Back Pain Treatment: Hands-on Therapies

Hands-on therapies include back pain treatments where healthcare practitioners put their hands on patients to facilitate the healing process. These hands-on therapies are designed to promote healing by either increasing blood flow to damaged structures, easy muscle tension/soreness, or manipulate the spine to correct misalignments. Hands-on therapies rely on human touch, to ease the spine back its proper alignment, or to accelerate healing in tight muscles or the covering of the muscles (fascia). Here are some more or less common hands-on therapies for back pain.

Chiropractic: Chiropractic is the most common hands-on therapy for back pain, and usually the only one ever covered by health insurance. Though the majority of orthopedic specializing doctors encourage patients against chiropractic visits, as many of 40% of people with back pain visit a chiropractor for it. Chiropractors are practitioners who are trained and licensed to practice chiropractic. A chiropractor is a doctor of chiropractor, though not a medical doctor. Chiropractors are most well known for spinal manipulations and adjustments, but most specialize in treating every type of orthopedic injury/disorder. Chiropractors perform hands-on manipulations in their offices, using their hands and body. Chiropractors are also trained in exercise and nutrition, and may be a good source of information in those two areas.

Chiropractors are the most well known for the manual adjustment of the spine. Daniel David Palmer was the first to develop chiropractic techniques in 1895. Palmer theorized that misalignment of the spine, called subluxation, was the cause of almost all diseases, and spinal adjustments were the cure. There are examples in the medical literature of spinal manipulations helping to eliminate diseases and ailments not regularly associated with the spine, such as constipation, headaches, deafness, and chest pain. However, most chiropractors do not subscribe to the belief that chiropractic is a cure-all for all disease, and many focus on relieving musculoskeletal problems.

Reflexology: One of the key components of Chinese traditional medicine is that essential life energy called qi flows along invisible channels called meridians that reach through ever organ and part of our body. When the flow of this life energy continues unconstrained, we experience physical and emotional health. When the flow of energy is blocked along one or more of these meridians, we experience pain and the symptoms of disease. In eastern therapies such as acupuncture and acupressure, the energy of blocked meridians is restored by stimulating points (called acupoints) where meridians reaching the skin's surface. In reflexology, instead of focusing on the acupoints along meridians as acupressure and acupuncture do, reflexology supposedly works by stimulating nerve endings in the ears, hands and feet. The good thing about reflexology, as opposed to acupressure/acupuncture, is that all of these body locations are reachable by the patient, so that they are able to do them at home, without any special pieces of equipment. Nevertheless, consultation in one or more session with an experienced reflexologist would benefit patients so that they can be properly instructed on how to do the stimulations properly.

Myotherapy: Myotherapy involves applying pressure to trigger points, which are specific points in tight or strained muscles that affect the nerves of the body that send pain signals to the brain. Applying pressure to these trigger points may help to loosen the muscles and to block them from send pain signals to the brain.