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.
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.
Exercise rehabilitation includes a series of prescribed stretches and other exercises performed under supervision during a chiropractic treatment session. Patients are taught exercises to improve flexibility, strengthen core muscles, and restore range of motion. These exercises may be performed with the use of elastic bands and support devices, and they might also include using the patient's body weight as resistance.
Some chiropractic offices have technological equipment that can be used to increase the benefits of an exercise rehabilitation session. Patients are given additional exercises to practice in between their appointments. Depending on the severity of back pain, exercise rehabilitation may be needed for several months. Individuals should always let their practitioner know if they experience any pain while performing the exercises. Patients are encouraged to combine their exercise rehabilitation work with aerobic exercises such as brisk walking.