This article is written by dr. Brent Wells from Better Health Alaska.
Dealing with chronic pain can be, well a pain. You are inhibited when it comes to completing everyday tasks because you don’t want to intensify the discomforts that you are already dealing with. Up to 39% of individuals coping with just back pain alone say that they can’t do the things they usually would as far as their regular routines.
There are a variety of treatment options available when it comes to chronic pain, but what you chose to do can have an impact on your life as well. Many people are turning to more unconventional, holistic methods of treatment to deal with health issues associated with pain. One of the options that a vast number of Americans are turning to for chronic pain management is chiropractic care. Discover more about how it can help you and what you can expect when you visit a chiropractor’s office for relief of your chronic pain.
Do Chiropractors Really Help with Chronic Pain Management?
One of the previously sought out treatment options for chronic pain was visiting your family medical doctor. These professionals would often recommend a regimen of pain medications, muscle relaxers, and maybe physical therapy to deal with the problem. In severe cases, the most invasive form of treatment, surgery, was the only option. Thankfully, for those that choose not to take prescription medications that can have adverse side effects, there is the option of going to a chiropractor.
Chiropractors work on improving not just the pain that you are already dealing with, but the overall health and well-being of your entire body as a whole through manipulations and adjustments of the spine. The idea behind the treatment is that the body, when properly cared for, will work to heal itself. Qualified doctors of chiropractic care can treat a variety of pain issues including:
- Back Pain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Disc Problems
- Headaches and Migraines
- Neck Pain
- Pinched Nerves
- Shoulder Pain
- Sprains and Strains
Over 35 million Americans visit chiropractors annually for the treatment of pain, and that’s because it does work. One study shows that around 4 million Americans sought out chiropractic treatment for their chronic back pain in 2002. Out of those treated, 66% of them said that they felt a “great benefit” from getting regular treatments.
Chiropractic and Pain Management
Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts months, years, or longer without relief. It can start out acutely from an injury or accident and turn into chronic pain. Basically, it’s pain that remains after the body heals whatever has been damaged whether it be a muscle, bone, tissue, or another body part.
In 2011, the National Institutes of Health stated that 76 million people in America were dealing with chronic pain from the neck and back as well as from headaches and migraines. Many people seek out traditional physicians. Even though they get some relief, the underlying issue isn’t treated. It’s only covered up with the use of anti-inflammatory medications and pain pills. Then they are also dealing with all the negative reactions that people can get from taking these pharmaceuticals including:
- Constipation and digestive issues
- Drug dependency
- Hormone imbalances
- Weakened immune systems
- Liver toxicity
Chiropractors work to promote your body’s self-healing problems instead of just masking what is causing your discomforts. Studies show that people that get at least 12 weeks of chiropractic treatment feel better or as good as those that receive pain medications from a medical doctor.
What Does a Chiropractor Do for Lower Back Pain?
There are several different parts of the back can cause lower back pain including:
- Sacral spine – connected to the pelvis; involves the sacrum bone
- Lumbar – lower back
- Thoracic – upper back
- Cervical – neck area
While a medical doctor would treat the back as one unit, a chiropractor can determine the exact location that is causing the chronic pain and address that area specifically. Chiropractors will use a multidisciplinary approach to care including massage therapy, manipulations and adjustments, rehabilitation, and sometimes even herb-based therapies.
Not only will a chiropractor work with you in his or her office on your physical well-being, but they will also provide you with education and information on lifestyle changes and dietary needs necessary to reduce and hopefully eliminate your chronic pain once and for all.
What to Expect When Getting a Chiropractic Adjustment
If you’ve never been to see a chiropractor before, the experience can seem a bit nerve-wracking at first. Your images are of the ones you hear of bones cracking and snapping that you’ve seen in movies or television. For someone suffering from chronic pain, the thought of having anything done to your body with that amount of force can make you cringe. In reality, that’s not all that chiropractic doctors do.
A professional, educated, and an experienced chiropractor is going to start by doing a complete verbal consultation of your medical history along with getting a description of your current symptoms. Together you will work to determine what your goals and expectations are for the treatment you are seeking.
A physical examination including a blood pressure check, muscle and range of motion tests, posture analysis, and neurological tests will be done and recorded. From there, they will do a hands-on evaluation of the spinal cord, neck, hips, and other body parts to find the locations that are have been disrupted. If there are x-rays, lab tests, MRIs, or CAT scans needed for a more in-depth look, they can be ordered and often completed that very same day.
Anything that shows up as an issue or that is out of alignment is the first place they will work to start treating pain. That usually happens during the second visit after all of your results come back. During your second visit, a treatment plan will be discussed and created, and the road to recovery from chronic pain will begin.
Visits usually last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour depending on the severity of your issue. Your chiropractor will give you a recommendation for how long you should continue coming back, but regular chiropractic care is the best way to not only treat existing conditions, but prevent further ones from occurring later on in life.
Author Bio: Dr. Brent Wells is a graduate of the University of Nevada where he earned his bachelor’s of science degree before moving on to complete his doctorate from Western States Chiropractic College. He founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab in Alaska in 1998.
He became passionate about being in the field of Chiropractic in Anchorage after his own experiences with hurried, unprofessional healthcare providers. The goal for Dr. Wells is to treat his patients with care and compassion while providing them with a better quality of life through his professional treatment.
Dr. Wells is a member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians.
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