There are so many myths surrounding chiropractic care. The most common myth is that chiropractic care only addresses back problems, but nothing could be further from the truth. Seeing a chiropractor helps with numerous issues across the entire body. In fact, since chiropractors are spine, muscle and nervous system experts, their goal is to relieve pain and help with movement and function. As doctors, they specialize in assessing, diagnosing, treating and developing care plans to keep you moving and pain-free. Let’s look at some common misconceptions surrounding chiropractic care as well as how chiropractors can help you feel better.
Myth: Chiropractors primarily treat backs
Fact: Chiropractors, or Chiropractic Doctors, Can Treat Diverse Body Parts
While back pain is one of the primary issues chiropractic professionals treat, it doesn’t stop there. The body is part of a complex system and often treating parts of your body in isolation may not provide the relief that you’re looking for. Each body part is connected to others and pain or weakness in one can mean other body parts can also be impacted. And relieving one issue often has the result of reducing other problems, too. For example, orthotics-related chiropractic treatment sometimes eliminates back pain by aligning the feet.
Chiropractic care addresses pain directly and indirectly by considering how body parts affect each other. Treatment from a chiropractor can reduce:
- Headaches – Stress and bad posture can lead to tension and other headaches. A chiropractor can adjust your neck and provide exercises to help reduce the frequency and intensity of tension headaches. For migraine headaches, numerous studies show that frequent chiropractic care can reduce stress on the body which in turn limits the frequency and intensity of migraines.
- Shoulder pain – Chiropractors can help with stiff and painful shoulders. The most common injuries related to the shoulder are frozen shoulder as well as rotator cuff injuries often caused by repetitive motions such as swimming and tennis. Patients often feel less pain and experience more movement after a chiropractic treatment. Chiropractors can stretch the muscles surrounding the shoulder and show you stretches that you can do at home. Chiropractors can also focus on the pain and inflammation with ultrasound, electric muscle stimulation or cold laser therapy.
- Neck pain – Most neck injuries are the results of car accidents – think whiplash – or because of our posture and sitting all day – think text neck. Chiropractors can treat neck pain with manipulations called adjustments. Many patients feel more relief after seeing a chiropractor – and exercising their neck – than they do with pain medications alone.
- Hip pain – Hip pain can be the cause of many things: inflammation, trauma such as a fall or accident, sciatica, sacroiliac joint pain, pregnancy, as well as from referral pain caused by an injury or strain somewhere else in the body. Chiropractors can also help with specific hip conditions such as Femoroacetabular impingement, hip dysplasia and hasten recovery after broken bones or soft tissue injuries. Chiropractic treatments aim to reduce inflammation, relax existing muscle spasms, strengthen weak or weakened muscles and improve the mobility of the joint.
- Back Pain – Many patients find that they feel significantly better after seeing a chiropractor for back pain – in fact, they get just as much relief, if not more, compared to seeing their family doctor and using opioids or pain medications ( which can have far more adverse effects in the long term).
- Knee pain – Knee pain can be caused by one’s gait or the way you walk, from repetitive motions or injuries while playing sports, by conditions such as ITB or Iliotibial Band Syndrome, or from normal wear and tear on our knee joint which can result in knee arthritis or Patellofemoral Syndrome. Chiropractors can help by performing knee mobilizations, promoting soft tissue healing, and providing and supervising exercises to strengthen and heal the affected areas. Some people treated with chiropractic adjustments on the knee have less pain and better movement after a few weeks of treatment. Custom Orthotics can be another prescribed device by Chiropractors that can positively impact knee pain.
- Arthritis – Arthritis is a group of joint disorders that can cause issues with mobility and movement as well as pain. Chiropractors can treat many types of arthritis, especially osteoarthritis. We also offer the GLA:D program, an evidence-based education and exercise program for individuals with hip and/or knee osteoarthritis.
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders – Chiropractors can help by mobilizing the TMJ to help restore movement and work on releasing muscles in the mouth to reduce the pain and jarring that might occur.
- Chronic pain – Pain is usually considered chronic if it lasts for 3 months or more. Chronic pain can take many forms and affect all parts of the body. It can be the result of trauma like a car accident or injury or because of changes in the body such as arthritis or spinal stenosis. Chiropractic care can play a vital part in helping manage chronic pain and its symptoms.
- and so much more. Did you know chiropractic care can also improve sleep quality and duration?
Your health insurance company or ICBC (if you’ve been in a car accident and qualify) likely covers your visits to the chiropractor. This is a great way to take care of yourself without facing financial hurdles.
Myth: I should see my chiropractor only when I’m in pain
Fact: I should see my chiropractor regularly as part of a plan of preventative care
While many of us are aware of the ill effects of stress on our mental and physical well-being, many people don’t realize that our bodies can be impacted by stressors as well. When all is going well in our lives, we are likely eating well, sleeping well, moving often and engaging in regular exercise. When things aren’t going well or out of balance our bodies can suffer. While we overstimulate our brains, we often understimulate our bodies. Oftentimes, what seems like a simple thing can lead to much bigger problems.
Here are a few examples:
If you’re constantly sitting at work or doing a task over and over, this can cause strain on the body in the form of headaches or neck and back pain.
If you’re not moving enough, your risk of back pain is higher. Sitting too much can cause back muscles to stiffen and even weaken. This increased pressure on the spinal discs can lead to herniation, reduce circulation to the spine and put pressure on the back leading to a pinched nerve.
If your home office or work setup isn’t set up to be ergonomic, you risk causing strain or overuse of one side of the body and underutilizing the other. This can lead to some parts of the body compensating for others, creating more of a likelihood for injury down the road.
Rather than waiting for something to be wrong, seeing a chiropractor can ensure that imbalances in posture or stressors on the body don’t cause a compound effect. Early and regular treatment can reduce the chance of strains, pains and injuries down the road – or at least delay them significantly. We can focus on building spinal and overall health for the long term. Taking responsibility and being proactive for our wellness is an important part of self-care.
Your chiropractor can work with you to create a maintenance plan that will help you avoid injuries in the future by properly adjusting your spine and fixing postural issues, providing you with postural education, exercises and a proper course of care (treatment plan).
Contact us at Backs in Action to start your chiropractic health journey!
Special Offer: You and your feet deserve to feel good and we want to help! Book an orthotics appointment in November and you’ll receive a FREE GAIT scan ($75 value) to help you get your foot in the door.
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