Pain management is a hot topic among clinicians and patients. Most people will experience a painful musculoskeletal condition in their lifetime, and treatment options have historically been limited. The recent opioid crisis has led physicians to recommend conservative treatments to their patients instead of medications. As a patient who’s been told to seek chiropractic care, you may wonder what to expect.

Getting your back “popped” isn’t the be-all and end-all of chiropractic care. Spinal adjustment is still a key part of treatment plans for some injuries, but chiropractors today use a range of tools and treatments to encourage healing and manage pain.

Here’s a guide to chiropractic care and why it’s recommended as a first-line treatment for musculoskeletal pain.

What Does Spinal Adjustment Do?

Your spine protects the spinal cord, a dense column of nerve cells that connects your brain to the rest of your body and vice versa. Small openings between vertebrae allow nerves to branch out from your spinal cord to other body systems. The part of the nerve near the spinal cord is called the nerve root. Issues like subluxations and inflammation that impact the nerve root can cause pain and systemic problems like asthma, digestive issues, and reproductive troubles.

Spinal adjustment aims to realign the spine to balance the nervous system and help it function optimally. Regular adjustments have been shown to have holistic effects, including better sleep, improved asthma and allergy symptoms, and healthier pregnancies and deliveries. Professional sports teams keep chiropractors on contract because they know regular chiropractic care leads to improved range of motion, coordination, and recovery — all of which reduce the chance of injury.

Chronic back and neck pain has many potential causes. Damage to discs, bones, or joints within the spine can occur after a trauma like a car accident or from wear and tear. These issues may cause prolonged inflammation and nerve root irritation that persists even after an acute injury has healed. Lack of circulation to the spine may cause slow healing and chronic pain syndromes. Chiropractors address these problems with a combination of treatments that help to realign the spine and discs, increase circulation and calm overactive nerves.

What Treatments Might a Chiropractic Clinic Offer?

Every clinic is different, but most modern chiropractic offices aim to provide treatments outside of spinal adjustment. No one treatment is a cure-all. Pain, especially chronic pain, is a multifaceted problem that often requires multiple angles of treatment.

Our chiropractic clinic in Tennessee provides K-laser therapy, custom orthotics, spinal decompression therapy, and massage. We find that these options allow us to provide well-rounded treatment to our patients.

K-laser therapy uses red and near-infrared light to stimulate healing at the cellular level. Like photosynthesis in plants, our cells react to certain wavelengths of light. K-laser therapy reduces inflammation, improves circulation, and encourages cells to make collagen — a key building block of new tissues. K-laser therapy is useful for patients struggling with long-term, low-level inflammation caused by a stalled healing process. We also use it to treat repetitive use and acute injuries.

Spinal decompression therapy is a state-of-the-art computerized traction that gently stretches the spine to create negative pressures between the vertebrae. It can move bulging and herniated discs back into place, take pressure off nerves, and desensitize overactive nerves. It also brings blood flow to the disc space, typically a blood-poor area. Since blood flow contains healing cells, this speeds up the healing process and reduces inflammation.

We provide custom orthotics because chiropractic care is about both treatment and prevention. The body is a mechanical system, and a problem in one area, like the feet, can cause widespread imbalance. For many patients, foot problems like flat feet or unsupported arches are the root cause of their knee, hip, or low back pain. When a patient wears their custom orthotics regularly, they can heal their current discomfort and prevent further degeneration caused by imbalanced wear on the joints.

What Should I Expect From a Chiropractic Treatment Plan?

Since chiropractic care encourages natural healing processes, most treatments don’t work immediately. The payoff to this approach is real healing that brings long-lasting relief.

Don’t worry; you won’t have to wait months before feeling any benefit. Most treatments give some relief after the first few sessions, and some, like K-laser therapy, can work even faster. After your evaluation, you’ll be given a personalized treatment plan. It will include a schedule of in-office treatments as well as at-home care. You may need to come in a few times a week for the first few weeks of treatment and then taper off.

Your at-home exercises, stretches, and lifestyle changes are just as important as the in-office parts of your treatment plan. Patients who faithfully follow all components of their plan to the end have much higher success rates. The end goal is to provide long-lasting relief. Patients with chronic conditions like arthritis will still experience symptoms, but pain and function should be significantly improved.

The Bottom Line

Modern pain management has moved on from band-aids like opioid drugs. Now we know that safe treatments to encourage natural healing are also the most effective. Chronic pain patients should choose a chiropractic clinic that offers a well-rounded suite of treatment options. This will give them their best chance at healing quickly and completely. As a patient, it’s also important to do your part by following your treatment plan and doing your at-home care.

Conservative Pain Management in Murfreesboro

At Stanlick Chiropractic, our specialists provide well-rounded chiropractic care to patients dealing with acute and chronic musculoskeletal pain. You don’t need to live with the pain! Schedule a consultation today to learn how chiropractic care can help you recover and live your best life in 2023.