Chiropractic CareThe Best Care for the Spine
Chiropractic As Your Primary Care Doctor for Spine and Neuromuscular Therapy
At Core, our goal is to become the go-to primary care destination for all spinal injuries and neuromuscular complaints. Just as everyone has a primary care MD for any ailment and then can be referred when advanced testing or specialists are needed, a chiropractor should be the primary care choice for the spine.
Chiropractors spend nearly their entire doctoral education on the spine. They are trained in diagnosis and prognosis of spinal complaints. Post-Doctoral education is spine focused as well, and includes injury triage, advanced imaging, and recognizing spinal pathology. Chiropractors also practice conservative care, which can begin immediately if the condition is deemed non-surgical. Research shows that chiropractic treatment for non-surgical low back pain and neck pain should be the treatment of choice for patients, and the referral of choice for medical providers.
Chiropractic Treatments for Many Types of Pain
When a person is injured in an accident, the first place they should go is to an immediate care clinic or hospital. This is to rule out unstable fractures and internal bleeding.
Once released, a trauma-trained chiropractor should be consulted to be the primary care provider if there is spinal or neuromuscular injury. At our office, a 45 minute evaluation will be performed, and advanced imaging will be ordered if necessary. We will get the most accurate diagnosis before beginning treatment or referring out to a spine surgeon or pain management specialist.
What Can a Doctor of Chiropractic Do?
Your doctor of chiropractic may do one or more of the following if you suffer from a primary headache:
- Perform spinal manipulation or chiropractic adjustments to improve spinal function and alleviate the stress on your system.
- Provide nutritional advice, recommending a change in diet and perhaps the addition of B complex vitamins.
- Offer advice on posture, ergonomics (work postures), exercises and relaxation techniques. This advice should help to relieve the recurring joint irritation and tension in the muscles of the neck and upper back.
Doctors of chiropractic undergo extensive training to help their patients in many ways beyond just treatment for low-back pain. They know how tension in the spine relates to problems in other parts of the body, and they can take steps to relieve those problems.
The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) offers the following suggestions to prevent headaches:
- If you spend a large amount of time in one fixed position, such as in front of a computer, on a sewing machine, typing or reading, take a break and stretch every 30 minutes to one hour. The stretches should take your head and neck through a comfortable range of motion.
- Low-impact exercise may help relieve the pain associated with primary headaches. However, if you are prone to dull, throbbing headaches, avoid heavy exercise. Engage in such activities as walking and low-impact aerobics.
- Avoid teeth clenching. The upper teeth should never touch the lowers, except when swallowing. This results in stress at the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) – the two joints that connect your jaw to your skull – leading to TMJ irritation and a form of tension headaches.
- Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to help avoid dehydration, which can lead to headaches.
Care of Neck Pain
During your visit, your doctor of chiropractic will perform exams to locate the source of your pain and will ask you questions about your current symptoms and remedies you may have already tried. For example:
- When did the pain start?
- What have you done for your neck pain?
- Does the pain radiate or travel to other parts of your body?
- Does anything reduce the pain or make it worse?
Your doctor of chiropractic will also do physical and neurological exams. In the physical exam, your doctor will observe your posture, range of motion, and physical condition, noting movement that causes pain. Your doctor will feel your spine, note its curvature and alignment, and feel for muscle spasm. A check of your shoulder area is also in order. During the neurological exam, your doctor will test your reflexes, muscle strength, other nerve changes, and pain spread.
In some instances, your chiropractor might order tests to help diagnose your condition. An x-ray can show narrowed disc space, fractures, bone spurs, or arthritis. A computerized axial tomography scan (a CT or CAT scan) or a magnetic resonance imaging test (an MRI) can show bulging discs and herniations. If nerve damage is suspected, your doctor may order a special test called electromyography (an EMG) to measure how quickly your nerves respond.
Doctors of chiropractic are conservative care doctors; their scope of practice does not include the use of drugs or surgery. If your chiropractor diagnoses a condition outside of this conservative scope, such as a neck fracture or an indication of an organic disease, he or she will refer you to the appropriate medical physician or specialist. He or she may also ask for permission to inform your family physician of the care you are receiving to ensure that your chiropractic care and medical care are properly coordinated.
A neck adjustment (also known as cervical manipulation) is a precise procedure applied to the joints of the neck, usually by hand. A neck adjustment works to improve the mobility of the spine and to restore range of motion; it can also increase movement of the adjoining muscles. Patients typically notice an improved ability to turn and tilt the head, and a reduction of pain, soreness, and stiffness.
Of course, your chiropractor will develop a program of care that may combine more than one type of treatment, depending on your personal needs. In addition to manipulation, the treatment plan may include mobilization, massage or rehabilitative exercises, or other therapies.
What Research Shows
One of the most recent reviews of scientific literature found evidence that patients with chronic neck pain enrolled in clinical trials reported significant improvement following chiropractic spinal manipulation. As part of the literature review, published in the March/April 2007 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, the researchers reviewed nine previously published trials and found “high-quality evidence” that patients with chronic neck pain showed significant pain-level improvements following spinal manipulation. No trial group was reported as having remained unchanged, and all groups showed positive changes up to 12 weeks post-treatment.
Back Pain Treatments
Herniated Discs (Slipped Disc) & Bulging Discs-A chiropractor will develop a treatment plan that may include spinal manipulation and other chiropractic techniques to ease the slipped disc symptoms. Adjustments to remove subluxation (when one or more of the bones in your spine move out of position) are also proven effective treatments for a slipped disc. The adjustments decompress the vertebrae, allowing the disc the ability to heal itself.
Arthritis-Your doctor of chiropractic can help you plan an exercise program that will:
• Help you restore the lost range of motion.
• Improve your flexibility and endurance.
• Increase your muscle tone and strength.
Doctors of chiropractic can also give you nutrition and supplementation advice that can be helpful in controlling and reducing inflammation.
Sciatica-When the nerve becomes pinched (by a herniated disc or overgrowth of bone) on your vertebrae, sciatica is likely to occur. Chiropractic adjustments are known to provide ready relief. A visit to the chiropractor can also help assess the nature of sciatica, such as misaligned vertebrae or pelvis, and treat it accordingly – resolving the problem at its root.
Spondylolisthesis-If in active mode, a brace may provide aid. Most Spondylolisthesis is found after it has become inactive. In this case it is typical that vertebrae around the Spondylolisthesis area is the main source of the pain and needs treatment.
Pinched Nerve-Chiropractic treatment has been proven to be most effective for pinched nerves, as it concentrates on spinal adjustments and checking specifically for compression or constriction of nerves between vertebrae. Finding and nudging the specific area where the spinal bones are not moving correctly will undoubtedly alleviate pinched nerves. This realignment of your spine will ease the pressure on the vulnerable nerves, allowing relief from pain and helping nerves function more effectively than before.