Over the past years, chiropractic has emerged as one of the most commonly utilized health care techniques, and its field has been more broadly recognized by medical organizations, particularly in the United States and Canada, as well as in Australia. Despite the many debates on whether chiropractic should be classified as a legitimate medical discipline or a form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), it is seen to be most effective in treating and managing back pain.
Overview of Chiropractic
The principle of chiropractic is anchored on the belief that a person's overall health condition is heavily dependent on his musculoskeletal structure. Thus, if his spelling is properly aligned, a person will less likely experience headaches, neck and back pains, and other conditions associated with his musculoskeletal system. Chiropractors, then, advocated the use of noninvasive and nonsurgical techniques in dealing with said conditions. Instead of resorting to expensive, and sometimes traumatic, medical "under-the-knife" procedures, chiropractors employ manual and hands-on adjustment and manipulation of the spine, as well as certain joints and soft tissues to diagnose, treat and prevent musculoskeletal- related conditions. Because of this approach, chiropractic is often mistaken for physical therapy and even for general massage services.
It should be noted that chiropractors must first undergo a formal and professional degree and training in chiropractic before being able to provide services to patients. Some areas even require chiropractors to secure a license from the government. While they are authorized to adopt manual techniques, however, they are not allowed to prescribe medicines to their patients. Instead, they can only refer their patients to medical specialists such as orthopedic or a sports medicine doctor.
A typical chiropractic clinic or center offers services that care for patients experiencing pain or discomfort in musculoskeletal regions, namely, the back, neck, head, arms and legs. While chiropractors focus more on treating said conditions, they also diagnose the cause of the pain and recommend a short-, medium-, or long-term program to address the same, depending on the nature and gravity of the patient's condition. Some chiropractors also offer on-site or home services for patients who can no longer travel to their clinic. Still, other chiropractors set up a free consultation hotline where they respond to chiropractic-related questions from individuals.
Management of Back Pain
Among the many conditions that chiropractors are able to manage, back pain seems to be the most common complaint of their patients. The question now is: How do chiropractors effectively treat back pain?
First, the chiropractor administers a detailed physical examination of the patient and takes into account his previous medical conditions, ailments or operations. After getting a clear and holistic picture of the patient's need, the chiropractor then maps out a treatment plan, which can either be a manual manipulation of the spine or of the muscles, or a combination of both. Spinal manipulation aims to enhance the structure and function of the spinal and nerve systems, while chiropractic mobilization targets muscles and joints to improve mobility and the motion capacity of the body. To ensure that all factors that may be contributors to back pain are eliminated or mitigated, chiropractors likewise give nutritional advice, and if necessary, recommend an exercise or rehabilitation program.
Since chiropractors do a hands-on technique, their manipulation is said to be more direct and zeroed in on the problem area. It is for this reason that chiropractors' services are often more cost-effective and sometimes even faster-acting than drugs, pain relievers and pain killers, or any other traditional medical procedure.