3 Frequently Asked Questions About Chiropractic Treatment
A form of alternative medicine, chiropractic care has gained popularity with patients and recognition within the medical community as research has demonstrated its effectiveness for certain types of conditions. Information can help patients make an informed decision regarding chiropractic treatments. Read on to learn more.
3 Common questions about chiropractic treatment
Accurate information about chiropractic treatment can be difficult to come by. Patients may hear wild claims about what it can accomplish or equally unreasonable skepticism about its effectiveness. Here are answers to three of the most common questions that patients may ask.
1. Is chiropractic treatment safe?
Adjustments performed by a licensed chiropractor are generally regarded to be safe. However, the treatment may pose a risk in the presence of certain pre-existing conditions. It should be noted that such complications are rare.
Other contraindications for chiropractic treatment include spinal compression, inflammatory arthritis, and osteoporosis. People who take blood thinners should also avoid chiropractic treatment due to increased bleeding risk.
2. What conditions do chiropractors treat?
Chiropractors examine the spine, arms, jaw, and cranial bones to determine the presence of misalignments or stiffness in the joints. A joint that is not working correctly is commonly linked to a loss of mobility in the surrounding joints. Changes in joint movement can cause compensating, which can result in injury. The muscles that connect to the spine are often impacted, and the nerves can get irritated or weakened. Patients may also experience inflammation and degeneration of the discs and tissues.
Signals from the joints and muscles can affect the neurological system, altering the patient's posture and balance. Tenderness, soreness, stiffness, spasms or weakness, tightness, or lack of movement are all signs of strained joints.
Research has demonstrated the most benefit from chiropractic treatment for musculoskeletal complaints, such as chronic back pain and osteoarthritis, and neuromuscular conditions like fibromyalgia and migraine headaches. Research has yet to confirm the benefits for conditions affecting other systems of the body.
Even those who are perfectly well can benefit from regular chiropractic adjustments. Issues with the joint, muscle, ligament, and nerve may go unnoticed for a while until they become severe and impact mobility. Therefore, frequent visits to the chiropractor may help spot connected health concerns before they become more serious pain episodes.
3. How long does treatment last?
A person's response to therapy is determined by various factors, including the severity of the condition, when it started, age, and the extent of disability. The chiropractor will tell the patient how often and for how long they should get chiropractic care. Many people turn to chiropractic because they can see improvements quickly. Even though each patient's situation is unique, studies have shown that chiropractic treatments may speed up the return to work of those suffering from low back pain.
The length of the result depends on the patient and the specific condition. One adjustment is rarely sufficient to achieve maximum improvement. However, a chiropractor should be able to provide a patient with an estimate of how long treatment should last. Furthermore, patients are free to discontinue chiropractic at any time.
What to expect from an initial chiropractic appointment
The first appointment with a chiropractor involves diagnosing the condition and formulating a treatment plan. It may be necessary to obtain an x-ray to assess the patient's pathology, and a physical examination is likely to take place. The initial visit may or may not include an adjustment.
A chiropractic adjustment involves hands-on treatment that includes forceful manipulation of a joint. While adjustment can take place at almost any joint, it is most often performed along the spine. Only a highly trained and fully licensed chiropractor should attempt to perform an adjustment. Otherwise, an injury could result.
Patients often describe a cracking or popping noise as the manipulation takes place. This is caused by the release of gas bubbles in the space of the joint due to the mobilization. It is not the sound of bones shifting back into proper alignment and should not be interpreted as a sign that the treatment is working.
Side effects of adjustment are rare and usually mild. Patients may experience fatigue or soreness in the areas of manipulation. However, these symptoms often disappear within a few hours.
It is useful to learn all you can about chiropractic care before deciding if it is appropriate. If a primary care physician feels you may benefit from it, they may offer a recommendation or referral to a chiropractor.
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