What conditions do Chiropractor’s treat?
Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) care for patients of all ages, with a variety of health conditions. DCs are especially well known for their expertise in caring for patients with back pain, neck pain and headaches…particularly with their highly skilled manipulations or chiropractic adjustments. They also care for patients with a wide range of injuries and disorders of the musculoskeletal system, involving the muscles, ligaments and joints. These painful conditions often involve or impact the nervous system, which can cause referred pain and dysfunction distant to the region of injury. The benefits of chiropractic care extend to general health issues, as well, since our body structure affects our overall function. DCs also counsel patients on diet, nutrition, exercise, healthy habits, and occupational and lifestyle modification.
Does chiropractic treatment require a referral from a M.D.?
A referral is usually not needed to see a doctor of chiropractic (DC); however, your health plan may have specific referral requirements. You may want to contact your employer’s human resources department—or the insurance plan directly—to find out if there are any referral requirements. Most plans allow you to just call and schedule an appointment with a DC.
Is chiropractic treatment safe?
Chiropractic is widely recognized as one of the safest drug-free, non-invasive therapies available for the treatment of neuromusculoskeletal complaints. Although chiropractic has an excellent safety record, no health treatment is completely free of potential adverse effects. The risks associated with chiropractic, however, are very small. Many patients feel immediate relief following chiropractic treatment, but some may experience mild soreness or aching, just as they do after some forms of exercise. Current literature shows that minor discomfort or soreness following spinal manipulation typically fades within 24 hours.
Is chiropractic treatment appropriate for children?
Yes, children can benefit from chiropractic care. Children are very physically active and experience many types of falls and blows from activities of daily living as well as from participating in sports. Injuries such as these may cause many symptoms including back and neck pain, stiffness, soreness or discomfort. Chiropractic care is always adapted to the individual patient. It is a highly skilled treatment, and in the case of children, very gentle.
Is chiropractic treatment ongoing?
The hands-on nature of the chiropractic treatment is essentially what requires patients to visit the chiropractor a number of times. To be treated by a chiropractor, a patient needs to be in his or her office. In contrast, a course of treatment from medical doctors often involves a pre-established plan that is conducted at home (i.e. taking a course of antibiotics once a day for a couple of weeks). A chiropractor may provide acute, chronic, and/or preventive care thus making a certain number of visits sometimes necessary. Your doctor of chiropractic should tell you the extent of treatment recommended and how long you can expect it to last.
For more information please visit the American Chiropractic Association.
What is manual therapy?
These are conservative techniques done with the hands. It includes deep tissue massage, stretching, and joint mobilization techniques to restore proper movement patterns. When combined with functional activities for rehabilitation it is the safest and most effective way to reduce and eliminate musculoskeletal pain.
Why do I have pain?
In mechanical pain syndromes there are three typical reasons a tissue is painful.
Mechanical irritation is painful in and of itself. When the axis of rotation around a joint is altered because of movement dysfunction, irritation of tissue creates an immediate pain. This is pain that occurs only when a joint is in a certain position, like deep knee bends or raising your arm over your head. Only balancing the tensions around the joint will alleviate this problem.
Mechanical irritation can damage tissue which leads to inflammation. The presence of inflammation causes pain that often lingers from hours to days after an activity. Medication that alleviates inflammation can help reduce the pain, but you must also remove the mechanical irritation to prevent a reoccurrence.
Nerves must be free to slide past the surrounding tissues. If this does not happen tension on the nerve will stop the blood supply and create pain. Improving the ability of the surrounding muscles to lengthen as well as the nerves to slide past them will help this problem.
What is movement dysfunction?
There is an efficient way to move based on bone structure, muscle fiber orientation, and the pattern is rooted in our brain and spinal cord. However, changes in the body can prevent the most efficient way to move creating movement dysfunction. This includes a series of restrictions and compensations. Often, the compensation is the location of the pain.
What causes restrictions?
Restrictions to movement occur in a few different situations:
- A muscle is damaged. To protect the damaged muscle the body tightens that muscle and the surrounding muscles creating a restriction.
After prolonged restriction a muscle is weak in the end-range. Even if you stretch the muscle, care must be taken to properly strengthen the end-range or else the nervous system will tighten the muscle back down.
- A joint capsule, the connective tissue surrounding a joint in all directions, can tighten down when not used through the full range.
- Nerves must easily slide past the surrounding tissue. If a nerve gets stuck to the tissue the muscles surrounding it will tighten down to protect the nerve from being damaged. However, this often ends up further adhering the nerve to the surrounding tissue in a negative spiral.
What activities cause the restrictions noted above?
- Repetitive movements like running or throwing
- Prolonged postures like sitting at a desk
- Improperly rehabilitated injury
What cause compensations?
The body moves based on sensation. When your nervous system senses one of the restrictions it allows movement in a different area to achieve the goal. If you want your arm over your head, but your lat is too tight your mid back will arch further to allow your arm over your head. Often you will develop pain in your back but it is caused by a problem in your shoulder.
Do I have to be in pain? What is performance enhancement?
Restrictions and compensations from old injuries makes human movement less efficient. This means that greater effort and energy is required to achieve the same action. Our assessment will analyze your efficiency, our techniques will create easier and more efficient patterns, and we will show you exactly how to keep your improved state. This means your athletic achievements will be greater and your daily living will be easier.
What is an overuse injury?
Overuse injury is an improperly understood term. Typically, the prescription is rest because you “overuse” a tissue. However, it is not physiologically possible to overuse just one focal area without surrounding dysfunction. What really occurs is a series of restrictions create a compensation and the compensation is over-used. A better term would be a “mis-use” injury. Rest does not eliminate the restrictions, only proper rehabilitation and activity can eliminate the restrictions.
Do I have to come forever?
No. When going through a course of care, it is common to un-cover old injuries. Essentially, when an injury occurs a restriction and compensation develop. If not properly rehabilitated, these restrictions and compensations just create layers like an onion. As we delve into your specific case, we will often take a trip through memory lane as we deal with each layer. The end goal is to discharge you from care with the knowledge to keep yourself moving efficiently for years to come.
How many visits will I need?
It is impossible to accurately predict this without evaluation of your specific case. The rapidity of your success hinges on a few factors:
- The duration and extent of your current injury
- The number of past injuries that were improperly rehabilitated
- Your adherence to the home rehabilitation activities
- Your age, diet, and mental stress levels
- Compliments of our friends from The Stay Active Clinic in Asheville, NC.