What does a Chiropractor do?
Chiropractors are health professionals who diagnose and treat neuromuscular disorders. Their aim is to reduce/eliminate their patients’ pain and enable them to improve how they function on a daily basis. Many chiropractors place an emphasis on spinal adjustments or manipulations in order to treat the problem, but as you will read below, there are other methods and techniques too.
What treatments can a chiropractor offer other than spinal adjustments?
Chiropractors are actually able to treat many other areas of the body than the spine; their training will have involved the in-depth study of all aspects of the human body and how it works in relation to the health of each patient, and so their knowledge isn’t limited to the working of muscles and bones. They understand the affects of disease and injury on certain parts of the body and use some of the following techniques to treat them:
- Applied kinesiology: With the use of light massage and manipulation of certain acupressure points, the chiropractor can encourage the damaged muscle to function normally again. When the muscle balance is restored, the bones then move into their correct alignment.
- Acupuncture: Derived from ancient Chinese medicine, acupuncture is a treatment in which fine needles are inserted into affected areas of the body to provide relief from pain.
- Nonsurgical spinal decompression: This works by gently stretching the spine and changing its force and position. It takes pressure off of the spinal disks which lie between the bones of the spine. Herniated disks may then retract and take pressure away from the nerves and other structures of the spine, allowing the disks to be exposed to the water, oxygen and nutrient rich fluids that they need in order to heal.
- Trigger point therapy: Tender ‘knots’ or spasm’s in the muscle fibre are known as trigger points, and they affect the muscle where the point is located and can also cause ‘referred pain’ in the tissues supplied by nerves. A chiropractor will find the trigger point and attempt to deactivate it by applying pressure with their fingers, often using a pincer like grip and maintaining it until the pain eases or is eliminated.
- Ultrasound therapy: This involves the use of a device which projects waves of high or low energy sound; the waves penetrate deeply into the affected area of the body to reduce swelling, relax muscles and relieve pain.
- Hot and cold packs: Depending on the nature of the injury, hot or cold packs are applied to the affected area to relieve muscle pain and swelling.
This list is by no means exhaustive, and all of the chiropractic techniques mentioned are intended to help relieve pain, increase joint flexibility and improve overall body function for patients who wish to avoid using medication or resorting to surgery.