Chiropractic: Not Just About Spinal Pain
Chiropractic often gets associated with care of spinal pain. Many people first seek out the chiropractor when they have neck or back pain, disc or spinal joint injuries causing shooting pain down the arm or leg. But if chiropractic is spine associated pain, why do so many hold onto that belief? The belief originated because chiropractors adjust the spine in order to restore proper alignment. However the goal of restoring proper alignment is not necessarily to reduce pain; although a reduction in pain is often experienced secondary to proper alignment.
Spinal pain can be detrimental to our quality of life (affecting activities of daily living), but the goal of the chiropractor is to remove interference from proper nervous system function. When we have misalignments and postural distortions in the spine, this puts a direct stress onto the nervous system and can alter its function. The role of the nervous system is to regulate every function of the body down to a cellular level. It does this through constant feedback signals to and from the brain in order to continuously adapt to the current situation. Stress placed upon our nervous system by spinal misalignments interfere with those regulatory signals therefore causing dysfunction in the body.
While chiropractors want to provide our patients with relief, if we are to mainly address the pain, then the cause of the symptoms would (in most cases) be missed. By looking at the body through a functional lense and focusing on restoring proper function to the nervous system, we can go beyond treating pain and correct the cause of dysfunction in the body. The result will be a body that is more capable of handling stress and healing itself.
If you are one of the many people that suffer from spinal pain on a regular basis there’s a couple things I can be done to manage it. First it’s important to know what specific tissue is the origin of the pain and second it’s important to know what triggers provoke that pain so that we can avoid them or address them accordingly. Structures that commonly contribute to pain in the spinal column that may contribute to generation of pain include the posterior joints or facets, the discs between the vertebral bodies, musculature of the spinal column, or mechanical pressure on a nerve structure.
If chiropractic is about optimizing function of the body and not just about pain, let’s talk about some conditions that often improve or resolve when they get under regular chiropractic care.
Spinal pain- through normal alignment of the spine and proper posture, many of the pain generating tissues are no longer irritated, so symptoms tend to resolve.
Headaches are another thing that is fairly easily managed through chiropractic, especially considering that 70% of primary headaches arise from issues in the cervical spine.
Many athletes use chiropractic to keep them at peak performance and to help them recover faster. In fact, studies have shown that utilizing chiropractic increases motor control and reaction time.
Many patients under chiropractic care are more capable to adapt to stress, find themselves getting sick less frequently, and get more restful sleep. This is because the nervous system’s intimate relationship with immunity and homeostasis.
Chiropractic care can also be utilized as preventative care. More and more families are bringing their children to see the chiropractor to make sure that they are reaching their developmental milestones when they are supposed to. Many babies experience resolution of skin conditions, colic, ear infections, and latching issues.
This is not an inclusive list, this is for common pain syndromes. It is not for more extreme cases that would warrant a visit to your medical doctor like meningitis or AAA. It is important to discuss symptoms you may be having with your doctor.
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