Chiropractic care is a healthcare profession that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of neuromusculoskeletal system problems, including bones, nerves, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Chiropractors are experts in managing back and neck pain through the use of spinal adjustments to maintain good alignment. In this article, we will explore the scope of chiropractic care, including what a chiropractor does, their education and training, and the conditions they treat.
What Does a Chiropractor Do?
Chiropractors perform a comprehensive examination of a patient, looking at the spine’s position and muscle reflexes. They also perform tests and may take x-rays to diagnose the patient’s condition. Based on their findings, chiropractors will come up with a treatment plan and monitor progress. The primary therapy used by chiropractors is spinal manipulation, where they use hands or instruments to apply force to a joint in the spine, moving the joint in a specific direction for better alignment.
In addition to spinal manipulation, chiropractors may include other treatments such as relaxation, stimulation, hot and cold treatment, exercise, diet, and weight loss counseling. Sometimes, to relieve pain, chiropractors will use massage therapy, ultrasound, braces, and shoe inserts.
Education and Training
In the United States, chiropractors typically undergo a four-year Doctor of Chiropractic program on top of three years of undergraduate study. All states require a chiropractor to earn a Doctor of Chiropractic degree, pass the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners exam, and obtain a license to practice in that state. Doctoral programs provide studies in life sciences such as anatomy and physiology. They also provide supervised experience in making assessments, hands-on spinal adjustment techniques, and business training.
Some states require a background check and exams in that state’s laws about chiropractic. Additionally, as a condition of ongoing licensing, all states require continuing education.
What Conditions Does a Chiropractor Treat?
Low back pain, neck pain, and headaches are the most common problems for which people seek chiropractic adjustment. Chiropractic care is a useful pain management resource. Chiropractors ensure the muscles surrounding the joints are working properly. Chiropractors can also treat arthritic joint functioning. Depending on the type of arthritis, the chiropractor may provide gentle manipulation to increase range of motion and reduce muscle spasms.
Reasons to See a Chiropractor
Most adults who do not want to use medication see a chiropractor to manage or eliminate pain in the low back, neck, and head. But there are other reasons patients seek chiropractic care. They include:
- Preventing disease
- Increasing energy
- Strengthening immunity
- Fostering overall wellbeing
It generally takes six to ten visits to a chiropractor for most people to experience relief.
What to Expect at the Mankato Chiropractor
Your first visit to the Mankato chiropractor will begin with an assessment. You will likely be given a list of health questions to complete. Your chiropractor may also want to know if you have a history of migraines and your sleeping patterns, your diet, and if you are physically active. You will also have a physical exam including your posture, a test of your muscle strength, your arm and leg mobility, and anything out of the ordinary like a shoulder or hip out of alignment. Your chiropractor may also take an x-ray.
During a Chiropractic Procedure
Your chiropractor is trained in over 150 techniques, most of which rely on gentle manipulation. To access various areas of your body, your chiropractor may position you in different ways. But usually, you will be on a specially padded chiropractic table, face down for chiropractic adjustments.
As your chiropractor performs the adjustment, they will use their hands or a small instrument to apply controlled force to specific joints or vertebrae, with the goal of improving function, reducing pain, and restoring mobility. You may hear a popping or cracking sound during the adjustment, which is completely normal and is caused by the release of gas bubbles from the joint.
While most chiropractic adjustments are painless, you may experience some mild discomfort or soreness after the procedure. This is normal and usually resolves within a day or two. Your chiropractor may also recommend stretches or exercises to help you maintain your mobility and prevent future injuries.
It’s important to note that while chiropractic care can be effective for a wide range of conditions, it’s not a cure-all and may not be suitable for everyone. Your chiropractor will conduct a thorough evaluation of your medical history, current symptoms, and physical condition to determine if chiropractic care is right for you.
If you’re considering chiropractic care, be sure to do your research and choose a licensed, experienced chiropractor who has a good reputation in the field. You can also talk to your primary care doctor for a referral or recommendation.
In addition to chiropractic adjustments, many chiropractors offer other services such as massage therapy, acupuncture, and nutritional counseling to help you achieve optimal health and wellness. By taking a holistic approach to your care, your chiropractor can help you address underlying issues that may be contributing to your pain or discomfort.