Chiropractic medicine concerns itself first and foremost with the correct alignment and function of the musculoskeletal system. Because daily activity relies heavily on the ways our muscles, nerves, and skeletal system all work together, chiropractors believe that the health of the musculoskeletal system and in particular, the health of the spine is incredibly important to the overall health of the individual. Rather than simply prescribing pills or surgery to correct symptoms though, chiropractors work to correct symptoms by eliminating the source of the source of the problem. Unlike traditional therapies however, chiropractic care can also be used to prevent problems from developing. For this reason, we consider chiropractic care to be an integral part of a healthy lifestyle.
During your initial visit to your chiropractor, the focus will be primarily on diagnosis. Your chiropractor will likely begin with an interview to better understand your individual health history with special emphasis being any potential spinal problems. A physical examination will also be conducted, possibly including x-rays and tests to determine both the extent of injury and whether or not chiropractic care is right for you. Once your chiropractor has determined that you are a candidate for chiropractic care, a treatment program will be individualized to meet your needs.
In keeping with the basic tenet of chiropractic care, that many problems people suffer from are actually the direct result of musculoskeletal problems, chiropractors seek to realign and adjust the body back to its natural state. Adjustments, also called manipulations, are typically applied by hand through the application of force to joints. This application of force can be fairly sudden but are necessary in order to properly realign joints that are no longer functioning normally.
Manipulation can also be accomplished through the use of mechanical devices such as Activator or Pulstartherapies. In these therapies mechanical aids may be used by your chiropractor in order to be more precise. This increase precision also allows for a decrease in the amount of force necessary to manipulate the joint in question. The result is an easier realignment overall.
Another mechanical aid commonly used by chiropractors is a Spinal Decompression Table. The theory of spinal decompression is based on the fact that the human spine is under virtually constant compression throughout the day as gravity pulls down on the spinal column. This in turn puts pressure on the discs between each of the vertebrae. When we are young, this constant pressure doesn’t pose much of a problem. As we age however, and our spinal discs become less able to handle the daily wear and tear or become injured, the constant pressure can pose a serious problem preventing the damaged tissue from healing. Spinal decompression therapy temporarily relieves the pressure placed on damaged and herniated discs they are allowed a chance to heal. During spinal decompression, the patient is asked to lie on their back, and is secured gently to the decompression table with their arms around two supports placed snuggly under the arm pits. Slowly and gently, the decompression table is moved apart a precise, computer controlled distance. The movement of the table decreases the pressure on the damaged discs allowing healing to take place.
Should you go to a chiropractor for back pain management? The answer to this question depends on the condition you’re trying to treat. Chiropractic care, as mentioned above, focuses on the musculoskeletal system as a primary source of pain and illness in everyday life. This does not mean that all conditions are caused by musculoskeletal problems. If, however, you have lingering pain as a result of an injury or simply a nagging pain that comes and goes, chiropractic care may be exactly what you need.