The Ultimate Guide to Chiropractic Techniques
It’s common to have questions about chiropractic techniques and treatment, especially if you’ve never undergone treatment. There are many chiropractic methods that doctors utilize to address a wide variety of patient symptoms. Chiropractors can treat much more than back pain, and making an appointment can benefit your overall health or chronic condition in a myriad of ways.
The essential goal of chiropractic care is simple: alleviating patient pain and providing a better quality of life. To help patients and potential patients better understand the various chiropractic methods, we have put together a comprehensive chiropractic guide to answer all your questions.
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Chiropractic techniques are used to treat many different issues. From back and neck pain to sports injuries, migraines to osteoarthritis, there are endless conditions that doctors can address through chiropractic methods.
Back and Neck Pain
Back and neck pain is one of the most common reasons individuals make an appointment with a chiropractor. Whether you’re experiencing aches and pains, stiffness, or problems with range of motion, chiropractic techniques can address it all when it comes to back and neck pain.
Back and neck pain usually results from a misalignment in the spine that can be corrected with on-going visits. There are several key signs that your spine is misaligned. However, there can be other causes for the pain. Slipped or herniated discs, injuries at work or the gym, and scoliosis can cause back and neck problems.
The types of back and neck pain treated with chiropractic techniques can be broken down into several categories. The first is mechanical back pain, which is perhaps the most common. It occurs when the vertebrae are not correctly aligned.
The second type of back and neck pain that chiropractic methods can address is compression. Compression is commonly felt in the lower back and is a form of joint pain that can be caused by actions such as sitting for extended periods.
Chiropractors also treat herniated discs, a condition where the soft portion of a disc in the spine pushes through the exterior. Herniated discs may cause nerve pain felt in the back. You may hear the term “slipped disc,” which is another term for the same condition.
Headaches and Migraines
If you suffer from chronic headaches or migraines, the problem can likely be addressed with chiropractic techniques. A chiropractor will typically perform a series of spinal manipulations that alleviate pressure on the blood vessels. Chiropractic methods to realign bones and joints, while also working on soft body tissue has excellent success in decompressing the nerves that cause headaches.
Chiropractic techniques can also address issues such as pinched nerves and diabetic peripheral neuropathy. The two conditions are very different, but they can both cause patients extreme distress. Pinched nerves happen when a muscle or tendon applies too much pressure to a nerve. They are typically caused by injuries or inflammation.
Diabetic peripheral neuropathy occurs in 60% to 70% of those who struggle with the illness. Chronically high blood sugar damages nerves and blood vessels. Many patients experience tingling or numbness as a result, along with pain in the extremities. Chiropractic methods to help manage the condition may include acupuncture and massage therapy, among others.
Athletes and gym enthusiasts often suffer injuries or chronic pain, and chiropractic techniques can help. Conditions ranging from torn ligaments to tennis elbow, joint dislocations and soft tissue injuries, chiropractors can help address it all.
Many chiropractic methods help improve range of movement and alleviate pain associated with injuries, both immediately following an incident and in the weeks or months to come.
Chiropractors are joint experts, meaning that they can effectively manage pain resulting from conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Patients often experience symptoms including joint stiffness, lack of mobility and range of motion, and pain. Chiropractic techniques employed to help patients who suffer include electric stimulation, massage therapy, and more.
Other Health Conditions
The list above is not comprehensive of all the issues that chiropractic techniques can help manage or treat. Individuals with many different health conditions may benefit from chiropractic treatment.
These include, but are not limited to:
- Cancer pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Spinal stenosis
- And more
Many people have questions regarding what to expect from chiropractic treatment before their first visit. Treatment plans are individualized and developed to address each patient’s specific symptoms and concerns. While the most common form of treatment is spine adjustment, there are many other chiropractic methods and services that work well together.
What to Expect Before Your First Visit
Before your first visit, an office consultant will ask you several questions over the phone. They may ask you to print and complete some paperwork online regarding your medical history and current condition to bring with you to your first appointment.
You will likely be asked over the phone the reason for your first visit and to describe symptoms you are currently experiencing briefly. If you’re a woman, you may be asked if you are pregnant, as prenatal chiropractic care differs from traditional care.
Additionally, you may be asked if you have been diagnosed with any specific health conditions. The reason for this is that you may need to see a doctor who specializes in specific chiropractic techniques to treat you properly. Before you arrive for your first visit, learn what to wear to a chiropractic appointment.
What to Expect During Your First Visit
At your first visit, you will meet with the chiropractor who will complete a comprehensive evaluation of your symptoms and complaints. They may test for range of motion, strength, balance, and will certainly examine your spine to check for proper alignment.
At your first appointment, be ready to discuss your symptoms in-depth and to answer questions regarding any past treatment, chief concerns, and complaints, along with questions about your lifestyle. Your chiropractor may ask questions regarding your diet, exercise habits, and more. It’s important to answer each question honestly. Your responses will help your chiropractor formulate a plan to address your symptoms using the best chiropractic methods for you as an individual.
It’s during your first visit that your chiropractor will discuss treatment options and develop a treatment plan. They may ask if you are comfortable with specific chiropractic techniques. You will likely receive initial treatment, such as your first spinal adjustment or guided stretching. Additionally, you may get X-rays to better evaluate any issues with bones and joints.
Your chiropractor will recommend how often you should come back and may provide you with exercises to complete at home that will aid in the treatment process.
What to Expect as Treatment Progresses
The focus of chiropractic care is to help manage symptoms and relieve pain. Throughout treatment, the chiropractic techniques the doctor uses may change based on your body’s unique response to care.
As time goes by, you may need to see a chiropractor less often than you did at first, and your pain should begin to lessen. Your chiropractor may continue to take regular X-rays to monitor progress and keep checking your range of motion, balance, and mobility.
Chiropractic care is an on-going process, not a one time deal. If you are seeking treatment for an injury, the doctor may recommend that you participate in physical therapy. Physical therapy is one of the most common chiropractic methods used to help patients heal.
There are many chiropractic methods that doctors use to address pain and improve patients’ quality of life. Spinal adjustment usually comes to mind first, but chiropractors can do so much more. By combining traditional treatment with alternative and holistic approaches, pain is often managed well.
Chiropractic techniques can be broken down into several categories. The first is manual, meaning that a chiropractor will be working with you hands-on. These chiropractic methods include spine adjustments, stretching exercises, physical therapy, and massage therapy.
Additionally, there are instrument-assisted chiropractic methods. What this means is that the doctor will use accessories to aid in your treatment. These may include acupuncture needles, electrode therapy pads, ultrasound techniques, laser treatment, or cupping therapy.
For a comprehensive overview of the many chiropractic techniques, continue reading below.
Chiropractic adjustments are one of the most common chiropractic techniques. They are a non-invasive form of treatment, where a doctor will manipulate the spine for optimum alignment and overall health. The pressure is applied to your spine to realign any vertebrae that are not in proper placement.
Chiropractic adjustments are quick and swift, and you will usually hear a cracking noise as your vertebrae fall back into place. Immediately after, you may feel more relaxed and less stiff. You may also experience mild soreness at first, which should not be long-lasting.
Acupuncture is an ancient medical treatment that is also among the most popular chiropractic methods. Small needles are inserted into specific areas of the skin, based on your condition and needs. There is very little to zero pain associated with the treatment.
A typical session lasts anywhere from ten minutes to half an hour. Acupuncture causes your body to release endorphins, a natural chemical that help reduce pain. It may also promote faster healing as the needles stimulate blood flow to targeted areas of the body.
While electrical stimulation may sound frightening, it is non-invasive and painless. Also known as E-Stim, it is one of the favored chiropractic methods for treating soft tissue injuries. Electrode pads are attached to your skin’s surface in the area you are experiencing muscle pain. Then, short electric impulses are emitted from a machine through the electrode pads, causing your muscles to contract and relax.
E-Stim effectively strengthens soft tissue, helping it to heal, while simultaneously blocking pain receptors and releasing endorphins. Sessions typically last for approximately 15 minutes.
Rapid Release Therapy
Rapid Release Therapy, or RRT, is one of the instrument-assisted chiropractic techniques approved by the FDA. The hand-held machine uses vibration to treat nerve issues, soft tissues such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments, as well as scar tissue.
It can help to ease muscle pain, increase mobility and range of motion, and help with conditions such as tennis elbow, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, lockjaw (TMJ), headaches, and more. RRT is entirely non-invasive.
Laser treatment is beneficial for more than just skin. It’s one of the instrument-assisted chiropractic methods that help heal injured soft tissue. The laser delivers light a few centimeters below the skin, noninvasively. The results are reduced inflammation, decreased muscle spasms, pain reduction, a faster healing process, and increased range of motion and mobility.
It is useful for those who suffer from knee pain, sciatica, migraines, and those who have suffered muscle injuries or are in recovery from surgery.
The Graston Technique®
The Graston Technique is considered an instrument-assisted form of chiropractic treatment, developed by Dr. James Cyriax. It addresses problems with soft tissue, specifically fibrotic tissue. Patients who have suffered trauma to a specific area of soft tissue, typically as the result of an injury, can benefit from the technique.
Individuals who have been in car accidents and suffer whiplash injuries, sports injuries, surgery, or torn ligaments or tendons may benefit from the Graston Technique as a part of the chiropractic methods incorporated into their treatment plan.
Ultrasound therapy is another one of the instrument-assisted chiropractic techniques that can identify precisely what area of the body is affected by an injury or pain. It provides chiropractors with a comprehensive image of both bones and muscle tissue so that they can develop the best treatment plan based on patient symptoms.
The ultrasound process itself may help speed recovery time and reduce inflammation.
Other Chiropractic Methods
The above list does not include every one of the chiropractic techniques a doctor may use to treat a patient’s condition. There are many holistic treatment options from which individuals may benefit. For example, some chiropractic offices are licensed to provide medical marijuana cards.
Additionally, offices and doctors may specialize in pediatric or prenatal chiropractic treatment. Other ancillary services may include aromatherapy, massage therapy, physical rehabilitation, cupping therapy, and more.
If you are in pain, have frequent headaches or migraines, have been in a car accident, or suffered a sports injury, it is likely a good idea to see a chiropractor as soon as possible. However, if you have had surgery or suffered an injury, ask your treating physician if they believe it is early enough in your recovery to undergo chiropractic treatment. There may be times when your body has not recovered enough to benefit from chiropractic methods.
For Treatment of an Injury or Chronic Condition
After an initial consultation with an experienced chiropractor, your doctor will work with you to determine the best course of treatment. How often you go will likely be based on which of the chiropractic techniques your doctor deems appropriate to treat your condition.
For example, if it is recommended you participate in physical therapy, you may need to go more often than an individual needing adjustment for every day back and neck pain. Several factors help determine how long you will need physical therapy. As your treatment progresses, you may need to go less and less frequently.
For Everyday Back and Neck Pain
Back and neck pain that is not a result of an underlying medical condition or injury may be treated in just a few sessions. Your chiropractor may recommend that you come back once a week to maintain spinal health and stop the pain from returning. For those with migraines and chronic headaches, this is true as well.
Lifestyle Recommendations for Chiropractic Health
In addition to office visits, there are many lifestyle recommendations your doctor will discuss with you to aid in the effectiveness of chiropractic techniques they will employ. These include diet, exercise, and home exercises. Lifestyle recommendations are centered on overall health and wellness, along with managing chronic pain.
To maintain strong bones, low levels of inflammation, and optimal wellness, there are nutritional recommendations to follow that will augment your chiropractic treatment plan.
- Getting plenty of vitamin D
- Consuming adequate amounts of calcium
- Limiting the intake of saturated fats
- Eating healthy sources of protein
- Adding plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet
- Avoiding foods that aggravate back pain
- Staying hydrated to prevent back pain
- Weight management programs
In addition to keeping a healthy diet, you must implement key lifestyle changes to ensure you get the most out of chiropractic methods. Doctors often recommend a variety of recommendations.
- Exercising regularly
- Avoiding activities that have a high impact on your joints
- Using accessories such as a posture corrector or lumbar support belt
- Wearing shoes that help alleviate back pain
- CBD supplements for back pain
- Never try to adjust yourself at home
- Special pillows to maintain correct posture while sleeping
Exercises for Chiropractic Health
There are many simple exercises that you can do both at home and at work that can help keep your spine in top condition and keep pain at bay. The most simple one, if you experience back and neck pain as the result of sitting for extended periods all day, is to ensure that you get up and move around.
Every thirty to sixty minutes, make sure that you get up from your desk and walk around. Take this time to stretch your legs. Merely getting out of your seat will relieve pressure from your tailbone and lumbar spine, aiding in decompression.
Other helpful exercises for chiropractic health include:
- Water aerobics
- Gentle stretching
- Strength training exercises
- Exercises to improve balance
- Resistance exercises
- Core exercises
It is essential to discuss which exercises will complement the chiropractic methods your doctor is using. Not every activity is right for each person. Recommendations will vary depending on your reason for seeking treatment, the type of injuries you have sustained, and health conditions that may be worsened with specific exercises.
For example, if you have arthritis, exercises that have a high impact on your knees may not be right for you. At the same time, water aerobics may be a great solution. If you have a torn rotator cuff, lifting weights with your arms is generally not advised, though simple stretching may work well.
Ultimately, your exercise routine will depend on your unique needs and situation. No two patients are the same, and no two chiropractic treatment plans are either. Different chiropractic techniques and chiropractic methods are used based on your specific condition.
Seek Chiropractic Care Today
If you are living in pain, whether it be from the strains of everyday life, or a chronic health or medical condition, know that there are chiropractic treatment methods that can help. Here at ChiroCare of Florida, we seek to improve each patient’s quality of life, enabling them to live happy, pain-free lives.
For Filing Personal Injury Claims
Our expert chiropractors can help with treatment documentation for those filing personal injury claims. We will provide a thorough evaluation of the injuries you have sustained, outline your projected treatment plan, and provide a medical diagnosis to help you receive the medical compensation you deserve. Remember, in the state of Florida, you have just 14 days to seek medical care following a car accident when seeking compensation from an insurance company.
Convenient Office Locations
With offices across South Florida, from Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and Palm Beach County, we are just a short drive away. We have more than ten offices, each with friendly and experienced chiropractors who will help develop a treatment plan just for you.
Specialty Chiropractic Practices
At ChiroCare of Florida, we have doctors who specialize in chiropractic techniques for pregnant women as well as pediatric care. We offer comprehensive wellness plans and programs, along with medical marijuana registration for those who meet the criteria, physical rehabilitation, massage therapy, spray tanning, and all other chiropractic techniques covered above.
Making an Appointment
It’s easy to make an appointment at ChiroCare of Florida. An initial phone call takes just a few minutes to schedule a time and office that works best for you and your schedule. Don’t let pain get the best of you. Contact us to schedule an appointment today.
For more information, visit our Pain Resources page for commonly asked questions and answers.