Chiropractic is a system of therapy that is focused on the structure of the body, specifically the spine. Chiropractors carry out hand manipulation of the body. The theory behind chiropractic is that the proper alignment of the body would cause the body to heal itself. This system of therapy helps to relieve pain, and also boosts the functions of the body. Although the majority of chiropractic is spinal manipulation, chiropractic care is also used for the treatment of other conditions. It’s mostly combined with other types of treatment such as postural and exercise educations, physical therapy, which usually includes teaching patients how to walk, sit, and how to prevent back strain. A lot of chiropractors work with other health care professionals and personnel, such as primary care doctor, pain experts, nurses, psychologists, and surgeons to treat patients, especially those with special cases. Chiropractic is mainly used for the treatment of musculoskeletal-related conditions, such as back pain, neck pain and so on. A lot of people choose chiropractic because of its effectiveness in treating pain. In addition, this system of therapy is almost without risk, as it’s not invasive. However, there have been reports of complications due to this type of treatment. Some of them include headache, stroke, and so on. A chiropractor may also advise patients about biomechanics, diet, posture and how to improve their condition.
What Is Chiropractic?
Chiropractors make use of the hand in manipulating the spine, and also other alternative treatments. The main theory behind is that the proper alignment of the musculoskeletal structure, especially the spine would assist the body in healing itself without the need for medications or any invasive procedure. The manipulation is done to improve the mobility in the joints, especially the joints whose mobility has been restricted due to diseases or injuries such as road traffic accident, falling from a height, repetitive stress and so on. This method of treatment is primarily used to bring relief to patients suffering from pain, and also, it’s an alternative for muscles, joints, bones and connective tissues.
What Is A Chiropractor?
A chiropractor is a health care professional that is focused on the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. They do this with an emphasis on treatment through the use of manual adjustment of the spine and other parts of the body. They seek to reduce the pain suffered by patients, especially in cases such as back pain, neck pain and also help to improve the functionality of patients. In addition, they educate patients on how they can take proper care of their health, including the type of exercise to do, the type of diet, and changes in lifestyle. However, it’s important not to confuse a medical doctor for a chiropractor. There are some specialties under chiropractic. Some of the fields are as follow:
- Sports medicine
- Forensic sciences
- Occupational and industrial health
- Rehabilitation and so on.
Chiropractors can specialize in any of these fields. They diagnose patient just like physicians. This usually involves taking a medical and family history of the patient, which is then followed by performing a thorough physical and neurological examination. They might also carry out other diagnostic tests such as blood and imaging tests. After they’ve made a diagnosis, a treatment plan would be drawn out for the patient. In situations where the disorder the patient is beyond the scope of chiropractic, patients are referred to health professionals that are better suited to treat the disease. Most chiropractors work with other health care professionals such as primary care doctors, nurses, surgeons, physical therapist and so on. Chiropractors are not skill nor trained to carry out surgeries.
What Are the Fundamental Goals of Chiropractors?
As earlier mentioned, chiropractors focus on the connection between the nervous system and the spine. Their main goals of treatment include the following:
- To align the spine correctly, so the body can heal itself, and also improve its functionalities.
- To restore the structural integrity of the spine. They do this by reducing the pressure on the sensitive neurological tissues.
How Does A Chiropractor Treat Back Pain?
The first thing a chiropractor does is to take a full medical and family history of the patient. This is then followed up with a thorough physical and medical evaluation of the patient. The signs and symptoms presented by the patient would also be examined. The physician might also make use of diagnostic tests such as X-ray, MRI, CT-scan and so on. The chiropractor would draw up a treatment plan after coming up with a diagnosis. Treatment plans in chiropractic are usually specific to the patient. This may involve the manual adjustments of the spine, joints and so on. They apply sudden force and different pressure on parts of the body, and other range of motion. Chiropractors don’t apply a lot of force when treating kids or old adults, to prevent complications. Chiropractors may also include nutrition and rehabilitation in their treatment plan. The main focus of chiropractor is to restore function, mobility, pain relief, and prevention of injury in patients.
How to Become A Chiropractor?
Chiropractors are individuals that provide primary care based on diseases that affect the musculoskeletal and nervous system. They make use of hand manipulation of the spine, and other joints to treat some conditions. Some of the techniques they use include massage therapy, acupuncture and so on. Some of the diseases they treat include back pain, neck pain and so on. Their practice is based on the theory that the body can heal itself without any form of medication or invasive procedure.
Chiropractors must have a doctor of chiropractic to practice. Individuals that want to become a chiropractor must first acquire a degree in any science related course. This might take between 3 to 4 years. Then they’d proceed to the school of chiropractic. They have to be licensed by the state in which they desire to practice. The first 2 years of the chiropractic program is mostly on basic medical sciences such as anatomy, physiology, pathology, and microbiology, while the remaining two years is about manipulation techniques and courses on the various fields of medicine such as neurology, nutrition, geriatrics, pediatrics, orthopedics, rehabilitation and so on. The last year of training does involve the students treating patients but under the guidance of a licensed chiropractor.
How Does A Chiropractor Treat Back Pain?
Back pain is one of the most common reasons why people consult chiropractors. This is because chiropractic is effective in the treatment of musculoskeletal and neurological conditions. To treat back pain, the chiropractor takes the initial and family history of the patient. This is then followed by a diagnosis of the patient, which is done by carrying out tests such as X-ray, CT scan, MRI and so on. Treatment involves the use of manual adjustment of the joints, through controlled and sudden force applied to the affected part of the body.
What Is Back Pain?
Back pain is one of the most common reasons why people visit chiropractors. It’s also one of the commonest reasons why people visit the hospital. Studies have shown that most people have had back pain at least once. Back pain usually resolves by itself, although there are conditions in which it persists for a long time, and would require the intervention of a physician. Chiropractic is effective for the treatment of back pain.
Signs And Symptoms Of Back Pain
Persons affected with back pain do present with several symptoms. Some of them include the following:
- Patients present with muscle ache. This mostly occurs when the patient moves.
- Persons affected with back pain usually have difficulty bending, walking and lifting heavy things.
- The pain experienced by patients does improve with reclining.
- The pain experienced by patients might radiate down their leg, hips, and
- The patient might also experience shooting or stabbing pain.
When Is It Important To Ask For Medical Help?
Back pain is a disorder most people tend to overlook until it starts to affect their daily lives. Most forms of back pain do improve within a few weeks. However, there are situations in which it doesn’t improve, even after a long time. Below are some of the signs and symptoms that would demand you to seek urgent help:
- Patients experience bladder problems in association with back pain: Persons affected with back pain, that also have bladder problems should urgently go see a physician, as this back pain might be a symptom of severe underlying disease.
- Fever: Experiencing a combination of a fever and back pain could be an indication that a patient has an infection, especially of the components of the urinary system.
- When a patient develops back pain as a result of an injury, or a blow to the back.
- When the back pain and its symptoms don’t improve with rest.
- It’s important to go see a physician if the pain spreads from the back to other parts of the body such as the knee and legs.
- Unexplained weight loss: Patients that experiences loss of weight and back pain should go for evaluation, as the back pain may be a symptom of an underlying disease.
- When a patient experiences numbness or weakness in one or both legs.
- Age: Persons above 50, that starts having back pain for the first time need to see a physician urgently, for proper diagnosis and treatment.
What Are the Causes Of Back Pain?
Back pain usually doesn’t last for a long time. However, there have been cases where they last for more than 3 months. Back pain that persists for more than 3 months is referred to as chronic pain, while those that last for no more than 6 weeks is referred to as acute back pain. Back pain can develop without any cause a physician can diagnose. However, some of the common causes of back pain include the following:
- Arthritis: This condition causes chronic pain in the back, and also other joints of the body. Their various types of arthritis; however, the most common one is osteoarthritis. This condition causes the narrowing of the space around the spinal cord. This condition is also referred to as spinal stenosis.
- Bulging intervertebral disks: This is a condition in which there is a rupture of the cushions between the vertebrae. The rupture of the discs could be as a result of an injury, trauma and so on. The bulging of the disc can also compress important nerves, which would cause the patient to feed a lot of pain.
- The strain of muscles and ligaments: This mostly occurs when a strong force is applied to the muscle and ligaments. This can be as a result of lifting something heavy, or an abrupt, awkward movement of the back muscles and ligaments.
- Skeletal abnormalities: These are conditions in which there are irregularities in the spine. An example of this condition is scoliosis. This can cause a lot of discomfort for the patient.
What Are The Risk Factors Of Back Pain?
These are factors that contribute to the development of back pain. Some of the conditions include the following:
- Age: Back pain is more prevalent in adults, especially persons above the age of 40.
- Fitness: Individuals that do not engage themselves in regular exercise are prone to develop back pain.
- Weight: Individuals that are overweight or obese have a high risk of developing back pain. This is because of the strain the excess weight puts on the back, hip and knee joints.
- Smoking: Studies have shown that smokers have a high risk of developing back pain. This is because smoking reduces the amount of blood that flows the disks in the back. In addition, smoking also slows down the healing
How to Prevent Back Pain?
There are so many ways of preventing back pain. Some of them are as follows:
- Regular exercise: It has been shown that people who engage themselves in regular exercise such as jogging, running, swimming and so on, have a low risk of developing back pain. This is because exercise increases strength and endurance. In addition, it also improves the function of the back muscles.
- Quit smoking: As earlier mentioned, smoking reduces the number of nutrients that get to the intervertebral discs and also reduces the healing However, quitting smoking helps to improve the healing process.
- Weight: Maintaining a normal and healthy weight.
Diagnosis Of Back Pain
Chiropractors diagnose back pain by carrying out the physical and neurological examination of the patient. Patients are also asked to rate the pain they’re feeling on a scale of zero to ten. Physicians might also order some more test to confirm the diagnosis. Some of them include the following:
- X-ray: An X-ray image shows the alignment of the bones, and whether the patient is suffering from arthritis or fracture. However, X-rays don’t show the impairments of the muscles, nerves and intervertebral discs.
- Blood tests: This is done to examine if the patient has an infection or other disorder that might lead to back pain.
- CT-scans or MRI: This is done to know if the patients are affected by herniated discs, or problems with bones, tendons, tissues, and nerves.
Treatment of Back Pain
There are two main forms of back pain, based on the duration of the disease. Acute pain usually resolves without any medical intervention. However, there are cases where back pain doesn’t resolve with home remedies but persists for a long time. Physicians treat back pain with a combination of medications and physical therapy.
Some of the medications used for the treatment of back pain include the following:
- Pain relievers: These are medications that are used for improving pain and discomfort experienced by the patient. Examples of pain-relieving medications include nonsteroidal medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin. Others include naproxen.
- Muscle relaxants: These are medications that are also given to improve the pain felt by patients. Muscle relaxants are usually administered when pain killers don’t work for the patient.
- Antidepressants: There are some antidepressants that are effective for the treatment of back pain. Examples include amitriptyline.
- Surgery: This is usually done when medications and physical therapy doesn’t work for the patient. Patients affected with nerve compression might benefit from surgery. In addition, patients affected with structural problems would also benefit from surgery.
- Chiropractic: To treat back pain, the chiropractor takes the initial and family history of the patient. This is then followed by a diagnosis of the patient, which is done by carrying out tests such as X-ray, CT scan, MRI and so on. Treatment involves the use of manual adjustment of the joints, through controlled and sudden force applied to the affected part of the body.
Other Conditions Treated By Chiropractors
Asides from back pain, chiropractors, can also treat a number of medical conditions. Some of them include the following:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Abdominal pain
- Hip pain
- Knee pain.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: This is a long-term autoimmune disorder that mainly affects the joints. This condition causes the affected joint to become swollen, warm and painful. However, the stiffness and pain experienced by patients usually worsen after rest. The most commonly affected joints are the wrist and hand joints. This condition can also affect other systems of the body. Rheumatoid arthritis can lead to conditions such as anemia, inflammation around the lungs, and inflammation around the heart. This conditions usually occur progressively and might take from weeks to months to present. The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not known yet. However, some factors that contribute to the development of the disease have been identified. They are genetic and environmental factors. Studies have shown the underlying mechanism for the development of the disease is autoimmunity. The body immune system fails to recognize the tissues of the joints and proceeds to attack them. Physicians diagnose this condition by taking the medical and family history of the patient. This is then followed up with a thorough physical and neurological examination of the patient. Other tests that could be used in diagnosing this disease include X-rays, CT-scan and so on. The goal of treatment is to reduce inflammation, improve the overall health of the patient, and most importantly, to reduce the pain patient feels.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Persons affected with rheumatoid arthritis may present with the following signs and symptoms. They include the following:
- Joints: Persons affected with rheumatoid arthritis usually present with the inflammation of their synovial membrane. Their joints do become swollen, warm, tender and stiff. Joints that are most commonly affected in the body include the joints of the hands, feet and cervical spine. One of the prominent features of rheumatoid arthritis is that patients do experience increased stiffness in the morning, which gets better as the patient engages in physical activities.
- Skin: Persons affected with rheumatoid arthritis usually present with nodules on their skin. In addition, they might also experience an inflammatory reaction, known as necrotizing granuloma. Other skin conditions that are associated with rheumatoid arthritis include pyoderma gangrenosum, erythema nodosum and so on.
- Lungs: Patients do present with lung fibrosis. However, this rarely occurs.
- Blood: Patients might also present with anemia. This is because rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease. Anemia of chronic disease occurs because rheumatoid arthritis increases hepcidin levels, which causes the poor absorption of iron in the blood.
- Kidney: Rheumatoid arthritis can also cause a condition known as amyloidosis in patients.
What Are The Causes Of Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the immune system fails to recognize the tissues of joints and proceeds to attack the lining of the synovial membrane. This inflammation causes damage to the components of affected joints.
How Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Treated?
Physicians treat rheumatoid arthritis by a combination of medications and therapy. Some of the medications used in the treatment of this disease include the following:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: These drugs are used to improve the pain and inflammation in patients. Examples of these medications include ibuprofen, aspirin and so on.
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs: These are used to reduce the progression of rheumatoid arthritis, and to also protect the joints and other tissues from permanent damage.
What Are The Benefits Of Chiropractic Care?
Some of the conditions that can be treated by chiropractic care have been discussed above, below are some of the benefits of chiropractic care:
- Chiropractic care is relatively safe
- It’s effective for the treatment for the treatment of conditions such as neck pain and back pain.
It’s also effective in the treatment of conditions such as headaches, osteoarthritis without any invasive procedure.
- Personalized treatment: Chiropractic care doesn’t have a specific formula that can treat all diseases. However, your chiropractor can personalize your treatment plan to take care of your specific needs directly.
- Low risk: The risks involved in chiropractic care is low, as compared to other forms of treatment. The most common complications are the soreness experienced by patients after a procedure.
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