You may have found yourself or someone you know suffering from back pain and the idea of visiting a chiropractor came up. For some, it is unclear what the benefits of a chiropractic consultation could be, or perhaps they are concerned with risks they have heard associated with the service. Millions of Americans find relief and improved quality of life through chiropractic treatments, but the prospect does merit some explanation and research to determine if it is the right thing for you.

What do Chiropractors do?

The term chiropractic is defined as a system of integrative medicine that is primarily concerned with the diagnosis and direct, manipulative treatment of the joints, particularly those related to the spinal column. Because the spine is such a nexus involving various muscles, nerves, and organs in the body, effective chiropractic treatment has the potential to relieve maladies and disorders throughout the body. Once it is determined that chiropractic treatment is the appropriate course of action, practitioners will typically treat a problem through applying controlled force in an attempt to adjust the spine. This adjustment is often performed with the hands, though specialized equipment may also be used. Additionally, a chiropractor may combine conventional spinal manipulation with electrical stimulation, heat/ice variance, prescribed exercise and rehabilitative practices, and counsel on diet and weight.

Why Should I See a Chiropractor?

One of the leading causes of chiropractic consultation is back pain. This can be brought on by multiple factors, including how many hours your job has you on your feet or sitting down every day, to how evenly the soles of your shoes wear out. Headaches are also something that a chiropractor can help out with, as manipulation of the spine can help regulate the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Joint or muscle pain, as well as limited range of motion, can also be treated through the musculoskeletal alignment chiropractors can perform. Another significant cause of chiropractic consultation is involvement in a car accident, with some practices specifically revolving around injuries from events of this type. A car accident, even a “small” one often subjects people to tremendous amounts of force that can adversely put the spine out of alignment. This disruption can at times be not overtly evident even during the time of the accident, which can lead to chronic pain mounting over years or the body being unable to heal correctly. A chiropractor is able to accurately diagnose if something is amiss with the spine after a car accident and can recommend a course of treatment to ensure the body recovers as optimally as possible. If a woman is pregnant, there have been cases made that chiropractic consultation can have valuable benefits due to the continually developing and shifting center of balance involved with pregnancy. Another one of the main upsides people see in chiropractic treatments is their tendency to not involve invasive surgeries or a lot of painkillers or other drugs.

What Must I Know Before Seeing a Chiropractor?

Severely adverse side effects from chiropractic treatment are overall a rare occurrence, but because of the nature of the process have been known to occur. These can include a disk in your spine becoming herniated, a previous herniation growing worse, a compression of nerves in the lower spinal column (also known as cauda equina syndrome), and a certain type of stroke that may occur due to neck manipulation. Lesser side effects that may result from spinal manipulation include temporary headaches, fatigue, or soreness in the parts of the body that were treated. Before you see a chiropractor, it would be prudent to consult your doctor to determine if you are a prime candidate for this form of treatment. Once you have established that seeing a chiropractor is an appropriate course of action, it is important to make sure that the practitioner’s education and licensure are evident and firmly documented. The spinal manipulations performed by chiropractors require specialized education and a license that is regulated individually by each state. Ensuring that your chiropractor is current in their training and certification will significantly reduce the risk of inadequate treatment or injury.

Seeing a chiropractor has the potential to be a life-changing decision. The medical disciplines studied by a licensed chiropractor can help remedy ailments and injuries specific to back and spine injury you may be suffering. Even if you have not recently been in an accident or are experiencing acute back pain, some have counseled that consulting a chiropractor for preventative care and upkeep can keep you moving optimally and may head off certain aches and pains that naturally occur due to age and regular activity. If this form of relief and improved quality of life is of any interest to you, consult your doctor and begin the process to determine if seeing a chiropractor is the answer you have been looking for.

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