Chiropractic pros and cons

Chiropractic pros and cons

Four out of five people will not visit a chiropractor, even when they have back pain. A lot of sufferers remain ignorant of how chiropractic care can help, often because of widespread misconceptions about chiropractors. Here, we weigh up the chiropractic pros and cons of care:

How can a chiropractor help me? Chiropractic Pros

Muscular pain is the main reason people visit a chiropractor looking to relieve the pain in their necks, shoulders, backs and legs. This pain may have stemmed from a particular incident, such as a sporting injury, or may have just worsened with age. After an initial assessment, chiropractors can design a bespoke course of treatment for this pain, usually consisting of spinal adjustments, manipulation and even massage.

Chiropractic care is not a quick fix. Over-the-counter and prescription drugs are often used to treat spinal pain, but they in no way identify the root of the problem. A chiropractor can tell you why you are experiencing pain and analyse your nervous system specifically. This is highly individualised and tailored treatment, and helps to create lasting pain relief. While medication can wear off and become less effective as your body becomes accustomed to the drug, chiropractic care can greatly assist your efforts to remain pain-free in the longer term.

We often underestimate the necessity of good posture. As our world advances and becomes more technological, we are seeing a rise in the amount of time people spend hunched over electronic devices, and our workplaces are becoming more office and desk-based. Our spinal health is deteriorating rapidly. The pressure on our necks, the position of our heads, and the unnecessary strain on the upper spine all exemplify that chiropractic care is required more now than ever before.

Why don’t we all visit a chiropractor? ‘Cons’ of chiropractic care

A common misconception about chiropractors is that because they are not medically trained doctors, they are not to be trusted. It is correct that chiropractors cannot officially diagnose medical conditions, but they certainly know your spine inside and out. They have years of training and experience and are the best judge of your spinal care. GPs themselves often recommend chiropractic care as an alternative to traditional forms of medicine.

The pain! If you have never visited a chiropractor before, it is easy to see why you may associate this kind of treatment with pain. You may have heard extreme stories from others, or seen exaggerated examples of chiropractic care on television. It is a myth that successful chiropractic treatment needs to hurt. While certain treatments can be slightly uncomfortable, chiropractic care is designed to eliminate pain from your life in general, so temporary discomfort is far preferable to a lifetime of back, neck and shoulder pain.

Chiropractic care for pain management

Chiropractic Care for Pain Management

When we experience any pain in our bodies, it is all too easy to choose the fastest method of pain relief. This usually comes in the form of painkillers, whether over-the-counter or prescription drugs.

However, traditional medication only offers short-term relief for those living with pain, cannot be relied on forever, and can even become an addiction if our bodies become accustomed to its effects. By stocking up on painkillers, we mask the symptoms of our pain, rather than identifying and remedying the cause of it.

Chiropractic care and treatment, which is the manipulation of the spine with the hands, is highly effective for pain management. Here, we find out how:

Persistent neck pain

Intense neck pain is caused by a number of factors, and many of us will experience it during our lifetimes. Posture issues, hunching over a mobile device, sitting at a computer for an extended period of time and stress are all factors that contribute to our experiences of neck pain.

Stress is a particularly potent factor, as when we’re anxious or worried, we hold this tension in our necks and shoulders. When left untreated, this tension can develop into persistent neck pain.

Chiropractic care can assist in this by giving an initial assessment of the problem and then developing a tailored treatment plan to reduce the pain. This treatment can involve a mixture of spinal adjustments such as mobilisation and manipulation, massage and even acupuncture if required.

Pain and stiffness in the back

Back pain is an even more common complaint than neck pain, with most of us experiencing some form of back pain or stiffness at some point in our lives.

Pain and stiffness in the back generally stem from posture issues or some form of repetitive strain. Injuries, accidents and incidents involving heavy lifting can also create painful niggles in the back.

As back pain comes in many forms, seeking chiropractic care is far more advisable than traditional medication. A chiropractor can identify the source of the pain and perform manual therapies on the spine. They can then also offer lifestyle advice, with the intention of preventing further back pain or the effects of a previous back problem from returning.

Headaches and migraines

Headaches come in many different types and variations, so it is important to seek medical assessment from your GP to determine what type of headache or migraine you are likely to be suffering from.

However, if you are diagnosed as suffering from frequent cervicogenic headaches or migraines, chiropractor care can offer specific adjustments to help these and address spinal imbalances. They can also recommend home exercises and give posture advice to clients who are looking to ease the pain of headaches and migraines without long-term pain medication.

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How to crack your back: why you should see a chiropractor

Back pain can be caused by a particular incident that is easy to pin-point or it can creep up on you over time. Either way, it can range from anywhere between a slight twinge to absolute agony and, by leaving it, you could actually prolong and or worsen any pain you might be feeling. It may even prevent you from completing simple, daily tasks, such as loading the dishwasher or from sitting in your favourite chair.

When it comes to being a hindrance on your life, therefore, it’s best to avoid that friend who claims they know how to crack your back and book an appointment with a registered chiropractor.

Professional back cracking can not only alleviate any pain or discomfort you feel, but it can also identify the root of your problem. Through undertaking a personalised treatment program, it is more than likely that you will not need your back cracking anymore afterwards.

Depending on your work situation, it is possible it will not be doing your back any good. Whether you are on your feet in a manual labour capacity or seated a desk in an office, one of the main causes of back pain is bad posture. This will be particularly harsh on your back after several years of doing the same job. Through a chiropractor cracking back pain, your posture will certainly improve and is strongly advised for you to stretch sufficiently before, after (and even during) each working day, to ensure the pain stays away and that you do not require any further treatment.

Better posture is just one of several outcomes from a chiropractor cracking your back.
After your treatment, you will feel much more movement in your spine, allowing you to turn with ease. This will have a significant impact on your day-today-life, regardless of your job role or your employment status.

Depending on your individual conditions, having been treated by a chiropractor, you may also benefit from a much improved nervous and immune system, with some stating that even their mental perception has improved since having their back cracked.

To that end, more and more people have revealed they visit a chiropractor as it helps with their mental wellbeing, as well as their physical health.
Studies have shown that, by improving the nervous system and blood flow to the brain, through chiropractic treatment, previous sufferers have experienced a reduction in the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

The reasons as to why you first think you should visit a chiropractor are entirely your own. However, there are many benefits – both explicit and implicit – to embarking on this treatment journey that you will ultimately end up a healthier, happier version of yourself.

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Top 5 benefits of seeing a chiropractor

More of us are using chiropractic care to look after our backs, shoulders and necks. Not just restricted to those with injuries or agonising spinal pain, however, people continue to receive treatment for many other reasons, including slight ‘tune-ups’ and constant migraines.

1. Back and neck pain

The main reason many people visit chiropractors is to receive pain relief in their necks, shoulders, backs and legs. This may have occurred from one specific incident or it may have worsened over time. Through a program of chiropractic care, agonising pain can disappear.

2. Chiropractic care gets to the root of the problem

Unlike some quick-fixes, such as prescription drugs, one of the key chiropractic benefits is that it not only alleviates any pain, but, through a treatment program, a chiropractor can identify exactly how a pain is caused, focusing on the nervous system. Through this analysis, they can work to treat any disorders discovered on someone’s nervous system and, by realigning the spine, they can, in turn, reduce the pain felt by the patient.

3. Good posture

Somewhat linked to this is the necessity of good posture. Whatever someone’s work environment is, it probably is the main cause for their bad posture, particularly if they are spending hours a day behind a desk. The hunched over position is one that is incredibly detrimental to thousands of people, creating pressure on the back of their necks and moving their heads from their true centre of gravity. All of this brings unnecessary strain on the neck and upper spine. A chiropractor, however, can realign any parts out of place and, with sensible stretching and exercise; ensure you will not need any further treatment.

4. Mental health bonuses

As well as being healthy in the physical sense of the word, chiropractic care can make someone healthy on the inside. By realigning vertebra into their natural position, a chiropractor can allow a clearer blood flow which can then relieve any stress or anxiety a patient might be feeling. Again, this depends on them assessing the condition of the nervous system and rectifying it accordingly.

5. Less likely to need further treatment

Although a treatment program for chiropractic care can take place over a number of sessions, it is quite rare for one person to return to a chiropractor for further action, after their initial appointments are over. As stated before, the root of the problem is identified early on in the process and is therefore treated until both the chiropractor and patient are both happy with the result. It is possible, of course, for a person to return because their vertebra may need to be realigned for a different reason. But, once initial treatment has concluded, a patient will be well on their way to a pain-free life.

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Debunking chiropractic myths

Despite being around for over a century, chiropractic care is still greeted with some scepticism. With approximately 3,000 registered chiropractors in the UK, it is hard to question the success of the field, even in the face of limited input from the NHS, and, if you should mention it to an experienced medical practitioner, you may be met with raised eyebrows.

But, that seems a little unfair, doesn’t it?

Here, we tackle some of the popular misconceptions and surprising factors that continue to dog the field of chiropractic care:

1. You must be referred to a chiropractor by your doctor.

No. Chiropractors are independent practitioners who can be approached by whoever needs their services. As part of a health plan (depending, of course, on your condition), your GP may suggest seeing a chiropractor for a number of different reasons. But, this is also a notion you may have on your own, meaning the only waiting list you will be on is the chiropractor’s own. It is sometimes suggested you discuss your options with your GP, but if you have already exhausted painkillers, it might be time to book an appointment with a registered chiropractor.

2. Chiropractors aren’t doctors, so why should I trust them?

You are right. Chiropractors are not medically trained doctors. They cannot diagnose you, but they know your spine inside and out. It is, after years of training, their area of complete expertise and they know how best to treat you, whatever your condition.
Many chiropractors enhance their practise further by completing specialist postgraduate courses so that they can treat people under the age of 18.

3. The process is painful

If you have never been to a chiropractor before, you may have seen it in a film and believe it to be the equivalent of a rough massage. With characters groaning in agony/ecstasy, you may even think that, in order for chiropractic treatment to be successful, it has to hurt.
However, adjustments of your joints generally do not hurt. It is more a case of eliminating pain that has been hindering you and your life up until the appointment.

4. You must keep going back to the chiropractor

Again, no. Your first appointment is to agree a treatment plan with your chiropractor and the number of sessions after that depends on your condition. The plan is something that is to be done WITH you and not to you. The relationship between yourself and the professional should be a partnership that can be ended at any time, if you feel like its run its course. Despite this, they do want the best for you and will work to relieve you of any pain you have been feeling.

neck adjustment

How Chiropractic Neck Adjustment Helps Relieve Pain

In recent years there has been a marked increase in holistic health treatments. Embracing alternative treatment methods rather than relying on traditional medication is on trend. Chiropractic treatment, for example, has been proven as an effective therapeutic treatment for back pain and neck pain without the need for prescribed pain relief, anti-inflammatory drugs or other prescribed medication.

While many people, all of whom have been and continue to be successfully treated will readily attest to the effectiveness of chiropractic treatment, there is still ongoing debate regarding the safety of such treatment.

Neck adjustments, for example, have had some controversial feedback and bad press from people claiming that the procedure can cause a stroke. However, research carried out and published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, for example, has proven that the incidence of stroke attributed to neck adjustment is 1 in 5.85 million neck adjustment procedures.
Chiropractic procedure safety has been proven through extensive research. In fact, should there be more injuries and incidents related to chiropractic treatment, reams of independent medical research would have uncovered those risks and effects if they existed.

Understanding the risk

Neck adjustment or cervical manipulation has been attributed to a specific type of stroke called vertebral artery dissection. But this type of injury is more likely to occur through everyday activities such as sudden turning of the head, driving, swimming or over-physical exertion. Research has also documented that there are more risks involved with using anti-inflammatory drugs to treat back pain and neck pain, than undergoing a natural treatment such as a chiropractic neck adjustment.

Further research also concluded that the arteries found in the neck do not suffer more strain through chiropractic manipulation than any regular activity would. A chiropractic neck adjustment will in sporadic instances, involve the rotation and extension of the neck to more than a 45-degree rotation. Everyday activities of a person also require this same degree of movement far more frequently.

What is a neck adjustment?

A neck adjustment refers to the application of manipulation to the vertebrae that have been found to be functioning abnormally. The primary objective of this procedure is to help increase the person’s range of motion, reduce irritability in the nerves as well as improve overall bodily functions.

Often, when the neck and head are ‘out of position’ it can cause ‘referred pain’ – that is to say, pain which is felt in another area or part of the body other than its actual source. So, that lower back pain or the tingling in your arm, for example, may be as a result of your neck and shoulders being ‘out of true’.

What causes neck pain?

Since neck pain is one of the common reasons why a visit to a chiropractor becomes necessary, it is essential to understand the primary cause of neck pain. Neck pain is often caused by irritated or swollen joints. When this happens, the swollen joint stops moving normally. As a result, the adjacent muscles surrounding the joint area tense up to provide reinforcement resulting in limited movement. Not only do you have inflamed joints, but you have tense muscles too.

A neck adjustment helps alleviate this condition by setting the joint back in its proper position. A chiropractor pops the neck so that the joint starts to move freely and the muscles are no longer tense and stiff. In some cases, a chiropractor may also use other treatment methods to alleviate muscle tension and pain.

Another interesting fact about referred pain is migraines. If you suffer from headaches or migraines, it may be a symptom of an injury or issue with your neck and shoulders with which you may be unaware.

Other benefits of neck adjustment

Visiting a chiropractor on a regular basis helps with several conditions. Aside from treating neck pain, a chiropractor that focuses on back pain can also customise a treatment plan to help resolve several conditions related to the spiral area such as bad posture.

Intense neck and back pain can be a debilitating condition. It is more common than one would think, especially for young professionals who spend most of their hours sitting at a desk and staring at a computer screen. Considering a natural treatment such as chiropractic can provide long-term treatment for such concerns.

What to expect when you visit a chiropractor

When you visit a chiropractor, a full assessment of your condition will be conducted. Several treatment plans and techniques can be applied to achieve positive results. In some instances, chiropractic treatment can be combined with other natural pain treatments such as acupuncture.

If you have come to seek treatment for a recurring condition, a different method may be used in addition to the treatment used in the past. You can also expect counselling concerning what you need to do after the procedure is completed. For example, you may be asked to apply a hot or cold pack on the treatment area or take up specific physical exercise to maintain your physical health.

Neck pain and back pain are not always considered to be severe conditions. Many people who endure these without treatment experience limited mobility and stress. Natural treatments like neck adjustment are highly safe and controlled. There is no reason for anyone to fear or be concerned about its safety.

As a practical and natural treatment to manage pain and improve overall health, visiting a chiropractor is an excellent approach to holistic health, without the inherent dangers of modern anti-inflammatory medication and pain killing drugs.

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