When you hear the term “chiropractic adjustment”, do you immediately think of relief for neck or back pain? Did you know that there are many applications for chiropractic treatments?
The spine houses the body’s central nervous system. It contains bundles of nerves which extend to all parts of the body. The vertebrae are small, circular bones which protect these nerves. When vertebrae become compressed or subluxed (moved out of position), those nerves can become pinched and inflamed.
Chiropractic adjustments alleviate pain and illness naturally by correcting these anatomical problems without the use of harmful drugs or surgery.
Restoring natural alignment in the spine helps the body heal itself.
Most general headaches are caused by tightness and tension in the neck. Even migraines, or severe headaches lasting more than a few hours, are often tension-related.
Other headaches are caused by trauma, such as whiplash.
Conventional medical treatment for headaches and migraines includes over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and pain medication. Both of which can be costly, have potential side effects, and can be habit forming.
Chiropractic adjustment of the upper and cervical spine can provide immediate relief of even chronic headaches. In addition, the chiropractor may apply heat and massage to the neck to further relax the muscles.
CARPUL TUNNEL SYNDROME
Carpal tunnel syndrome, or repetitive use syndrome, is a common problem that affects more than 8 million people each year. Unfortunately, the surgical treatment for this problem, known as carpal tunnel release, is unsuccessful at relieving pain more than 50 percent of the time.
The nerves in the wrist which are affected in carpal tunnel syndrome originate in the neck, or cervical spine. Chiropractic adjustment of the neck, elbow and wrist can relieve this pain without resorting to surgical intervention. Heat and massage may also be applied.
Shoulder pain is a general term which can relate to tendinitis, bursitis, arthritis or rotator cuff strain. Each of these are related to inflammation in the shoulder. Conventional treatment begins conservatively with over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, but can progress to surgery to open up the joint space. This approach is effective only about 50 percent of the time, and most surgical patients experience recurring pain.
Chiropractic treatment of shoulder pain is very conservative, beginning with heat, ice and massage. The next step is adjustment of the neck, shoulder and upper back to relieve any nerve compression. Your chiropractor may also give you a few exercises to do at home to strengthen the shoulder and prevent repeat injury.
Hip pain is often the result of compression of the sciatic nerves, a bundle of nerves which run from the back, through the hip joint, and down the leg. When the nerves are pinched, they become irritated and inflamed, causing pain in the hip, low back and sometimes numbness and tingling extending down the back of the leg.
Conventional medicine again, relies heavily on anti-inflammatory medications, which can have harmful side effects. Chiropractic treatments are directed at the source of the pain. They may perform spinal adjustments, joint manipulations, as well as prescribe physiotherapy exercises which focus on stretching and strengthening the muscles.
Constipation is primarily related to poor dietary habits, but can also be caused by stress, illness or certain prescription medications. The first line of defense for irregularity is to increase fiber and water intake, and use over-the-counter laxatives if necessary.
However, chiropractic adjustments can often provide immediate relief from a sluggish colon. Lumbar adjustment along with specific abdominal massage is used to treat both acute and chronic cases. Consult your chiropractor if you become irregular, and have not responded to conventional treatments.
TERMS ASSOCIATED WITH CHIROPRACTIC THERAPY
There are certain terms and phrases associated with chiropractic therapy that may be unfamiliar to some. Be sure and ask your doctor for clarification if you are unsure of certain meanings. The basic terms include:
- Adjustment: Therapeutic process to change position of a joint or other body part.
- Compression: The act of pressing together or increasing pressure.
- Manipulation: Therapeutic reduction (replacement) of a dislocation.
- Subluxation: Partial or incomplete dislocation of the vertebrae.
Most chiropractors recommend getting regular adjustments, before pain occurs. A comprehensive adjustment can help correct minor problems and improve posture. To maintain good spine health, remember to practice good posture on a daily basis, stretch the body regularly and see your chiropractor once or twice per year.