What is a chiropractor? – Best Chiropractor Highlands Ranch, CO
Chiropractic therapy is a specialized field of healthcare that focuses on various ailments that stem from the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. A chiropractor is a healthcare professional who has received specialized training to treat these ailments. Common ailments that chiropractors treat include neck pain, back pain, joint pain, and headaches.
Chiropractors take a hands-on approach to resolving their patients’ medical issues. Their drug-free approach has been known to yield amazing results for sufferers of chronic pain that’s related to an issue with their nervous or musculoskeletal systems.
What is a Chiropractor’s Core Philosophy?
As with all schools of healthcare, a chiropractor’s treatments and practices are based on core philosophies. A chiropractor’s philosophy is based on the inherent relationship between the spine and the nervous system. They believe the following:
- Structural degradation of the spine can create adverse effects within the nervous system.
Many problems caused by this degradation of the spine can be fixed with chiropractic treatment that corrects the structural integrity of the spine. This correction will subsequently improve the overall health of the patient.
These core beliefs have created an entire school of healthcare that is focused on re-establishing normal mobility to the spine. Once restored, irritation to the spinal nerves will be eased, which can relieve pain or restore mobility.
What Conditions Do Chiropractors Treat?
Using non-surgical, drug-free forms of care, chiropractors treat a wide variety of conditions. The theory is that all of these conditions are treatable with chiropractic adjustments because they are related to problems in the nervous system. Some of the following conditions can be entirely corrected with ongoing care, whereas others can have pain dramatically reduced:
- Sciatica (lower back pain)
- Arthritic pain
- Car accident injuries
- Repetitive strains
- Neck pain
- Sports injuries
According to the Journal of American Medicine Association, many people have found relief from lower back pain through chiropractic treatments. This is why the field of chiropractic care has grown exponentially – it works.
What Happens During a Chiropractic Visit?
Your first visit to any healthcare professional can sometimes be daunting. Learning what to expect during your first chiropractic visit can help eliminate any nervousness and may even prompt you to make an appointment. This is what happens when you visit a chiropractor:
Consultation – You’ll sit down with the chiropractor and explain the problems you’re having. You’ll be asked to describe the symptoms in detail, how often the pain occurs, where the pain occurs and what makes the pain feel better or worse. This conversation gives the chiropractor an idea about how they can treat you.
Medical History – After the chiropractor has a firm understanding of your current situation, they’ll ask some more questions about your history. They will ask about your family history, occupational history, treatments received in the past, dietary habits and other questions that may come up based on your unique situation.
Physical Examination – Once they have obtained all of the necessary information, they’ll proceed to the physical examination. The purpose of this is to ascertain which spinal segments are causing the problems that you’re experiencing. They’ll use a variety of methods to examine the state of your spine. Depending on your situation, a chiropractor my use an x-ray to find any subluxations, which are vertebrae with altered positions. The chiropractor may also use a device that measures the surface temperature of your skin. This information can help locate spinal areas that will require physical manipulation.
Diagnosis – Using all of the information gathered in the above steps, the chiropractor will make an assessment of your situation. Chiropractors use a three tiered system to rate their diagnosis:
- Potentially Serious – This category is for fractures, major neurological problems, joint implant problems and joint infections. Anything within this category is typically referred to relevant specialist or surgeon. A chiropractor may also be involved with ongoing treatment.
- Nerve Problem – Problems in this category relate to health problems that stem from the nerve root. Subluxations can often pinch nerves and cause a variety of problems. Other causes of nerve problems are herniated discs, spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis.
- Non Specific – This category encompasses all type of mechanical back pain that has no specific source. It’s typically treated with manual adjustments and massage.
- Adjustment/Treatment – After you’ve been diagnosed, treatment will typically begin immediately. You’ll likely begin with a light adjustment, however it will vary based on the category of your diagnosis. Also known as chiropractic manipulation, adjustments have become the staple for chiropractic treatments. Adjustments have been
shown in studies to help ease lower back pain, especially when combined with traditional medical care. Other than adjustments, your chiropractor will work with you to create a specific treatment plan.
What is a Chiropractic Treatment Plan?
Treatment plans are created by the chiropractor specifically to help relieve pain, correct subluxations, and fix mobility issues. There are many different tools that a chiropractor may use in creating your treatment plan. It will be based on your general health, the condition of your spine, the extent of your injury/irritation and your goals for recovery.
In addition to adjustments performed on regular visits to the chiropractor’s office, a custom treatment plan may include:
Massage – The chiropractor may massage you directly or have trained massage therapists within their office. The goal is to massage soft tissue to improve circulation, reduce inflammation and encourage overall healing.
Dietary Management – What you eat can actually improve the health of your spine and back muscles. Based on your situation, the chiropractor may provide dietary suggestions or advise that you take supplements after receiving an adjustment.
Heat and Cold – Some chiropractors may alternate between heat and cold in 15 minute intervals by using heat pads, wraps and ice packs. The theory with this treatment method is that it will help improve blood flow to the area to increase the healing speed.
Exercise – It’s common for a chiropractor to recommend specific exercise programs. Anything from stretching to yoga may be suggested based on the patient’s condition. The aim is to strengthen the back muscles, which can relieve pain and correct common problems of back pain, such as poor posture.
Patient Education – Almost every patient will receive some form of education about how they can alter their lifestyle to help improve their spinal health. This may include self-care strategies, nutritional programs, and postural modification.
Ergonomics – As you continue treatment with a chiropractor, they may suggest modifications to your workstation at your office or the furniture within your home. For example, a simple change in your desk chair may eliminate the cause of lower back tension.
Several other specialized options – Chiropractors have many more tools in their belt to help in special situations. From pelvic stabilization to cold laser therapy to hydrotherapy a chiropractor can do so much to help correct the variety of issues they may encounter.
According to Korthals-de Bos of the British Medical Journal, scientists found in a randomized trial that patients with neck pain who received manual therapy (spinal mobilization), resulted in a faster recovery time than strictly using physiotherapy or general practitioner care. This study shows that the treatment that chiropractors provide is a highly effective form of care.
Do You Need to Visit a Chiropractor?
Are you experiencing any back or joint pain? Have you recently been in any type of accident and now you’re having headaches or other pain? If so, you may greatly benefit from a visit to the chiropractor. According to the American Chiropractic Association, chiropractic care is covered by most health insurance plans, including Medicare. There’s no reason for you to avoid going to a chiropractor that may be the exact solution you’ve been looking for.
Schedule an appointment with a chiropractor in your area to begin your path to a pain free life!