility and range of motion.
Almost anyone, from birth to old age, can benefit from chiropractic care. Few conditions, like severe osteoporosis, would preclude you from treatment. A chiropractor will also discuss your medical history with you prior to any adjustments to ensure you are a good candidate.
If you are suffering from a known condition or in severe and immediate pain, you may seek out other care before considering a chiropractor. However, even during treatment for serious illnesses, a chiropractor may become part of a holistic care plan.
Before adjusting you, a chiropractor will go through a consultation with each new patient. This includes a discussion of your medical history, family history, and any symptoms that may have brought you into the office that day. In addition to this discussion, they will likely perform a physical exam in order to feel your spine and joints and determine where misalignments may be present. Some chiropractors will also take x-rays and perform other diagnostic scans, which help them understand your body’s current state and develop concrete goals for your treatment moving forward.
Once you have agreed on goals and a treatment plan, you can begin adjustments. It is true that you will need multiple adjustments to achieve the full benefits of chiropractic care, though you may notice some results after one session.
For an adjustment, you will be asked to lie down on a special table, usually face down. The table has special springs and drops built into it to accommodate the adjustment. When you are settled, the chiropractor will begin applying pressure using their hands and other tools to adjust your back. They may ask you to change positions or take deep breaths as they do so. The whole process generally takes only a few minutes and does not require you to change into any special clothing or undergo any procedures.
Most chiropractic adjustments do not hurt. If you are already experiencing pain or tenderness to the touch, the pressure applied may exacerbate that pain briefly, but you should not feel anything additional. Some people are startled by the cracking noises of an adjustment, but this is just air bubbles popping in a process called cavitation and not your bones actually cracking.
You may feel some general soreness after your adjustment as the body re-acclimates to the alignment. This is similar to how you feel after a massage or workout and should subside in a couple of days.
Because of the spine’s important role in the body, the benefits of chiropractic care can be almost endless. The exact way that adjustments improve your health can vary from person to person, which is why individualized care is so important. These are just some of the benefits linked to regular adjustments.
Because many of us work at a desk, on a computer all day, there is an increasing incidence of neck pain due to the unnatural position this encourages. Even for those who do not have this work environment, constant use of mobile devices like cellphones reinforces a position where our head is bent down, our shoulders hunched, causing more neck pain.
When a chiropractor realigns the spine, it can ease tension in the neck muscles, which may have been overcompensating for this posture. A series of adjustments have been shown to be more effective than simply using medication to ease this pain, with better long-term outcomes.
Some people that suffer from high blood pressure have been able to lower their numbers by using chiropractic care before turning to medications. When the musculoskeletal system is not operating as intended, it can have ripple effects that include decreased blood flow through the body, which negatively impacts the entire cardiovascular system.
Adjustments will not be a replacement for medication and lifestyle changes in every patient, but it is a natural option that many pursue in the early stages of blood pressure concerns.
One of the most common ways the medical world addresses pain and illness is through medication. This can be very helpful as a way to reduce immediate pain and facilitate better healing, but unfortunately, these substances can become addictive, especially when opioids are the prescribed medication. Chiropractic treatment aims to reduce pain without the use of medications or while tapering off the need for these medications.
The goal of chiropractic care is to address and reverse the root cause of any pain rather than covering it up. Consistent care can eliminate the need for pain relief that is at the root of many addictions to opioids today.
Arthritis is a broad category of conditions related to inflammation of the joints, with over 100 variations possible. One of the most common is osteoarthritis, which causes pain when the cartilage in the joint degenerates and allows the ends of your bones to rub together. Certain types of chiropractic adjustments can target this pain, aligning the joints better to reduce the amount of time that your bones rub together.
Certain types of headaches, like tension headaches and migraines, can originate in the neck. In these cases, adjustments of the neck and cervical spine can have a big impact on the severity and frequency of headaches. When things like sleeping in an odd position and poor posture contribute to your headaches, a spine that is aligned and equally carrying the weight of your head can be an important factor in preventing more headaches in the future.
One of the main benefits of chiropractic care is that it is a less invasive option than other common treatments like medication and surgery. This is great as it is more gentle on the body and less likely to have side effects, but it is also beneficial when it comes to your wallet. Most insurance will offer some coverage for chiropractic care, so a session may be comparable to a visit to other doctors.
However, because chiropractic care focuses on the root cause of the issue and preventing further injuries, the overall cost of care becomes lower over time. Those who have regular adjustments will see a range of health benefits that mean there will be fewer medical costs in the future.
For those who have poor posture, especially when it is caused by a lot of sitting, chiropractic care may be able to help. A spine that is properly aligned and functioning is better able to support the muscles and tissues that surround it, making it easier to sit up straight and maintain proper posture. This has the added benefit of reducing certain issues associated with poor posture, like headaches, back pain, and neck pain as well. Improved posture also tends to make the body more resilient when it comes to injuries, so this has long-term health benefits for the body.
When a trained and licensed full-body adjustment chiropractor administers your treatment, getting an adjustment is safe for the majority of people. Certain conditions, like spinal cancer or known bone abnormalities, may make it unsafe, and those who suffer from these conditions should speak to their existing doctors first.
In everyone else, complications are very rare and usually consist of worsening an existing injury by herniating a disc or compressing nerves in the spinal column. A particular type of stroke can be caused by neck manipulation in extremely rare cases when not performed properly, which is why it is critical to find a chiropractor that you trust.
When choosing a full-body adjustment chiropractor, you want to ensure you are able to benefit from extensive experience and knowledge while also feeling comfortable at a practice. AICA Atlanta offers a warm and welcoming office full of skilled staff who will walk you through the entire process of meeting a chiropractor. Each of our chiropractors has extensive experience working with the community on everything from general wellness to severe injuries.
As a part of our commitment to holistic care, AICA Atlanta has more than full-body adjustment chiropractors as a part of our team. By combining chiropractic care, diagnostic imaging, physical therapy, and pain management into one practice, you can be sure that your needs will be met with a completely personalized care plan. If you need further intervention, we also have orthopedic doctors and surgeons as well as neurological specialists on staff to advise and assist. At AICA Atlanta, you will truly be getting full-body treatment that you can count on. Contact us today to schedule your first appointment and begin experiencing the benefits of full-body chiropractic care!