When most people head to a chiropractic office, the pain or discomfort they’re experiencing at the moment is everything on their mind. If they have neck pain, they’re not usually sitting in the waiting room thinking “I wonder what that previous person was in for?” In the moment, everything is about their particular pain and how to get rid of it.
If this sounds familiar, you might be surprised at the wide array of problems that chiropractic can take care of. Let’s take a look.
Since we already mentioned this one, we’ll start here. Neck pain can occur for many reasons. Some of these are caused immediately (such as a car injury), while other neck pains can crop up over time (because of a bad pillow or posture at work).
Chiropractors can help with both of these situations. If the pain isn’t recurring, they might simply suggest a massage to hasten the healing process. If there’s a tear in the soft tissue of the neck, they can make adjustments with chiropractic care. They can also suggest particular exercises or lifestyle changes to prevent the problems from returning.
Headaches are another of the most common maladies that people come in with. It might not be obvious how chiropractic care can help with headaches; after all, there’s no joint to manipulate in the skull. But many headaches are the result of problems within the back, or, even more likely, the neck. Interestingly, there might not even be pain in either of those areas, but misalignments could cause headaches all the same.
Lumbar discs are spongy masses of connective tissue that both cushion the bones of the spine and keep them in place. Each disc is made up of a harder outer portion and a softer, gel-like inner part. (We won’t blame you if you think of it as a jelly donut.) When the outer part is damaged, some of the gel portion of the disc can escape. This is called a herniated disc. Herniated discs can occur because of an injury, but the natural aging process is the most common reason that discs love their hydration and begin to deteriorate. Other factors that can cause a herniated disc include repetitive stress, poor nutrition, tobacco use, genetics, or being overweight.
Herniated discs can be minor or very severe. The chiropractor will first determine the severity of the disc problem by doing a manual examination and checking your reflexes, sensation in the extremities, and strength. If you are a candidate for chiropractic care, spinal manipulation is often used as a means of taking stress off the disc so that it can have room to expand and heal.
The sciatic nerve runs from the lower spine down both legs and into the feet and is the largest nerve in the human body. When this nerve becomes inflamed, pain can travel all along the path. Pain is most often felt in the lower back but can also occur as far are beneath the knee.
The most common reason for sciatica, also known as sciatic nerve pain, is lumbar disc herniation pressing directly on the nerve. Sometimes bone or muscle could also cause the nerve to be pinched. A chiropractic clinic is most likely to treat it with a chiropractic adjustment or massage therapy.
Lower Back Strain
Unlike slipped and bulging discs, lower back strain comes from problems with muscles. These muscles are damaged with they are stretched or torn in an abnormal way. Chiropractors and their staff will treat muscles strains with massage, cold-laser therapy, or ultrasound.
When a skeleton is viewed from the side, there should be curvature. But when viewed from behind, it’s best if the spine is straight up and down. Scoliosis is defined as a spine that has a lateral curvature of more than 10%.
Many people have mild cases of scoliosis, but when it gets too severe it can cause pain, discomfort, and problems with movement. Symptoms can be one hip higher than the other, uneven shoulders, or one shoulder blade that’s higher than the other. The cause of most scoliosis is unknown, but it most often occurs during puberty.
How can a chiropractor help? Most often they will make a diagnosis based on the factors mentioned above, as well as a visual and manual confirmation. X-rays might also be taken so that there is a baseline to see the changes that occur thanks to treatment. Spinal manipulation is often employed, as well as exercises that can strengthen certain muscles and encourage them to pull on the spine in a new manner.
Pregnancy- and Childbirth-related Pain
Pregnancy and childbirth can put a lot of stress on the body. While most people think about the physical changes in a woman’s body that can be seen, there are many hidden pains that can be experienced.
One of the most common problems that pregnant women experience is low back pain and pelvic pain. In fact, nearly half of them experience considerable pain in either of those areas. It makes sense, since the spine and pelvis are carrying around considerably more weight than usual. Common chiropractic practices include adjustments of the back and pelvis. Chiropractors can also suggest exercises that can help alleviate some of these pains.
Everyone has heard of the discs in the spinal column that reduce friction and cushion the vertebrae, but not many people have heard of bursas. Bursas as small sacs filled with lubricating fluid throughout the body. Bursas don’t just help lubricate the space between bones but also help whenever bones, tendons, skin, and muscles interact. The irritation or inflammation of any bursa in the body is known as bursitis.
Unfortunately, as bursas help reduce impact, they’re taking a lot of the friction upon themselves. In the chiropractic world, we deal most often with bursae (the plural of bursa) found at bone joints. The most common places we’ll treat include the hip, knee, shoulder, heal, ankle, and elbow.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Thanks to changes in office ergonomics, many cases of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) have been avoided. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t still a serious problem. It is most often described as a numbness or tingling in the hand (and/or arm) caused by pinched nerves in the wrist. Chiropractors can begin by making adjustments and then ordering specific exercises and stretching of the wrist.
While the above is far from the only problems we treat, they are some of the most common. We’d love to see you if you are having any of those problems so that we can treat you non-invasively. Contact Flex Chiropractic today!