05 Apr Chiropractic Services Beyond Spinal Manipulation
Interventional pain management for the spine has come a long way since its humble beginnings. When we think about chiropractic services, for example, we often think of chiropractic adjustments, a form of spinal manipulation that involves high-velocity, low-amplitude (HVLA) thrusts in an effort to realign the spine. But, did you know that chiropractors have a host of other tools in their arsenal—from electrotherapy to ultrasound—that can help patients attain much-needed relief from chronic back pain?
Generally, speaking, a doctor’s philosophy is always to utilize the most effective, yet least invasive, approach to resolving a patient’s adverse symptoms. In extremely severe cases, achieving effective relief may require minimally invasive surgery. However, in the vast majority of instances, conservative treatments provide a more desirable end result than any form of surgical intervention. The less physical trauma that we enact to our bodies via surgery, the less likely we are to experience adverse and long-term consequences such as nerve damage.
Today, we are going to explore one of those conservative avenues a little bit more closely: chiropractic services. Although many patients believe that chiropractic services are limited to massages and skeletal manipulation, you will find that this isn’t always the case. While these chiropractic services are assuredly critical, you may find that lesser-known techniques such as hydrotherapy greatly alleviate your pain. At the Injury Care Center of Glenolden, PA, we offer you the latest advancements in interventional pain management. Don’t let your musculoskeletal pain get the best of you. We deliver customizable solutions that will pinpoint the exact cause of your pain and permanently root it out. For more information, contact one of our patient advocates at (877) 444-2422 today!
What is a Chiropractic Adjustment?
Before we discuss services that extend beyond simple chiropractic adjustments, we should begin by explaining what this term means. Perhaps, you’ve heard chiropractic adjustments referred to by many different names. Some doctors refer to this essential service as chiropractic manipulation, manual manipulation, or spinal manipulation. More simply put, a chiropractic adjustment refers to a process by which a practitioner applies some form of force to realign vertebrae that possess abnormal motion problems.
The primary goal of this branch of chiropractic care is to reduce subluxation, a term that describes the abnormal position of vertebrae and their apparent loss of function. It is also very important that the patient’s range of motion is increased while simultaneously alleviating nerve irritability.
Chiropractic adjustments vary widely in their method of implementation, but typically involve the following:
- The chiropractic doctor delivers a short burst of high-impact thrust to the affected vertebra.
- This is coupled with a perceivable release of joint cavitation, otherwise known as cracking of the joints. This release of gas (the audible pop) typically results from the release of nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide, which in turn helps to alleviate pressure inside the affected joints.
- Typically what comes next is a small period of temporary discomfort followed by a sensation of relief. Usually, the spasming of surrounding muscles is the root cause of this reported discomfort.
It should also be noted that joint cavitation does not always occur during chiropractic adjustments. Usually, this phenomenon occurs because the patient is not sufficiently relaxed prior to the administration of treatment. To combat this, chiropractors often employ tactics such as allowing the patient to rest or applying ice/electrical stimulation.
What Else Can Chiropractors Do?
As we mentioned earlier in this blog, you might be surprised to know just how many tools a chiropractor has in his or her arsenal. After all, natural therapies and alternative treatments to traditional medicine pre-date the ancient Greeks. Needless to say, there has been sufficient time to learn what works best.
Here are a few other ways that chiropractors can address their patients’ needs:
- Ultrasound: This technology utilizes sound waves to apply deep heat therapy to various structures within the human body (such as the joints and soft tissues). Think of it like a telekinetic thermal massage that reaches deep within the body to places normally inaccessible to human hands.
- Hydrotherapy: Water is an extremely useful tool, as it can be used to apply heat (increasing circulation) or cold (reducing inflammation). Through the use of tools such as hot baths, saunas, or cold wraps, a chiropractor harnesses the power of hot and cold therapy to enhance blood flow, stimulate healing, and numb any residual discomfort.
- Electrodes: It is a well-known fact that electrical muscle stimulation can reduce both inflammation and muscle spasms while also relieving back pain. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulators (TENS) are the most common form of electrode-based therapy. It is widely believed that TENS can help block pain signals sent by the nervous system, while also releasing endorphins.
- Diathermy: Diathermy induces heat to soft tissues and joints through the use of high-frequency electromagnetic currents. Inducing heat in this fashion helps relax the muscles as well as the connective tissues. Additionally, diathermy can catalyze the recovery process by increasing blood flow to affected areas.
Of course, there are many other forms of chiropractic treatment available as well. Traction, infrared radiation, cold laser therapy, lifestyle modifications, and custom-designed exercise regimens are just a few additional techniques your chiropractor may use.
The Synergy Between Chiropractic Therapy & Exercise
In medicine, it’s best to take a multi-faceted approach— especially when relying on conservative treatment avenues to pain relief. With chiropractic care, the benefits of cardiovascular and strength exercises to patients suffering lower back pain cannot be overstated. That being said, it is extremely important to discuss what qualifies as an appropriate exercise for you—especially if you have a history of cardiovascular problems or injuries. Exercising is vital, but with the caveat that you should only do what your body can tolerate.
Exercising, when done properly, therefore, is almost never a bad thing. And with acute or chronic back pain, this is no exception. The goal of such exercises is to strengthen the lower back while simultaneously improving the patient’s quality of life. As added benefits, exercise also promotes proper digestion, allows you to maintain a toned body, and enhances cardiovascular fitness.
There are many different types of exercises that you can perform as a patient. The best exercises for you will depend on what classification you fall under as a chiropractic patient (either flexion or extension).
- If you’re a flexion-based patient, you will find that the best exercises involve tasks such as pulling the knees close to the chest, performing posterior pelvic tilts, or bending forward from a seated pose.
- On the other hand, extension-based patients will enjoy any exercises such as prone press-ups. This type of exercise is great for restoring the natural curvature of your lower back.
For best results, have a lengthy discussion with your chiropractic doctor to determine what set of exercises best suits your needs. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to do your own research on the matter as well. But if you are seeing a chiropractic doctor, make sure that you utilize their expertise!
Have you been suffering from lower back pain for a period of two weeks or more? Have over-the-counter pain medications only provided you with the bare minimum relief? If so, it may be time to get in touch with a chiropractic specialist. At the Injury Care Center, our staff consists only of experts at the top of their craft. We highly value each patient as an individual and we consider the specific needs presented in each and every person’s case. Don’t let your back problems get the best of you. Contact our team of patient advocates today!