Have you ever seen the videos on YouTube that show a person getting a chiropractic adjustment? At first, they are in agony. Many times they’ve suffered from pain for years. Then, the relief they express when it’s all done seems too good to be true. While chiropractors aren’t technically miracle workers, the results they get often feel pretty miraculous to pain patients.
Chiropractic care is a gentle and non-invasive way to treat pain, stiffness, and mobility issues. Although it’s not addictive like opioid pain relief medications, once you have had your first upper or lower back adjustment, you may find it difficult to go without them!
What Is Chiropractic All About?
Did you know that this form of treatment dates back to the 1890s? It’s true! Perhaps because of that longevity, chiropractic is widely considered a safe, effective alternative or complement to traditional medical care — for certain issues, that is.
Chiropractic is based on the notion that physical problems can be traced back to a musculoskeletal system that is out of whack. Those who practice it are particularly focused on the spine. Given the important role that the spine plays in supporting the body and allowing it to move properly, that makes sense.
Chiropractors use what is called manipulation, or an adjustment. This guides the spine and other areas of the body back into alignment. Manipulation is gentle, although it may sound alarming to the uninitiated: the noise of a patient’s back and other joints cracking can be a bit concerning. However, the vast majority of chiropractic advocates say that it doesn’t hurt. On the contrary, most patients say that an adjustment feels fantastic in the moment. It can also help to relieve both acute and chronic pain.
Chiropractic Addresses the Entire Body
How common is chiropractic care? Approximately 22 million Americans visit the chiropractor each year. Of that number, about a third — 35% — do so in the hopes of finding relief for their back pain.
However, chiropractic adjustments can be effective for many different issues. These include:
- Headaches and migraines
- Upper back, shoulder, and neck pain
- Arm and leg pain
Chiropractic care also helps alleviate stress and tension. It has even been shown to boost the immune system. Plenty of people who do not suffer from chronic pain visit the chiropractor regularly. They want to keep their body in alignment and allow their energy to flow freely.
It might not seem as though cracking your spine or moving your limbs about could help with issues arising elsewhere in the body. However, chiropractic care is holistic and affects the entire system. You might be surprised at what a difference it can make in your overall physical condition and well-being!
Acute vs. Chronic Pain
What’s the difference between these two types of pain? Chronic back pain often results from a disease such as arthritis, cancer, neuropathy, and autoimmune diseases. It is generally defined as lasting for more than six months. Acute back pain, on the other hand, is what happens when you lift a heavy object and strain a muscle, slip and fall on an icy sidewalk, get tackled in a friendly game of football, or experience another kind of accident.
Acute pain usually subsides within a few weeks but may resolve more quickly with treatment. Some of the ways to address and alleviate acute pain include chiropractic care, physical therapy, massage, aqua therapy, electrical stimulation, and heat or cold therapy.
Although many people feel that they should stay immobile and rest when they are experiencing pain, that’s actually not the best approach. In fact, while it might be tempting to lounge in bed or relax on the couch and have others wait on you, that might do more harm than good. Moving around sends blood and nutrients to the affected area. This, in turn, helps keep inflammation at a minimum and prevents additional muscle tension.
It’s important to realize that narcotic painkillers, muscle relaxants, and even over-the-counter analgesics will not help a patient’s pain to resolve. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, can reduce inflammation, but otherwise, these medications will only mask the problem.
Treating Pain and Stiffness with an Adjustment
There are many types of pain that a patient can experience in their lumbar region, or lower back. Sharp or stabbing pains, a persistent dull ache, a burning sensation, and spasms are all relatively common. It depends on whether the injury is to the muscles, nerves, joints, tendons, or other non-muscular soft tissue.
Another frequent condition associated with lumbar injury or strain is reduced mobility and stiffness. It may hurt to move certain body parts in certain ways, or you may be unable to bend over, reach for an object, or roll over in bed.
Chiropractic care does double duty when it comes to acute pain. Not only does it relieve the symptoms of pain and stiffness, but it also works to correct the underlying problem. In other words, it’s a win-win.
During the Lower Back Adjustment
So what happens during an adjustment? You will be asked to lie down on a special table. The chiropractor will manipulate your limbs to stretch your muscles and to stimulate joint release — that’s the popping or cracking sound. It’s just like cracking your knuckles, but on a larger scale. This is normal and harmless.
They may also bend your joints or position you in a certain way, and hold that position for a little while. Try to relax, don’t tense up your muscles, and let them do the work. The practitioner may focus on your lower back, but the adjustment may very well involve the entire body.
A chiropractor will sometimes also perform therapeutic massage, manual therapy, or myofascial release to complement the spinal manipulation. Or they might refer you to a practitioner who specializes in those forms of treatment.
Curious To Know if Chiropractic Is for You?
Millions of people around the world have found relief from pain and mobility issues by getting a lower back adjustment from a chiropractor. Here in the U.S., most insurance policies cover this treatment, so there’s no reason not to give it a try. And who knows — you might soon find yourself starring in one of those YouTube videos!
Ready to give chiropractic a try? Contact our office to schedule an appointment!