At times, chiropractic care can seem mysterious to those who have never tried it. What exactly are chiropractic treatments? And how can they help? Today we’re going to get into the nitty-gritty of what chiropractic treatments are available, how they’re performed and how they can help your lower back pain.
To start, chiropractic care is a professional medical field that specializes in the musculoskeletal system. A chiropractor uses different techniques to restore position, motion and mobility, as well as reduce pain. However, there are many ways that a chiropractor does this.
Chiropractic care can help relieve for your back pain. Let’s take a look at how with these main chiropractic treatments for lower back pain.
Spinal manipulation is exactly what it sounds like. A chiropractor will use their hands or a device to apply gentle force to the spine. This force helps relieve pain and restore misalignments causing pain. Spinal manipulation also involves moving the back using range-of-motion exercises. Some common techniques for doing spinal manipulation include:
- Diversified technique
- Cox flexion
- Toggle drop
- Gonstead technique
- Thompson technique
By far, spinal manipulation is the most used for back pain and one of the most effective.
Depending on the cause of your back pain, spinal traction may also be a treatment option. Spinal traction is a technique to help stretch and mobilize the spine. This can alleviate tight muscles and separate compressed vertebrae causing pain and pressure. Sometimes this is done manually by pulling the ankles and legs in a controlled method. Or chiropractors will use a split-traction table that mechanically decompress the spine.
Soft tissue Manual Therapy
Sometimes chiropractors will work more closely with the muscles, tendons and joints along your spine. In this case, they’ll focus on soft tissues in order to restore and mobilize muscle function. Soft tissue manual therapy uses a hands-on approach to get results.
Myofascial Release Therapy
Similar to soft tissue manual therapy, myofascial release is a manual therapy that focuses specifically on “myofascial tissues,” which are tough supporting muscles. These tissues often center on stiff trigger points causing pain. The goal of myofascial release therapy is to loosen these stiff tissues by using manual pressure and thus loosen joints and other muscles.
A chiropractor may use this method to break up scar tissue, help promote blood flow and speed up healing. This is also called the Graston technique and involves intensely massaging a specific area using a muscle scraping tool. Chiropractors will often use this technique on the back if there’s been an injury event.
A chiropractor might also use electrodes and place them on your lower back to send pulses to your spine. This will help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Electrical stimulation can also be used in combination with other treatments to work on a specific tense area.
Ultrasound can be used in lots of ways beyond pregnancy information. Ultrasound uses sound waves that can massage tissues and joints, reducing pain and promoting blood flow. It can be used as a tool on your lower back to bring swelling and stiffness down.
A chiropractor might also opt for using water, such as hot baths, saunas or wraps to reduce pain. This method relies on temperature stimulation to the back. This can also be done via heat packs or cloths against the patient’s lower back. Depending on the situation, a chiropractor will choose whether to use hot or cold hydrotherapy.
In addition, infrared radiation can be used to determine the temperature differences in certain areas of the body. The colors that appear in a thermal camera will show blood flow and where it may be restricted in the body. Used as a diagnosis tool, infrared can help chiropractors find the exact place that needs adjustment.
A chiropractor may also get good results by suggesting exercises and stretches. He/she will show the patient how to do them and then suggest doing them at home to help speed up the healing process. Sometimes, these exercises will build over time so the patient improves strength and flexibility.
Massage therapy is another area that chiropractors may utilize during treatment. Generally speaking, massage therapy promotes blood flow and relaxes patients so that their muscles become less stiff and tense. This can help prepare the patient for more involved adjustments or therapies.
A chiropractor will also look at a patient’s diet, exercise and supplements to make sure that there’s nothing triggering back pain in the patient. Generally speaking, for back pain a chiropractor will suggest an anti-inflammatory diet, regular low-impact exercise such as swimming and some supplements such as omega-3 or magnesium. Depending on your specific case, the chiropractor will come up with a customized care plan to relieve your lower back pain.
Chiropractic treatments have diverse purposes and effects. According to the cause of your lower back pain, a chiropractor will utilize one or more of these treatment options to reduce pain, restore mobility and enhance flexibility. In addition, many of these treatments can easily be combined for best results.
When in doubt, ask your chiropractor what kind of chiropractic treatment he/she suggests and how it will help your lower back pain. A Wasilla chiropractor or any other professional chiropractic clinic will help you navigate treatments and therapies so that you know what to expect.
Dr. Brent Wells is a graduate of the University of Nevada where he earned his bachelor of science degree before moving on to complete his doctorate from Western States Chiropractic College. He founded Better Health Chiropractic in Anchorage in 1998. He became passionate about being in the chiropractic field after his own experiences with hurried, unprofessional healthcare providers. The goal for Dr. Wells is to treat his patients with care and compassion while providing them with a better quality of life through his professional treatment