Chronic pain is pain that lasts for 12 or more weeks, even after treatment. It can be the result of an injury that never really heals, or it can appear without any injury to start it off. It is a common condition that can affect as many as 1 in 5 people, is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and can severely reduce patients' quality of life. Chiropractic care is a non-invasive treatment that doesn't use pain-relieving medications, but instead focuses on improving the body's functioning and stimulating it to heal itself.
Chiropractic care is particularly effective for chronic pain in the musculoskeletal system - muscles, joints, bones, connective tissues (ligaments and tendons). For back pain, the American College of Physicians recommends chiropractic treatments as a safe and effective alternative to medications in treating back pain. Specifically, they recommend spinal manipulation, heat therapy, massage, and acupuncture.
Who is at risk of chronic pain?
Chronic pain can strike anyone, especially if they have suffered a recent injury. It is, however, more common in people with certain underlying conditions, such as:
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Can chiropractic care help with chronic pain?
What is chiropractic care?
Chiropractic care is an alternative treatment approach that focuses on relieving pain, improving function, and promoting healing throughout the body. Chiropractic practitioners will use a variety of treatments to achieve this aim, and the treatment plan will be personalized to the patients' needs. In this way, chiropractic care is a patient-centered approach in a way that more traditional medicine approaches often aren't.
What types of treatments can chiropractic care offer?
At the first visit, your chiropractic will take a thorough medical history. This can include blood/urine tests, x-rays, and MRI scans. They will then develop a treatment plan together with the patient that will best improve their quality of life.
This is when the chiropractor will make short thrusts on the joints between the vertebrae to bring the spine back into alignment. It can also be used on other joints in the body. When joints are misaligned, this can put pressure on the surrounding nerves and muscles, which can lead to pain.
Massage and stretching
Chiropractic massage and stretching can be an effective way of releasing muscle tension, relieving pressure on nerves, and promoting blood flow to the affected area. This can promote healing, reduce swelling, and reduce pain.
Hot and cold therapy
Cold treatment is used to reduce inflammation, and then hot treatment promotes muscle relaxation and increased blood flow to the painful area. This can also promote healing, and reduce swelling and pain.
The use of electrical currents, such as those from a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) machine, can help to reduce pain in a specific area. The electrical currents interfere with the pain signals being sent along the nerves, preventing them from reaching the brain.
This involves the insertion of very thin needles at specific points in the body and can be used to relieve pain and promote relaxation.
Chiropractors are also trained to give advice about exercise, nutrition, lifestyle, and ergonomic factors that could all be influencing chronic pain.
Chiropractic care offers a wide variety of treatments that can help to relieve chronic pain. The exact treatments used will depend on the cause of the chronic pain as well as the goals that the patient is hoping to reach from treatment.
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