Choosing a Chiropractor
Choosing a chiropractor that will be best suited to treat your particular condition may be challenging. Chiropractors differ in the types of treatments that they provide, and the types of equipment that they use in their offices and clinics. Your health insurance may or may not provide coverage for the chiropractor you choose to receive care from. Let's take a look at some of the considerations that you should make before choosing a chiropractor.
Who receives chiropractic care: The latest statistics available suggest that 80% of all people experience back pain at some point in their life, and that an estimated 6-12% receive chiropractic care every year. That percentage amounts to a total of 18-36 million visits to a chiropractor every year.
Chiropractic is an established form of healthcare based on science and the study of biomechanics, though it does focus on subtle types of orthopedic injuries that may not be recognized that would be apparent based on standard medical tests and physical examinations. Though chiropractors use both their hands and the use of standard diagnostic tests (e.g. discogram, X-Ray, MRI, CT) to diagnose the cause of back pain as physicians do, they also use other methods to search for more subtle signs that the body is injured or out of its correct alignment. While doctors and chiropractors are both more than proficient at recognizing obvious signs or arthritis, degenerative joints disease, and joint dislocations, chiropractors may be more sensitive to recognizing what they label as subluxations of the vertebra and joints. Subluxations are partial dislocations of the joints that may account for joint inflammation and the pressure of the nerves near those joints. Chiropractors believe that vertebral subluxations, which involve one or more of the vertebra in the spine being lodged out of position, as the cause of a majority of back pain cases. These vertebral subluxations involve movement of vertebrae out of its ideal position, which causes pressure on the nerve roots and subsequent back pain. Chiropractic care involves spinal manipulation of the vertebra in order to move these structures back into their normal positions using techniques such as. Spinal manipulation is also known as manual manipulation.
What other services does a chiropractor provide? Chiropractic care is more than just the evaluation of X-Rays and the cracking of backs on tables. A good chiropractor will also take the time to educate patients on overall back care, and he or she will try to figure out what happened to the patient that caused the need for treatment in the first place. Good chiropractors should also be knowledgeable in other types of complementary medicine techniques and techniques that patients could make good use of at home and work to receive lasting back pain relief. Complementary medicine techniques may involve dietary changes, weight loss options, and alternative therapies that may relieve stress on the mind, relieve stress on tense muscles, and the stress on overburdened joints. In addition to spinal manipulation, many chiropractors offer these types of rehabilitative services:
Exercises: Chiropractors are well trained in the importance of the strength and flexibility of the muscles and other structures that support the spine. As such, chiropractors may teach their patients the importance of specific back exercises towards improving the strength of the deep muscles responsible for holding the spine in its correct position. As the strength and flexibility of these muscles improve, patients should experience less discomfort and back pain, and an improved range of motion - especially in their lower backs. Chiropractors focused in the education of patients in exercises for back care will instruct patients on various cardiovascular, stretching and strengthening exercises. For example, chiropractors may teach patients exercises that strengthen under-active muscles which have caused elements to go out of their proper alignment because of their lack of strength.
Physical Therapy Modalities: Unless you have experienced a recent traumatic injury, it is likely that some of the problems in your back have been a long time in the making. This means that the muscle imbalances/weakness that caused your back pain did not occur overnight, but due to years of poor health choices, in-active lifestyle, or lifestyle which did not involve movements and lifts that balanced the muscles throughout your core. Your back problems did not develop overnight, and they did not go away overnight. Because the cause of most back pain conditions are multi-factorial, most good treatment programs for the problem will involve various types of treatments towards the goal of long-term back care. Various types of equipment may be used during treatment sessions in addition to spinal manipulations, such as ultrasound, traction, electrical stimulation, massage therapy, etc.
Pelvic stabilization: The bottom of the spine terminates in the pelvic cavity and is anchored in place to the pelvis by a pair of joints known as the SI (Sacro-Iliac) joints. If these SI joints become too tight or too loose, the entire base of the spine may be thrown out of alignment. There are many possible causes of SI joint dysfunction including flat feet or subtalar instability. Chiropractors may perform manipulations to correct these types of joint dysfunctions. Chiropractors may also customize arch supports for patient's feet or to recommend certain products which correct the underlying postural condition which caused the pelvic de-stabilization in the first place.