You may have seen those strangely satisfying videos online. The ones where a patient with back pain lies on a chiropractor’s bench and is subject to all manner of short, sharp movements along their spine or to other joints, causing audible cracks.
We all know the joy that comes from a crack in our own joints, maybe standing up after hours at a computer and having a good stretch.But what is it that a chiropractor can do to your back that you’ll never be able to manage to achieve yourself? How do chiropractic adjustments work? And, more importantly, do they work?
What does a Chiropractor Do?
A chiropractor is a specially trained health professional who works to correct mobility issues and spinal problems using a hands-on approach, in the form of manipulation and adjustments. And like all qualified doctors, they are highly trained, skilled, and licensed.
It can look a little odd at first seeing the doctor performing movements to specific areas of the body. But these movements are ways that the doctor adjusts the joint, so that it once again sits where it should, and moves how it should.
Despite what many think, a chiropractor doesn’t move bones! The musculoskeletal system is made up of not just bones but joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments, and these are what can make all the difference in mobility.
A person may see a chiropractor for any number of medical conditions, ranging from back pain, to headaches. The muscles and bones in our body are all connected. For instance, you could benefit from treatment if you tend to walk more heavily on one side of your body than the other.Even if you’ve never considered seeing a chiropractor, take a look at our piece on 5 Signs You Might Need a Chiropractic Adjustment and you may be surprised at how one or two of these signs match your own symptoms.
What to Expect at a Chiropractic Appointment
Don’t worry, no chiropractor would have you lie on the bench as soon as you walk into their office, and immediately begin to perform strange thrusting movements on your back or legs.
Instead, you’ll sit with the doctor, who will want to listen to you and understand your health concerns. As you explain your health concerns to the best of your knowledge, your chiropractor and after an exam will be able to understand what is causing your specific problem. More importantly, they’ll know what adjustment will work best for you.
If you’ve seen another person receive a chiropractic adjustment, whether online or on TV, or even when accompanying a family member to an appointment, you may be horrified at the pops and cracks!
But there’s no cause for concern. These pops aren’t painful. In fact, a chiropractor is very careful not to cause you any pain. After all, most people are there for pain relief!
The pops and cracks that you’re hearing are simply the quick release of pockets of gas in your joints, usually just air. You might not even hear them with every adjustment. Contrary to popular belief, they’re not your bones cracking under the pressure!If you’re still not sure, get some tips and advice on choosing the right chiropractor for you. After all, like any doctor or therapist, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable from the very beginning of your treatment, and that starts the moment you step into an office like ours.
The Health Benefits You May Not Have Realized
An interesting feature of a chiropractor’s approach, as noted by the National Institutes of Health, is the trust in “the body’s ability to heal itself.” Chiropractors can help alleviate all manner of health problems in the therapy that they provide, often by encouraging the body to return to full mobility and best homeostatic level.
Before a person sees a chiropractor, they may have been challenged by several different health issues that they hadn’t realized were all connected to the same problem.
For example, you may have noticed that the sole of your left shoe always wears out more quickly than the one on the right. Referral to a chiropractor might alert you to the fact that your pelvis is out of alignment.
By performing a pelvic adjustment in the form of several hands-on movements, a chiropractor will restore the correct alignment of the pelvic joint and surrounding tissues, therefore enabling you to walk with a more equal gait.
However, within a few days of your treatment, you might also notice that the headaches that you have been experiencing for months have suddenly stopped. You may no longer feel pain down your leg, from your sciatic nerve. Your mood may even have greatly lifted.
Many patients find that a chiropractic adjustment fixes most musculo-skeletal conditions they had no idea were related to one another. But poor posture from a misaligned pelvis can cause sciatic pressure, headaches, and other chronic pain symptoms that would no doubt make you feel sluggish, tense, or underperforming.
In this way, a chiropractor’s firm trust in the body’s amazing ability to heal itself is well placed. The adjustments and manipulations that these highly skilled professionals make restore the body’s natural order and equilibrium.
It’s Not All About the Clicks
There are some patients who go through a period of treatment with a chiropractor and once the treatment’s complete, they feel like a brand-new person. Their back or neck pain has been relieved, they no longer have headaches, and they don’t wake up feeling the aches and pains they once did.
But they’ll continue to see a chiropractor because of the deep feeling of release that a session of exercises and manipulations can bring. There’s no doubt that for those patients, commiting the time to be on the doctor’s bench makes them feel rejuvenated.
In the same way that a massage can make all the tension you hold in your body melt away, a session with a chiropractor even in a ‘top-up’ capacity could work wonders. And IHS chiropractors specialize in other treatments, too, not just joint adjustments.
Deep tissue massages and acupuncture-esque therapies like dry needling can alleviate both physical and psychological discomfort, restoring the body’s natural rhythms. Those with long-term health issues get a lot of relief and satisfaction from a visit to a chiropractor.
Even those who have no current health issues can find a chiropractor to be a valuable health specialist. Athletes who train at the highest levels can seek information on exercises, physical health management and even nutritional advice from a chiropractor in order to prevent injury in the first place.
There have also been huge benefits to women in pregnancy who have sought out a chiropractor, particularly in the third trimester. This is a time when the body is being pushed to its physical limits. Changes in weight distribution and pressure and stress on the joints can be greatly relieved by regular joint and muscle care to ensure full mobility is maintained.Not only that, but a deep massage and even dry needling techniques can aid in calming an expectant mother’s nerves about her impending labor.
Why You Should Consider a Chiropractor
We live in a time where there’s so much to do, and so little time in which to do it. When that happens, something like pain has to be handled immediately, so it doesn’t slow us down.
But instead of giving attention to the root cause of the problem, we have a tendency to reach for medication. We might treat the symptoms, but we’re not giving enough thought to the cause.
Chiropractors can help reduce the need for pain medication by finding out what’s causing the pain. A seemingly innocuous niggling back pain can have such a huge effect on overall health and wellbeing.
By getting your back sorted with the help of a chiropractic adjustment, you’re not only treating the problem but you’re helping to improve your overall physical and mental health. Pain isn’t just physically exhausting, after all. It’s mentally crippling, too.
True Holistic chiropractors are real advocates in this regard. They’ve realized just how much your wellbeing can be improved by looking after spinal health. A simple spinal adjustment can alleviate stress all over the body, in ways you may not have even thought of.
Rather than thinking of the body as being split into different sections, a holistic chiropractor understands how the body is a whole machine, and how when one area breaks down, it impacts everything else.
You’ve nothing at all to lose by considering a visit with a chiropractor, especially if you’ve been struggling with chronic pain or even a recent injury, so take the time to find a chiropractor near you and have a consultation.
It might be the best choice you make this year! You’ll be amazed at just how much better you’ll feel from getting the right kind of advice from a chiropractor.