Other than spinal manipulation, chiropractors provide other treatments for neck and back pain.
Chiropractors treat neck and back pain with a variety of therapies other than spinal manipulation (spinal adjustment). Doctors of chiropractic (DC), like other types of spine specialists, conduct a thorough physical and neurological examination of the patient to determine the source of spine-related pain. The diagnosis of the spinal disorder is critical to the chiropractic treatment plan for the patient. Therapeutic exercise and stretching, spinal traction, manual soft tissue therapy, transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS), ultrasound, diet and nutritional counseling, and lifestyle modification are all common treatments recommended by chiropractors.
Chiropractors frequently recommend specific strengthening exercises to their patients who have back, neck, or extremity issues. These exercises can aid in the reduction of pain, the prevention of muscle deterioration, the promotion of joint health, the increase of strength, stability, and range of motion, and the prevention of new or recurring injuries.
Your chiropractor will demonstrate and supervise the exercises until you are comfortable doing them on your own. It is critical to complete your exercises as directed (similarly to drug prescriptions). According to studies, people who follow their exercise instructions heal faster than those who do not.
Therapeutic stretching is an important part of preventing scar tissue after an injury. Maintaining a regular stretching program helps keep tissues flexible, increases mobility, and protects you from new injuries even after the spinal injury has healed. Your chiropractor will instruct you on proper stretching techniques and supervise you until you are comfortable enough to do them on your own, just like with exercise.
Many chiropractors use spinal traction, which involves using traction devices to distract areas of the spine. This treatment gently separates the vertebrae, resulting in disc decompression, decreased nerve root pressure, and decreased pain.
Soft Tissue Manual Therapy
Chiropractors use a variety of hands-on soft tissue therapies to improve soft tissue function (muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joint capsules). Pin and stretch, also known as Active Release Technique (ART), and instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization are examples (Graston Technique).
Modalities of Physical Therapy
This therapy employs light electrical pulses that are delivered to specific areas of the body via electrodes placed on the skin. Electrical stimulation comes in many forms. Some are better for pain relief or reducing inflammation, while others are better for treating muscle spasms and causing muscles to contract in order to reduce muscle atrophy. Some types of electrical stimulation produce a combination of effects.
Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
A TENS unit is a small, portable, battery-powered muscle stimulation machine that can be used at home to help control pain. To control pain, different intensities of electric current are used. This treatment is recommended to help patients cope with severe (acute) pain. TENS units are generally not advised for chronic pain. In fact, according to a 2009 report from the American Academy of Neurology, TENS units are ineffective for treating chronic low back pain.
Therapeutic ultrasound is a type of deep heat therapy that uses sound waves to create heat. Sound waves, when applied to soft tissues and joints, act as a form of micro-massage, reducing swelling, increasing blood flow, and decreasing pain, stiffness, and muscle spasms.
Heat and Ice Therapy
Many painful conditions have long been treated with ice and heat. Ice therapy is frequently used to reduce swelling and pain immediately following an injury. Heat therapy is used to relax muscles, increase circulation, and provide pain relief to patients suffering from chronic pain. A combination of ice and heat can be used depending on the patient’s condition.
Diet and Nutritional Advice
Poor diet and nutritional imbalances have been linked to a variety of serious illnesses, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer, according to research. Chiropractors have received specialized training in diet and nutritional counseling. Your chiropractor can create a nutritional program tailored to your specific needs to help you maintain good health and reduce your risk of developing these serious health conditions.
Counseling for Lifestyle Change
Health is not the absence of disease or pain. Your daily lifestyle can have a significant impact on your long-term health. We now know that years of seemingly minor unhealthy lifestyle choices can lead to major health problems. Here are some examples of lifestyle choices and behaviors that can harm your health:
- Lack of regular physical activity
- Poor diet
- Excessive mental stress
- Over-reliance on medication
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Poor posture
- Improper lifting
Your chiropractor will discuss your lifestyle choices with you, assist you in sorting through and identifying unhealthy health habits, and provide you with practical strategies to deal with and manage them. As you can see, chiropractic medicine encompasses much more than spinal manipulations. Chiropractors employ a number of treatment modalities to assist the body in healing itself and returning the patient to a pain-free and healthy lifestyle.