Back pain can range from mild discomfort to debilitating pain, the worst case scenario resulting in total immobilization. Chiropractors are non-surgical health care professionals who, by manipulating the musculoskeletal and nervous system, ease mild to chronic back pain conditions. Chiropractic treatments are well known and respected as being generally effective in the treatment of back pain, and the preferred first step in treating back pain conditions. Read on for information on how a Chiropractor goes about treating common back pain conditions.
The first initial appointment with a Chiropractor generally involves an interview regarding pain symptoms. This initial interview may be face-to-face, over the phone, or via an email questionnaire. Typical questions asked will include when the pain was first experienced, where the pain is located, and whether or not the pain is the result of an injury. This interview will help the Chiropractor in deciding which area to concentrate the most on, in order to accurately assess the problem. Following the initial interview a physical examination will take place. The physical examination includes general tests such as pulse, blood pressure, reflexes and respiration, before moving onto more specific orthopedic and neurological tests. These more specific tests will normally include tests of range of motion in the affected area, muscle strength test, muscle tone test and neurological integrity test. Following these tests the Chiropractor will be able to deduce where the problem lies and which approach to use in order to best to treat your condition.
In some cases, when back pain is chronic or critical, diagnostic studies may be performed. These may include an X-ray examination, an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan, and other laboratory tests. These diagnostic results can help in identifying structural abnormalities and pathologies. Diagnostic studies are generally not performed unless the condition seems to be more problematic than the most common back pain issues.
Diagnosis and treatment plan
Following the examination and diagnostic studies (if given), the Chiropractor will make a diagnosis and form a treatment plan based on the results. The treatment plan will normally include some variety of soft tissue manipulation, stretching and strengthening exercises, and adjustments to key joint dysfunctions. Other treatments such as cold laser therapy, active release techniques, massage, heat or cold applications, and general education on nutrition and ergonomics may be included. In some cases medical acupuncture may be recommended in conjunction with the Chiropractic therapy. Each treatment plan will be on an individual basis and tailored ongoing depending on how the patient’s body responds.
The results of Chiropractic treatments will vary from person to person, however you should generally expect reduction of pain in the short term and eventually normal range of motion and tolerance in the long term. Results depend heavily on the patient’s commitment to attending appointments and following the Chiropractor’s instructions diligently. In many cases when a patient begins to feel relief and the pain is no longer acute, they can often forget about the Chiropractor’s instructions, leading to further injury or longer rehabilitation treatments. It is in the best interests of a patient to ensure they follow the Chiropractor’s instructions in order to gain in the long term.