When it comes to back pain management and body mechanics, no other healthcare profession better understands their relationship than chiropractic medicine. Many people misunderstand chiropractic care as direct pain management that works like a topical prescription. That is, as long as you're having pain, you should be applying this medicine. Though chiropractic care can help you out of a pinch, it also teaches simple, ongoing lifestyle habits that prevent injury, promote natural healing and encourage graceful aging. With chiropractic care in your monthly routine, you can more easily manage stress and increasing your quality of life!
A common misnomer is that chiropractic care treats the symptoms of a condition such as pain, numbness or headache. Truly, chiropractic medicine is a functional medicine that addresses and corrects the root cause of symptoms. An adjustment, or mechanical correction, naturally improves the overall function and mobility of the body. E.g., Low back pain may feel better with Tylenol because Tylenol dulls the perception of inflammation. However, Tylenol does not stop the source of that inflammation. If your body mechanics don't move as intended, a pill cannot physically restore their motion or correct their alignment. Without correcting the source, pain can continue or return every time the mechanics are stressed. Chiropractors inspect ALL of your chain-mechanics together to correctly identify sources of stress and offer natural, drug-free relief.
A simple Q&A with a chiropractor may sound similar to this:
- Q: Why does the back pain hurt?
- A: Because inflammation is being felt as pain.
- Q: Why is there inflammation?
- A: Because these body mechanics are faltering.
- Q: Why do these mechanics falter?
- A: Because the joint lacks motion.
- Q: Can the motion be restored and with it the pain removed?
- A: YES!
Chiropractors are specifically trained to identify signs of dysfunction through examining the spine. You may have noticed the dysfunction of a joint yourself or maybe you've been completely unaware. After all, most people cannot easily see their own back, much less examine it. A chiropractor's entire profession revolves around analyzing the function and alignment of your spine and their effects on your health!
In fact, chiropractic is the largest, most regulated, and best recognized of the complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) professions. CAM patient surveys show that chiropractors are used more often than any other alternative provider group. Surveys also show patient satisfaction with chiropractic care is impressively high (WebMD states a 95% satisfaction rate). In the United States alone, there has been a steady increase in patient use of chiropractic which has tripled over the past two decades!
What Can Chiropractic Do...
Much like a physical therapist, chiropractors analyze your body's functional movement and postural alignment. After identifying the misalignments, chiropractors offer various forms of therapy to help realign your body and optimize your health. One of these therapies is called Chiropractic Manual Therapy or CMT. CMT use manual-thrust manipulation to restore motion back into a restricted joint. Only licensed chiropractors are legally allowed and professionally trained to perform these adjustments! Doctors of Osteopathy (DO) are legally allowed to perform thrust-manipulation but often do not due to lack of training and practice.
Manual-thrust manipulation has been proven to provide greater short-term reductions in self-reported disability and pain compared with usual medical care. Up to 94% of manual-thrust manipulation patients achieved greater than 30% pain reduction compared with 69% of usual medical care.
...For Reducing the Odds of Surgery
Chiropractic care reduces the odds of surgery for those whose first provider is a chiropractor. Up to 42.7% of workers with back injury have surgery when they first see a surgeon. Only 1.5% of workers with back injury have surgery when they first see a chiropractor.
In fact, the American Medical Association (AMA) recommends and encourages patients seek chiropractic care before resorting to surgery.
...For Low Back Pain
More Money Saved
Patients receive better outcomes for their low back pain and also save far more money with chiropractic. A Tennessee based study found chiropractic care for low back pain to be economically superior. Low back pain initiated with a chiropractor saved 20% to 40% percent on health care costs when compared to an MD. Researchers estimated that DC-initiated care would have saved an annual cost of $2.3 million for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee.
Patients with chronic low back pain treated by chiropractors show greater improvement and satisfaction at one month than patients treated by family physicians. Satisfaction scores are also much higher for chiropractic patients. A higher proportion of chiropractic patients (56% vs. 13%) reported that their low back pain was better or much better. Some studies show nearly 1/3rd of medical patients report their low back pain was made worse or much worse.
Chiropractic can also instantly relieve muscle pain. Patients with myofascial pain experienced immediate improvements in pressure pain thresholds after receiving chiropractic adjustments.
In fact, the immediate benefits of chiropractic care can actually be visualized on MRI following manipulation!
…For Neck Pain
Neck adjustments immediately improve joint position sense which can improve mobility in patients with neck pain.
In a randomized controlled trial, 183 patients with neck pain were randomly allocated to spinal manipulation, physiotherapy (mainly exercise) or general practitioner care (counseling, education and drugs) in a 52-week study. The clinical outcomes measures showed that spinal manipulation resulted in faster recovery than physiotherapy and general practitioner care. Moreover, total costs of the spinal manipulation-treated patients were about one-third of the costs of physiotherapy or general practitioner care.
Cervical spine manipulation is associated with significant improvement in headache outcome trials involving patients with neck pain and/or neck dysfunction and headache.
Some studies show that spinal manipulative therapy is an effective treatment for tension headaches. Even four weeks after treatment, patients who received spinal manipulative therapy experienced a sustained therapeutic benefit IN ALL MAJOR OUTCOMES in contrast to the patients who received drug therapy and reverted to baseline values.
...For Shoulder Pain
Chiropractic care thaws frozen shoulder syndrome! Patients can expect a 78% improvement in pain after receiving chiropractic care for frozen shoulder syndrome.
...In Comparison to Mainstream Treatment
Though Medical Doctors (MDs) do have their specialties in medicine and sickness, they can fall short in providing sufficient, sustained relief for patients without chemical dependence. This is not necessarily the MDs' fault. MDs and hospitals can be governed by tycoon insurance agencies and pharmaceutical companies that only payout with increases in prescription drug sales. Major medical's most common answers to back pain often point to opioid medication. Prescription painkillers and muscle relaxers may reduce pain but that's all they do. They don't fix the problem, they only silence the alarms. Chiropractic care analyzes those same alarms and fixes the problem at the source.
Patients find far more satisfaction under their chiropractic providers care than medical providers with regards to back pain. Results from observational studies have proven this time and time again. Additionally, studies conclude that patients are more satisfied with chiropractic care than they are with physical therapy alone after six weeks.
Studies have compared the effectiveness of chiropractic care, physical therapy, and continued care by a MD in patients with nonspecific neck pain. Success rates at seven weeks were twice as high for the chiropractic group (68.3 percent) as for the continued care group (MD). Chiropractic care scored better than physical therapy on all outcome measures. Patients receiving chiropractic care had fewer absences from work than patients receiving physical therapy or continued MD care.
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