What conditions can chiropractors treat?
Sure chiropractors are well known for
effectively treating patients with neck and back pain, headaches, joint pain,
but what about other condions like allergies, asthma, menstrual pain, etc.
Chiropractors do not treat patients for any condition, but they care for people
who have those condions. The primary goal of chiropractic is to permit the
patient’s body to function better therefore decreasing their symptoms
naturally. It all has to do with subluxation.
Chiropractors have the ability to do
something no other primary health care provider does. They locate distortions
in the body that can affect your health. These distortions are commonly caused by
misplaces spinal vertebrae (spinal bones) and are called subluxations.
Subluxations happen from many types of injuries and traumas, poor posture,
stress, etc. Subluxations are commonly referred to as a pinch nerve. To make it
simple, subluxation is caused when a spinal vertebrae comes out of place
putting pressure on a nerve. Most people think that a subluxation (pinched
nerve) causes pain, however, most subluxations do not. Subluxations are
dangerous because they impinge and interfere with your nerves that connect your
brain and spinal cord to your muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, discs, glands,
and other internal organs. This can effect how your body functions. If your
body has subluxations and is not able to function optimally, you are more
likely to become ill or have symptoms. For example, you may have a vertebrae
out of position causing nerve pressure that affects nerves going to your
stomach. Your digestion may be impaired, your stomach may be “nervous,” you may
have ulcers or other conditions, but feel no back or spinal pain even though
there nerve pressure from a displaced spinal vertebrae.
Conditions Chiropractors Typically Treat
Chiropractors treat conditions related to
your body’s structure. Their goal is to relieve pain and improve function. They
don’t prescribe drugs or do surgery. Rather, they adjust or manipulate your
spine and other body parts to get them in the right position, or proper
alignment. Chiropractic care is based on the idea that when your body is in
proper alignment, you have a better chance of healing yourself. Get an overview
of some of the more common ailments—not all of which are related to the spine.
Low Back Pain
Low back pain is one of the most common
reasons people seek treatment from a chiropractor. Research on spinal
manipulation often focuses on low back pain. Some people with low back pain
benefit from going to a chiropractor, according to the National Center for
Complementary and Integrative Health. Some research suggested people with low
back pain got better relief from going to a chiropractor than from going to
their family doctor.
Chiropractors often treat neck pain with
neck manipulations. These are also called adjustments. In some cases, these
neck adjustments—along with exercises—may work better for neck pain than pain
medications. You may want to try a chiropractor if you have had neck pain for a
long time that is not due to an injury. This type of neck pain may respond to
Chiropractic adjustment for your neck may
help if you have tension headaches. These are a common type of headache that
causes pain in the back of your head and neck. Stress and bad posture can cause
tension headaches. A chiropractor might adjust your neck and give you some
stretching exercises. The chiropractor might also suggest healthy ways to
reduce stress and relieve your headaches, including proper posture and body
Research has shown that chiropractic spinal
manipulations can decrease migraine frequency, decrease pain, and reduce the
need for migraine medication. How this occurs is not known. The authors of the
study suggest that chiropractic care reduces overall stress, which may, in turn
reduce the effect of migraines. Triggers for migraine headaches may include
certain foods. Your chiropractor can also give you advice on nutrition and some
changes in your diet to help treat migraines and other types of headaches.
Whiplash is a type of neck sprain that
often results from a car accident. Whiplash causes pain and stiffness in your
neck. Pain may be worse when you try to turn your head. You may even feel dizzy
or sick to your stomach. Chiropractic adjustment may help. A chiropractor may
have you do exercising and stretching at home, too, and show you how to use
heat or ice to reduce muscle spasms and swelling.
Your sacroiliac (SI) joint is a big joint
at the bottom of your spine. SI joint problems cause a different type of low
back pain. You may feel this pain in your buttock or the back of your thigh.
Chiropractors treat this type of pain with chiropractic adjustment. The
chiropractor might also teach you how to avoid straining your SI joint. And, he
or she might give you some exercises to strengthen your core muscles, which are
the muscles that support this joint.
You probably think about back and neck pain
when you think about chiropractic care. However, a chiropractor might also be
able to help you if you have a stiff and painful shoulder. This condition is
called frozen shoulder syndrome. People with frozen shoulder may have less pain
and more movement after chiropractic care. Your chiropractor will stretch the
muscles surrounding your shoulder and show you how to perform more stretches at
Most often, wear and tear on the knee joint
causes knee osteoarthritis. This is a very common condition. Chiropractic care
might help. Chiropractors sometimes do back adjustments along with knee
adjustments. This type of treatment may work better than knee exercises alone.
Some people treated with chiropractic adjustment have less pain and better
movement after a few weeks of treatment.
Stress and anxiety
Environmental stress includes noise,
weather, physical threats, time pressures and performance standards. Body
stress includes disease processes, organ malfunction, poor nutrition, poor
sleep and physical injury. And emotional stress is more difficult to define,
but it encompasses our reactions, in both thought and emotion, to environmental
and physical stressors.
Jobs today are increasingly complex as the
business world becomes more and more competitive. Physical stresses such as
sound, air and water pollution have also grown worse over the last century –
especially in the United States – and so have emotional and psychological
stresses caused by an increasing awareness of troubles and tragedies around the
globe, brought to our attention every hour by the Internet and its 24/7 news
Many illnesses are caused or worsened by
stress, which activates our “fight or flight” reaction. This systemic
reaction affects almost every part of the body, as the hypothalamus in the
brain stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, which causes an increase in
heart rate, blood volume and blood pressure, redirecting blood away from our
digestive system and extremities.
When prolonged, the long-term effects of
this state can be disastrous to good health and cause high blood pressure,
muscle tissue damage, diabetes, infertility, damage to the immune system and
slowed healing from disease and injury.
Chiropractors work primarily with the spine
– the root of the nervous system through which nerve impulses travel between
the brain and the rest of the body – and can help the body manage and process
this stress in a healthier way.
What Can a Doctor of Chiropractic Do?
- Chiropractors can release
muscle tension, one effect of chronic stress that leads to nerve irritation and
creates uneven pressures on the body’s bony structures, which can cause the
spinal column to become misaligned. This, in turn, helps the body return to a
more balanced, relaxed state.
- Chiropractic adjustments can
reduce spinal nerve irritation and improve blood circulation, which can help
signal the brain to turn off the “fight or flight” response and begin
the healing process.
- A doctor of chiropractic can
suggest nutritional supplements, like B complex vitamins, to help the body cope
- A chiropractor can also
recommend relaxation techniques and discuss posture and environmental changes
to help you recover from chronic stress.