Why does virtually every professional sports team have a chiropractor and why are chiropractors in over 100 hospitals?
Because modern chiropractic is evidence-based and not belief-based. Chiropractors try to correct the body’s alignment to relieve pain and improve function.
While the mainstay of chiropractic is spinal manipulation and adjustments, chiropractic care now includes a wide variety of other treatments, including postural and exercise education, ergonomic training (how to walk, sit, and stand to limit back strain), nutritional consultation, and even modalities such as ultrasound and low intensity laser. In addition, chiropractors today often work in conjunction with primary care doctors, pain experts, and surgeons to treat patients with pain.
Most research on chiropractic has focused on spinal manipulation for back pain. Chiropractic treatment for many other problems—including other musculoskeletal pain, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, and fibromyalgia—has also been studied. A recent review concluded that chiropractic spinal manipulation may be helpful for back pain, migraine, neck pain, and whiplash.
There have been reports of serious complications, including stroke, following spinal manipulation of the neck, although this is very rare and some studies suggest this may not be directly caused by the treatment.
“Spinal manipulation” is a generic term used for any kind of therapeutic movement of the spine. A chiropractic adjustment is a precise movement to correct specific joint alignment. That distinctive noise often created when an adjustment is performed, is believed to be caused by the breaking of a vacuum or the release of a bubble into the synovial fluid, the clear, thick fluid that lubricates the spinal and other joints. Finding spinal joints that are not moving well and performing the chiropractic adjustment, takes great skill. Most spinal manipulation treatments take somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes and are scheduled two or three times a week initially. Look for improvements in your symptoms after 3-5 treatments and sometimes sooner.
In addition, a chiropractor may advise you about changing your biomechanics and posture and suggest other treatments and techniques. The ultimate goal of chiropractic is to help relieve pain and help patients better manage their condition at home.
The Annals of Internal Medicine, in conjunction with the American Pain Society and the American College of Physicians, released a set of clinical guidelines for low back pain. These guidelines support the use of chiropractic care as a ‘first choice’ for conservative nonpharmacological treatment. Despite this information, nearly every (85%) primary care physician has patients asking about chiropractic care, but only 11% are making a formal referral and chiropractic utilization hovers between 5-10%. Your physician must keep up to date with advancements in healthcare and should be readily referring to an evidence-based chiropractor. If not, then see one for yourself as chiropractors are extensively trained in diagnoses of musculoskeletal problems.
Ron Green, DC