Over the years, I’ve suffered my share of injuries from weight lifting, including some to my back. Back tightness, cramping, strain, chronic pain, even a ruptured disc. I’ve tried the chiropractor route and, for the most part, was able to achieve some relief.
I won’t pretend to understand the science behind it, and the whole thing, admittedly, sounds pretty hokey. One experience, in particular, stands out for me though. I was in my early 30s and for weeks had been suffering from a very tight and painful lower back. I’d reached the point where I was ready to try anything, and that anything included a nearby chiropractor.
I hobbled in and walked out twenty minutes later with my back feeling the best it had felt in months.
I was never able to replicate that initial success, but it did open me up to trying chiropractors at various periods in my life. In all cases, I ended up getting some relief, even if it was only short lived and never as dramatic as that first visit.
If you’re reading this, you probably are considering seeing a chiropractor. So here’s some info for you to chew on.
What Are Chiropractors?
Although the perception is that chiropractors treat back problems through spinal manipulation, they actually diagnose and treat a wide range of common neuromuscular disorders. Although the discipline of chiropractic treatment is considered to be “alternative medicine“, it has become a common form of treatment for the various aches and pains inflicted by our modern work society, which has so many of us seated for long periods of time.
Chiropractic has seen a growth in demand and, in recent decades, has even gained increased acceptance among conventional physicians and health plans in the United States. Most individuals seeking chiropractic care do so for low back pain, and back and neck pain are considered the specialties of chiropractic. Many chiropractors also claim to be able to treat ailments other than back pain, however, some even going so far as to describe themselves as primary care providers… which they are not.
What can a chiropractor do?
The most common perception of chiropractors is that they perform spinal manipulation to restore normal muscular and nerve function. They’re also capable of evaluating the source of just about any physical pain, and are well-versed in treating physical deformities outside the spine.
While they are primarily known for treating spine and posture problems, body pains and deformities, their practice can sometimes be beneficial to other aspects of health. Some patients claim to have gotten relief from common ailments such as headaches or indigestion.
Chiropractic science regards the spine and spinal function as central to health. The spine manages your body’s balance and is responsible a myriad of other areas, such as the nervous system, blood flow, balance, and more. Maintaining and restoring proper alignment can affect the well being of other areas of the body.
Some reasons you might see a chiropractor
Sharp and unexplained pain
If you’re experiencing unexpected and persistent pain, particularly in your lower back region, a chiropractic visit might help.
Incorrect Head Placement
Neck discomfort, tiredness, and improper head alignment can contribute to all sorts of symptoms. If your head rests forward from your shoulders, rather than being in a position relatively directly above your shoulders, this is a textbook sign that you should seek a chiropractor. Due to the epidemic of office jobs faced by workers today, the forward head position especially common. Sitting in front of a computer without a proper ergonomic environment is a major causative factor.
People can also develop this condition by not implementing proper body posture while exercising, or just by generally ‘slouching’. This condition can be is responsible for neck and head pain and has been linked to impaired cognitive performance due to blood flow restriction.
Uneven shoulders can be the result of muscle imbalances, particularly those around the shoulders and neck. Uneven shoulders are usually caused by straining one side of the body more than the other and tend to lead to other imbalances throughout your whole body as a way to counteract the shoulder imbalance. A chiropractor may be able to directly intervene or offer helpful advice on posture, ergonomics and physical therapy designed to restore balance.
Repetitive joint or muscle pain
If you have repetitive join or muscle pain, a chiropractor might be able to offer a diagnosis. Muscle and joint pain could be alleviated by strengthening blood circulation through spinal adjustments. A visit to the chiropractor is a reasonable first step toward fixing the problem before opting for more drastic measures.
Chronic pain is a common condition and should never be ‘treated’ by taking painkillers. Pain killers offer only temporary relief while leaving the source of the pain untreated. Chiropractic training includes learning to assess and evaluate sources of chronic pain. Often, they can treat the pain directly with hands-on chiropractic adjustments.
Chronic pain is difficult to treat. Many chronic pains are experienced in areas where an injury has previously occurred. If a chiropractor cannot directly treat chronic pain, they will certainly offer advice on how to counter it.
Everyday health advice
Modern chiropractors can also advise in matters such as ergonomics, proper work/exercise routines, and posture.
Ergonomics determine our posture, which influences our spine’s health. Improper ergonomics at the workplace or home are the primary cause of posture deformities. A good chiropractor can advise you on how to create the best environment for your posture and spinal health.
Often times, a condition will require physical therapy. Chiropractors can recommend exercises to help a posture-related problem or body pain.
Will a chiropractor work for you? Maybe… it worked for me, and more than once. But only as an interim solution that I was ultimately able to fix by changing my workouts and posture. So it’s a great place to start.