Even though chiropractic care has proven itself to the American Medical Association and is covered by health insurance companies, some still debate the legitimacy of this form of treatment. Chiropractors are still accused of being "quacks" despite the fact that many people find pain relief in their offices.
Patients who seek chiropractic care and do not feel results may blame the field for being ineffective, but there are several other reasons why it might fail in certain situations. The following may explain why chiropractic care, a legitimate medical treatment, is not working for you.
Chiropractors perform many duties and employ a variety of techniques, but their main focus is restoring alignment and range of motion to joints. Chiropractors do have a working knowledge of muscles, but they may not be able to detect subbalances.
A muscle imbalance occurs when one muscle is overly-tight and short while another one, on the opposite side and performing the opposite function, is weak, overstretched and strained. This can occur anywhere in the body, but is most common in the thighs (quadriceps and hamstrings) and the core (abdominal, hip, buttocks and lower back muscles).
The imbalance of both strength and flexibility between opposing muscle groups causes structures in the body to be dropped out of alignment. The overly-tight muscles are shortened, and they exert a pull on surrounding bones and joints that is not counted by the pull of the opposite, weaker muscle.
If your sacroiliac or facet joints are out of alignment, a chiropractor can work to reset them. If you have an underlying muscle imbalance causing the misalignment, however, realignment will not be achieved until muscle balance is. This requires more than spinal manipulation and mobilization. A physical therapist well-versed in muscle imbalance can help identify which muscles are tight and which are weak. He or she can then help you obtain myofascial release to restore length and flexibility to rigid muscles, or you may pursue myself-myofascial release. After flexibility is regained, targeted exercise can build weak muscles.
Aside form muscle imbalance, a generally poor level of physical fitness can cause chiropractic care to fail. Thorough chiropractors advise their patients to perform specific exercises; If yours did not, or if you stopped doing them, this could be to blame for a return or continuation of back pain.
If the ligaments and muscles that support your spinal and hip joints are weak due to a sedentary lifestyle, you are at an increased risk of subluxation (vertebral misplacement). The cervical and lumbar spinal segments are designed to be load-bearing and mobile, but without the support of strong tissues surrounding them, stress may cause disc degeneration and misalignment.
If you expect a chiropractor to solve all of your problems without you having to lift a finger, treatment is bound to fail. The chiropractor can treat the symptom, but the cause needs to be identified and resolved to prevent the same problem in the future.
Chiropractic care is a valid form of back pain treatment, but like any treatment, it does not stand alone. People seeing a chiropractor often benefit from seeking massage or physical therapy as well to address underlining causes of misalignment. Keeping yourself in good shape will increase the effectiveness of any back pain treatment plan.