Back pain is one of the leading causes of disability around the world, and it is also one of the most frequently cited reasons for seeing a doctor and for being absent from school or work. Patients with back pain could notice shooting pain that radiates down their legs, and pain may worsen with lifting, bending, or walking. Lying down or reclining typically reduces this type of pain. Chiropractors are licensed healthcare professionals who specialize in the treatment of spinal and musculoskeletal disorders. Although they are not medical doctors, chiropractors receive training in more than one hundred different chiropractic techniques they can use to alleviate pain and restore postural alignment.
The techniques described below are often used by chiropractors in the treatment of back pain.
Spinal Manipulation And Alignment
Spinal manipulation and alignment involve specialized techniques performed to relieve pressure on joints, restore nerve function, and reduce inflammation. Andrew Still, an American doctor who practiced in the 1800s, developed the theory that displaced bones and muscles caused disease by interfering with the body's circulatory system. Using spinal manipulation, practitioners can realign displaced bones, reduce pain, and improve the patient's symptom management. To manipulate the spine, the chiropractor applies a sudden, controlled amount of force to specific areas of the spine. This technique is not normally painful, but patients may hear popping noises as it is performed. Studies suggest spinal manipulation is especially effective for acute back pain that has persisted for less than four weeks. In certain situations, chiropractors may opt to use spinal mobilization, a less forceful form of spinal manipulation. This method uses fewer thrusts and more stretching, and it might include the use of an activator, a metal tool that applies direct force to a single vertebra. Patients should ask their practitioner about the risks and benefits of spinal manipulation for their specific health concern.
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