Chiropractors Do More than Adjust the Spine

spineWhen I first started seeing my chiropractor, I thought I knew what to expect: bone-cracking spinal adjustments. Instead, I got a massage, a recommendation to see an acupuncturist for my insomnia and to cut the sugary soda from my diet, and then the bone-cracking spinal adjustment.

While the focus on spinal adjustment and correcting subluxations (misalignments of the spine) are what makes chiropractors unique in their approach to treating patients, these may not be the only procedures a chiropractor uses to manage a patient’s pain. Natural agents such as heat, cold, water, massage, light and exercise are in keeping with the chiropractor’s promise of “hands on, drug free” care. Here are some techniques your chiropractor may use beyond spinal adjustments:

Heat and cold

Your chiropractor may alternate between heat and ice therapy, particularly for patients with back pain. Ice packs may be used to numb the back for ten to fifteen minutes, then be switched for a heating pad, heat wrap or hot water bottle to restore blood flow to the area and promote faster healing. 

Exercise

Many chiropractors will design an exercise program focusing on healing your specific complaints by strengthening the muscles that are causing you pain and improving their flexibility, preventing further injury. If your chiropractor doesn’t suggest an exercise program, ask him or her for one.

Massage

Your chiropractor may massage the soft tissue in the back and neck to reduce swelling and inflammation, improve circulation, and encourage faster healing. Massage also provides temporary pain relief for sore, aching muscles.

Dietary Management

Many chiropractors provide patients with tips on how an anti-inflammatory diet (like the popular Mediterranean or Paleo diets) may help with managing pain. Some may also recommend dietary supplements.

If you’re skeptical of asking a doctor of chiropractic for advice about nutrition, supplements or something that seems unrelated to back pain, remember that chiropractors receive practically the same training as regular MDs – they just add the focus on the spine and musculoskeletal system and spinal adjustment techniques to their training. 

Your chiropractor is uniquely qualified to give you advice on all aspects of your health and well-being, and is trained to assess and evaluate the whole body – so if your chiropractor gives you advice that has nothing to do with your sore back or sprained shoulder, don’t ignore it. Your chiropractor wants you to experience optimal health and wellness, and their advice is usually very sound. (I still haven’t given up the soda, but I’m trying.)

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Jenni C

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