Some people think chiropractors only treat back pain, but actually they are specialists in the entire musculoskeletal system. They do focus primarily on the spine and surrounding tissues, but the spine is intimately related to good functioning of the whole body. Chiropractors may treat back pain and spasms, sports injuries, headaches, and pregnancy pain. They are trained in a variety of non-invasive techniques and believe in the most natural healing possible.
How do you know if a chiropractor is right for you? Here are some conditions for which chiropractic treatment has been shown to be particularly effective.
- Joint pain. Pain in the back and other joints is one of the most common health complaints and causes the greatest number of missed work days for health reasons. Chiropractors specialize in treating back pain and have a wide variety of techniques to treat pain anywhere from the feet and ankles up to the neck.
- Headaches. In particular, migraine headaches can often be effectively treated by a chiropractor. While the exact origin of migraines remains a mystery, spinal manipulation has been shown to improve symptoms as much as a common prescription drug known as amitriptyline.
- Athletic injuries. Laser therapy is a common treatment for plantar fasciitis, a typical running injury, and it is commonly administered by a chiropractor. A soft tissue therapy known as the Active Release Technique is a popular treatment offered by chiropractors that can treat long-standing injuries to muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves and fascia.
- Pregnancy. A somewhat sudden addition of around 30 pounds to the average woman adds stress to the body, from the back to the ankles, knees and feet. It also results in greater spinal curvature in the lower back and changes to the pelvis. Spinal adjustments, soft tissue therapy and therapeutic exercises have been shown to be effective in reducing pain during pregnancy, particularly lower back and groin pain.
- Whiplash. Whiplash is a common injury sustained after a motor vehicle accident. It results in pain in several areas of the body, as well as headaches and vision problems. Chiropractic treatment has been shown to be effective in treating whiplash through the use of spinal adjustments, soft tissue therapy, and specific exercises for the affected areas.
Other things to consider when choosing the type of care you need for your injury is that chiropractors use drug-free approaches without surgery. They are a good option for many kinds of pain and won’t steer you towards drugs or operations, which should be last-resort treatments because of the risks involved. At the same time, chiropractors are not “anti-traditional medicine” and often collaborate with allopathic doctors as well as other health professionals such as acupuncturists and massage therapists in order to design the most effective treatment plan for their patients.