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What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a safe and effective form of conservative treatment for various musculoskeletal pain symptoms that should always be considered before undergoing more invasive procedures (e.g. epidural steroid injections or surgeries, etc.). According to American Chiropractic Association, “Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses primarily on musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health. Chiropractic care is used most often to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches.”
For more information about chiropractic, you may visit American Chiropractic Association website by clicking here.
What do Chiropractors do?
Doctors of Chiropractic – often referred to as chiropractors or chiropractic physicians – practice a drug-free, hands-on approach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis, and treatment. Chiropractic physicians undergo nationally accredited, extensive 4-year graduate doctorate program that includes passing of 4 national board examinations as well as one state board examination. The profession stresses broad diagnostic skills (including but not limited to orthopedic physical examinations, x-rays, lab diagnostics, etc.), and are also trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises, as well as to provide nutritional, dietary, and lifestyle counselling depending on what type of pathology the patient is suffering from.
What types of treatments does a chiropractor perform?
Depending on the condition of the patient, the treatment protocol, as well as duration of treatment varies greatly. Nonetheless, the most common therapeutic procedure performed by doctors of chiropractic is known as “spinal manipulation,” also called “chiropractic adjustment.” The spinal manipulation is usually preceded with physiotherapy such as cryotherapy, diathermy, ultrasound, and/or electrical muscle stimulation therapies in order to decrease inflammation, increase local circulation, and to relieve muscle spasms. In addition, therapeutic rehabilitation exercises and/or stretches are prescribed in order to either strengthen weak muscles or lengthen tight musculature. For disc herniation patients, flexion-distraction decompression therapies may be performed to re-hydrate the disc, reduce the herniation, and to increase the neuroforaminal space.
What is the purpose of spinal manipulation, and how does it help?
The purpose of spinal or joint manipulation is to restore joint mobility by applying a controlled force into joints that have become hypombile – or restricted in their movement – as a result of a tissue injury. Tissue injuries can be caused by a single traumatic event, such as a car accident, or even through repetitive stress from activities of daily living (e.g. daily computer work, bending/stooping, yard work, etc.). In either case, injured tissues undergo physical and chemical changes that can cause inflammation, pain, and diminished function of the joint and soft tissue structures that support the joint. Spinal manipulation is then performed to restore mobility, thereby increasing the range of motion of the joint being manipulated, reducing muscle tightness, and facilitating the healing process. According to ‘AMA’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, Fifth Edition’, prolonged restricted range of motion is closely related to the long-term disability, and chiropractic care has been proven to increase the restricted joint motion as well as in pain relief.
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