What is a Chiropractor?
Chiropractors are health care professionals trained and focused on diagnosis, chiropractic care and prevention of disorders of the spine as well as other parts of the musculoskeletal system, and the associated effects on the neurological system. Chiropractors are best known for safely and effectively treating neuromuscular complaints, including acute back and neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs as well as headaches. While chiropractors primarily focus on treating neuromuscular complaints, they also provide soft-tissue therapies, lifestyle recommendations, fitness coaching and nutritional advice. They also refer patients to other health professionals and practitioners for treating spine related problems such as lower back pain.
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Is a Chiropractor a Doctor?
Chiropractic in itself is not a specialty taught in medical or nursing schools. A chiropractor is conferred with the title Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C) rather than the Medical Doctor (M.D.) after successfully completing a 4-year chiropractic training in an accredited Chiropractic college. A chiropractor cannot make medical diagnoses or prescribe drug treatments.
Just like any formal medical setting, on the first visit, a chiropractor will take a health history and perform a physical examination, with a special emphasis on the spine. Other examinations or tests such as x-rays may also be performed.
Are you considering booking for a chiropractic adjustment? Below are some of the benefits of booking an appointment with a chiropractor.
Benefits of Chiropractic Care
Improvement in Symptoms of Neurological Disorders: Chiropractic therapy can significantly improve symptoms of a patient suffering for neurological conditions like epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. There’s evidence supporting the use of chiropractic treatment to help to correct vertebral subluxation that contributes to epilepsy and seizures. Spinal manipulation has also been shown to help increase blood flow to the brain, as well as the flow of spinal fluid through the spinal cord.
A Chiropractic Adjustment Can Help with Neck and Lower Back Pain: Lower back and neck pain are the chief complaints for which patients seek chiropractic treatment. Almost every individual experience some kind of a lower back pain in their lifetime. The most positive research on chiropractic treatment has focused on spinal manipulation for low back pain. In addition to spinal adjustment, a chiropractor may advise you about changing your biomechanics and posture. While a medical doctor might prescribe pain medicine, muscle relaxers or anti-inflammatory drugs, and an orthopedic doctor might recommend surgery, a chiropractor will treat your neck and lower back problems by hand, through manipulation of the spine.
Sciatica: Sciatica refers to pain that radiates from the lower back down to the lower extremities due to a damaged or compressed sciatic nerve. Chiropractic therapy can be helpful in treating pinched nerves in many ways. The type of chiropractic therapy provided depends on the cause of the patient’s sciatica. A sciatica treatment plan may include several different treatments such as ice/cold therapies, ultrasound, TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), and spinal adjustments (sometimes called spinal manipulation). It is also worth noting that sciatica can be caused by other conditions beyond the scope of chiropractic practice.
Athletic Performance and Injury Prevention: Chiropractors are well-represented on interdisciplinary healthcare teams serving professional, collegiate, high school, and recreational athletes national and across the globe, assisting in the management of physical performance, supporting recovery and treatment of sports injuries. Having a chiropractor as part of the healthcare team gives players an access to adjustments, stretches, and exercises when needed.
Sports Injury Chiropractors
As part of their training, chiropractors can manage multitudes of sports injuries such as tendonitis, shoulder dislocation, muscle sprains, strains, back and neck pain. Chiropractors can help athletes improve their performance in the following ways
- Increase their energy levels
- Reduce mental and oxidative stress
- Improve pulmonary function
- Relieve muscle tension.
- Boost the immune system.
Scoliosis: Scoliosis is a spinal disorder traditionally defined as a sideways curvature (or curvatures) of the spine. Often, the curves appear S-shaped or C-shaped. A slight curvature of the spine can cause pain and postural problems. Scoliosis is a unique condition that requires a unique approach. Chiropractic has been an effective course of therapy for many patients with scoliosis and recent studies even provide more evidence that it is highly effective and that there are many benefits to using it as a treatment. Such benefits include improving the Cobb angle (term used to describe the degree of spinal deformities a person experiences or the degree of curvature of the spine) and pain scores.
Ear Infections and Chiropractic Care: Children are easily susceptible to recurring ear infections due to their immature Eustachian tube (which forms part of the middle ear), which in early childhood is shorter and angled. This anatomic difference allows easy access of bacteria into the middle ear causing infections. Utilizing chiropractic care can help improve middle ear drainage and decrease ear infections.
An Alternative to Surgery: Chiropractic has long been credited by health care providers as a natural and alternative method to prevent back surgery. Numerous studies have shown that people who tried chiropractic for their spine and back problems
Headaches (Tension headaches and migraine): Headaches and migraine top the lists of condition managed by a chiropractor, second only to back pain. Headaches can result from the back and spinal misalignment, then puts tension around the muscles of the head. It can also result from emotional and mental factors like stress, anxiety, and depression
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Multiple studies have found a correlation between chiropractic adjustments and the reduction of a migraine and headache symptoms. The most common forms of headaches respond well to chiropractic care. The vast majority of even the most severe headaches are relieved when spinal subluxations (spinal joints that are out of alignment, don’t move well and also irritate the nerves) and jaw problems are corrected. The effects that these types of problems have on the nerves often results in headaches. Some patients see instant results while others notice a steady decline in their symptoms after several weeks or longer of chiropractic care.
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Hartvigsen, J., & French, S. (2017). What is chiropractic?. Chiropractic & Manual Therapies, 25(1). doi: 10.1186/s12998-017-0163-x