Chiropractic is a discipline that is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, especially the spine. Chiropractors have proposed, especially those in the field’s early history, that such disorders affect general health via the nervous system. It is classified as a type of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).The main chiropractic treatment technique involves manual therapy, especially manipulation of the spine, other joints, and soft tissues, but may also include exercises and health and lifestyle counseling.
Numerous controlled clinical studies of treatments used by chiropractors have been conducted, with conflicting results. Systematic reviews of this research have not found evidence that chiropractic manipulation is effective, with the possible exception of treatment for back pain. A critical evaluation found that collectively, spinal manipulation was ineffective at treating any condition.
Chiropractic is well established in the United States, Canada, and Australia. It overlaps with other manual-therapy professions such as osteopathy and physical therapy. Most who seek chiropractic care do so for low back pain. Back and neck pain are considered the specialties of chiropractic, but many chiropractors treat ailments other than musculoskeletal issues. Many chiropractors describe themselves as primary care providers,[ but the chiropractic clinical training does not support the requirements to be considered primary care providers.
Chiropractors use hands-on spinal manipulation and other alternative treatments, the theory being that proper alignment of the body’s musculoskeletal structure, particularly the spine, will enable the body to heal itself without surgery or medication. Manipulation is used to restore mobility to joints restricted by tissue injury caused by a traumatic event, such as falling, or repetitive stress, such as sitting without proper back support.
Chiropractic is primarily used as a pain relief alternative for muscles, joints, bones, and connective tissue, such as cartilage, ligaments, and tendons. It is sometimes used in conjunction with conventional medical treatment.
The initials “DC” identify a chiropractor, whose education typically includes an undergraduate degree plus four years of chiropractic college.
Among people seeking back pain relief alternatives, most choose chiropractic treatment. About 22 million Americans visit chiropractors annually. Of these, 7.7 million, or 35%, are seeking relief from back pain from various causes, including accidents, sports injuries, and muscle strains. Other complaints include pain in the neck, arms, and legs, and headaches.
What Does Chiropractic for Back Pain Involve?
A chiropractor first takes a medical history, performs a physical examination, and may use lab tests or diagnostic imaging to determine if treatment is appropriate for your back pain.
The treatment plan may involve one or more manual adjustments in which the doctor manipulates the joints, using a controlled, sudden force to improve range and quality of motion. Many chiropractors also incorporate nutritional counseling and exercise/rehabilitation into the treatment plan. The goals of chiropractic care include the restoration of function and prevention of injury in addition to back pain relief.
Spinal manipulation and chiropractic care is generally considered a safe, effective treatment for acute low back pain, the type of sudden injury that results from moving furniture or getting tackled. Acute back pain, which is more common than chronic pain, lasts no more than six weeks and typically gets better on its own.
Research has also shown chiropractic to be helpful in treating neck pain and headaches. In addition, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia may respond to the moderate pressure used both by chiropractors and practitioners of deep tissue massage.
Chiropractic is generally categorized as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), which focuses on manipulation of the musculoskeletal system, especially the spine. Its founder, D.D. Palmer, called it “a science of healing without drugs”.
Chiropractic’s origins lie in the folk medicine of bone-setting, and as it evolved it incorporated vitalism, spiritual inspiration and rationalism. Its early philosophy was based on deduction from irrefutable doctrine, which helped distinguish chiropractic from medicine, provided it with legal and political defenses against claims of practicing medicine without a license, and allowed chiropractors to establish themselves as an autonomous profession. This “straight” philosophy, taught to generations of chiropractors, rejects the inferential reasoning of the scientific method, and relies on deductions from vitalistic first principles rather than on the materialism of science. However, most practitioners tend to incorporate scientific research into chiropractic, and most practitioners are “mixers” who attempt to combine the materialistic reductionism of science with the metaphysics of their predecessors and with the holistic paradigm of wellness.
A treatment table at a chiropractic office
Chiropractors emphasize the conservative management of the neuromusculoskeletal system without the use of medicines or surgery, with special emphasis on the spine. Back and neck pain are the specialties of chiropractic but many chiropractors treat ailments other than musculoskeletal issues. There is a range of opinions among chiropractors: some believed that treatment should be confined to the spine, or back and neck pain; others disagreed. Chiropractic combines aspects from mainstream and alternative medicine, and there is no agreement about how to define the profession: although chiropractors have many attributes of primary care providers, chiropractic has more attributes of a medical specialty like dentistry or podiatry.
Mainstream health care and governmental organizations such as the World Health Organization consider chiropractic to be complementary and alternative medicine (CAM); and a 2008 study reported that 31% of surveyed chiropractors categorized chiropractic as CAM, 27% as integrated medicine, and 12% as mainstream medicine. Many chiropractors believe they are primary care providers, including US and UK chiropractors,
Chiropractic overlaps with several other forms of manual therapy, including massage therapy, osteopathy, physical therapy, and sports medicine. Chiropractic is autonomous from and competitive with mainstream medicine, and osteopathy outside the US remains primarily a manual medical system; physical therapists work alongside and cooperate with mainstream medicine, and osteopathic medicine in the U.S. has merged with the medical profession. Practitioners may distinguish these competing approaches through claims that, compared to other therapists, chiropractors heavily emphasize spinal manipulation, tend to use firmer manipulative techniques, and promote maintenance care; that osteopaths use a wider variety of treatment procedures; and that physical therapists emphasize machinery and exercise.
Chiropractic diagnosis may involve a range of methods including skeletal imaging, observational and tactile assessments, and orthopedic and neurological evaluation. A chiropractor may also refer a patient to an appropriate specialist, or co-manage with another health care provider. Common patient management involves spinal manipulation (SM) and other manual therapies to the joints and soft tissues, rehabilitative exercises, health promotion, electrical modalities, complementary procedures, and lifestyle advice.
Spinal manipulation, which chiropractors call “spinal adjustment” or “chiropractic adjustment”, is the most common treatment used in chiropractic care. Spinal manipulation is a passive manual maneuver during which a three-joint complex is taken past the normal range of movement, but not so far as to dislocate or damage the joint. Its defining factor is a dynamic thrust, which is a sudden force that causes an audible release and attempts to increase a joint’s range of motion. High-velocity, low-amplitude spinal manipulation (HVLA-SM) thrusts have physiological effects that signal neural discharge from paraspinal muscle tissues, depending on duration and amplitude of the thrust are factors of the degree in paraspinal muscle spindles activation. Clinical skill in employing HVLA-SM thrusts depends on the ability of the practitioner to handle the duration and magnitude of the load. More generally, spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) describes techniques where the hands are used to manipulate, massage, mobilize, adjust, stimulate, apply traction to, or otherwise influence the spine and related tissues.
There is a wide range of ways to measure treatment outcomes. Chiropractic care, like all medical treatment, benefits from the placebo response.
A 2011 Cochrane review found strong evidence that suggests there is no clinically meaningful difference between SMT and other treatments for reducing pain and improving function for chronic low back pain. A 2010 systematic review found that most studies suggest SMT achieves equivalent or superior improvement in pain and function when compared with other commonly used interventions for short, intermediate, and long-term follow-up
A 2013 systematic review and meta-analysis found a statistically significant improvement in overall recovery from sciatica following SM, when compared to usual care, and suggested that SM may be considered.
2013 systematic review found that the data suggests that there are minimal short- and long-term treatment differences when comparing manipulation or mobilization of the cervical spine to physical therapy or exercise for neck pain improvement. A 2013 systematic review found that although there is insufficient evidence that thoracic SM is more effective than other treatments, it is a suitable intervention to treat some patients with non-specific neck pain. A 2011 systematic review found that thoracic SM may offer short-term improvement for the treatment of acute or subacute mechanical neck pain A 2010 systematic review found low level evidence that suggests chiropractic care improves cervical range of motion and pain in the management of whiplash.
A 2011 systematic review found evidence that suggests that chiropractic SMT might be as effective as propranolol or topiramate in the prevention of migraine headaches. A 2005 review found that the evidence was weak for effectiveness of chiropractic manipulation for tension headache, and that it was probably more effective for tension headache than for migraine.
A 2011 systematic review and meta-analysis concluded that the addition of manual mobilizations to an exercise program for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis resulted in better pain relief than a supervised exercise program alone and suggested that manual therapists consider adding manual mobilization to optimize supervised active exercise programs. There is a small amount of research into the efficacy of chiropractic treatment for upper limbs.
Chiropractic adjustment is a procedure in which trained specialists (chiropractors) use their hands or a small instrument to apply a controlled, sudden force to a spinal joint. The goal of this procedure, also known as spinal manipulation, is to improve spinal motion and improve your body’s physical function
Extremity conditions. A 2011 systematic review and meta-analysis concluded that the addition of manual mobilizations to an exercise program for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis resulted in better pain relief than a supervised exercise program alone and suggested that manual therapists consider adding manual mobilization to optimize supervised active exercise programs. There is a small amount of research into the efficacy of chiropractic treatment for upper limbs.
The ProAdjuster is a chiropractic instrument that uses space age technology to determine if each segment/spinal vertebrae is in proper alignment, so the nervous system is free to effectively transport nerve impulses throughout your body.
The Activator Method Chiropractic Technique is a type of manipulation described as follows: A spring-loaded, hand-held mechanical instrument called the Activator Adjusting Instrument provides a quick, low-force impulse at specific points.
The laser in this office is a Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) device. LLLT has been scientifically proven to reduce pain, reduce inflammation, reduce swelling, and accelerate the healing process while strengthening damaged tissue.
Active release technique (ART) treats your body’s soft tissue by combining manipulation and movement. … ART entails identifying, isolating, and targeting the affected area to break up scar tissue. This promotes blood flow and faster healing of injuries.
Electric muscle stimulation is a method of chiropractic care in which electric currents are sent through muscles in order to make them contract. … It is an effective therapeutic method as contracting the muscles helps relieve pain in the back or legs, reduce swelling, and promote general muscle toning.
One Health Care Clinics Use of Ultrasound
As a therapeutic modality, ultrasound is a form of heat therapy for soft tissue injuries to minimize swelling and pain, reduce muscle spasms, and expand the range of motion. … The role of an ultrasound is to speed up your healing process and reduce your pain.
Chiropractic focuses on the hard tissue of the body (vertebrae and joints of the spine) while massage focuses on the soft tissues (muscles) of the body. … After a massage, a chiropractic patient is more relaxed and less anxious. This allows the chiropractor to better adjust the joints and spine.
Spinal decompression therapy, also known as non-surgical spinal decompression, is a practice that utilizes spinal decompression tables to relieve pain by creating a scenario in which bulging or herniated disc tissue is able to move back into place and heal, alleviating the pain this condition causes.
Most commonly, the list of prescribers includes a medical doctor, surgeon or podiatrist. In some plans, Chiropractors are able to prescribe the orthotics. If your plan allows for a Chiropractor to prescribe the custom orthotics, then we will be able to provide you with all the documentation required.
Surgery should only be considered following a reasonable trial of the decompression protocols. Spinal decompression therapy is safe, comfortable and painless. As decompression therapy becomes better known, patients are likely to look to chiropractors as a source of information, referral or treatment. The pros of spinal decompression for the patient are that it is a non-surgical and non-drug approach. In addition, spinal decompression is extremely safe with little chance of hurting a patient. In fact, most patients fall asleep during spinal decompression treatments
Nonsurgical spinal decompression is a type of motorized traction that may help relieve back pain. Spinal decompression works by gently stretching the spine. … As a result, bulging or herniated disks may retract, taking pressure off nerves and other structures in your spine. Spinal decompression is safe for most patients, and is especially helpful when drugs and surgery are poor options. The authors state 86% of ruptured disc patients had “good or excellent” results using decompression therapy compared to 55% for traction subjects. Facet arthrosis patients had similar results with 75% improved with decompression therapy compared to 50% for traction. When you are in pain, even a slight stretch during treatment can be uncomfortable, but spinal decompression provides an effective alternative to surgery and other more painful forms of treatment. (Many patients even report that they prefer spinal decompression to certain types of massage therapy.)
Chiropractic adjustment is a procedure in which trained specialists (chiropractors) use their hands or a small instrument to apply a controlled, sudden force to a spinal joint. The goal of this procedure, also known as spinal manipulation, is to improve spinal motion and improve your body’s physical function,
Common Chiropractic Modalities Often Used:
- Therapeutic ultrasound is a form of deep heat therapy created by sound waves
- Heat and cold
- Massage and Soft Tissue Mobilization
- Therapeutic Exercise
- Spinal Traction
- Dietary management
- Cold Laser
- Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation (TENS)