What is Chiropractic Care?
There’s nothing mysterious about chiropractic. It’s a natural method of health care that treats the causes of physical problems rather than just the symptoms. Chiropractic is based on a simple but powerful premise: With a normally functioning spine and a healthy lifestyle, your body is better able to heal itself. That’s because the spinal cord, which is protected by your spine, is the main pathway of your nervous system. It controls feeling, movement, and function throughout your body. Extensive research studies have shown that chiropractic care relieves back pain more effectively than any other type of treatment.
Your chiropractor’s education includes at least six years of training in the sciences and health care, leading to a doctor of chiropractic (DC) degree. He or she works to restore your health an guides you in a personalized approach to overall wellness – through spinal care, exercise, good nutrition, and stress management.
What causes low back pain?
Your low back is a vulnerable area, constantly under the strain of supporting your upper body. Poor posture, injuries, wear and tear, hereditary weakness, or excess weight can cause a variety of painful low back problems.
Your Low Back is one of the three natural curves of your spine. If that area lacks strength or flexibility, your entire back loses support. This can put pressure on joints, nerves, and discs.
Vertebrae are bones that protect your spinal cord. They can be forced or locked out of their proper positions (misaligned).
Ligaments and muscles are supportive tissues that can be stretched, torn, or weakened.
Discs are shock absorbers that can bulge, rupture, or wear down.
Nerves, which carry the body’s messages, can get stretched, pinched, or irritated.
Can chiropractic care help me?
Your doctor of chiropractic looks at your overall health – focusing not only on your low back, but also on your lifestyle. This integrated approach helps determine the best treatment for your problem.
To help identify the cause of your problem, you and your chiropractor will discuss your symptoms and previous injuries, your family’s health history, and your lifestyle, including recreational and work related physical activities.
Physical, orthopedic and neurological tests can reveal the condition of your low back and the rest of your spine. Static and motion palpation tests check for tenderness, muscle spasms, and your back’s range of motion. This gives your chiropractor clues to the cause and extent of your low back problem.
As “blueprints” of your spine, x-rays can reveal misalignments, fractures, arthritis, hereditary malformations, or other problems. Additional tests will be done, if necessary.
Based on the examination and findings, your doctor of chiropractic may recommend an individualized treatment program to realign your low back, relieve muscle spasms, restore motion, and reduce pain. If needed, your chiropractor will also consult with other medical specialists about your condition.
How does a chiropractor treat low back pain?
Your doctor of chiropractic is uniquely qualified to restore the health of your spine. Special chiropractic techniques may relieve the pressure that is causing your low back pain.
After locating the misaligned vertebrae in your back, your chiropractor manually applies gentle pressure and repositions the vertebrae. These adjustments can help restore alignment, improve mobility, and relieve pain and stiffness.
Your chiropractor may recommend other types of treatment for strengthening your low back muscles and relieving tension and pain. Those treatments may include moist heat, ice packs, traction, or stretching and strengthening exercises. Your chiropractor can discuss these with you.
What can I do to keep my back in shape?
Boost your back health and your overall health by using good posture, staying active, eating right, and taking time to relax. Talk with your chiropractor about exercises for strengthening your back. And when you lift or move, keep your back in mind.
When lifting, bend your knees and keep your back straight. Hold the load against your body. Lift up with your leg muscles rather than your back muscles. Don’t twist to the side when you lift.
Just as you need regular dental exams, you also need regular spinal exams. Even if you don’t have symptoms, chiropractic care is one of the best ways to help prevent spinal problems. Your doctor of chiropractic can help you and your family maintain healthier lives free of low back pain.