Chiropractic treatment is a popular option for those suffering from back pain. While most believe that these physicians only provide adjustments and spinal manipulation, doctors of chiropractic may use a wide variety of natural therapies to help in the healing process. The following are some of the most common therapeutics used in chiropractic treatments.
Many chiropractors provide patients with specific exercise programs that are designed to help strengthen muscles, improve joint range of motion, stability and health, and help protect against injuries reoccurring. These physical therapy type programs are done at home following the stretching and exercise techniques provided by the doctor. When this therapy is used, the chiropractor works with you to make sure you understand the exercises and how to perform them correctly before you begin doing them at home.
Heat and Ice Therapies
Chiropractic treatment often includes ice or heat therapy, or a combination of the two. Ice is often used right after an injury to help relieve pain and swelling, and heat is used to help increase blood flow to the area and relax the muscles. Many chiropractors will alternate between the therapies depending on your needs and condition.
Ultrasound is a method of treatment that uses sound waves. As the probe is applied to the skin of the affected area, the vibrations from the sound waves create heat deep within the joints and soft tissues. This process helps to promote healing, assist with breaking down scar tissue, and increasing blood flow to the area. While the therapy does create heat within the tissues, there is no pain or other sensations at the application site.
Therapeutic stretching is used to increase range of motion, and helps to prevent the formation of scar tissue after an injury. Like exercise therapies, stretching is often taught at the facility, and done at home between visits. The chiropractor works with you to make sure you understand how to do them properly, as improper stretching can cause more damage or pain.
Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS) is a type of therapy that relies on electrical stimulation to decrease pain. Patients are given a unit that has electrodes that are applied to the painful area. The user controls the intensity of the electrical stimulation via a control unit to provide relief from pain. As the electrical stimulation is applied, it helps to prevent pain signals from transmitting along the nerves, and works within the body to cause the release of endorphins, which are natural pain killing hormones.
Massage is a treatment that relies on a hands-on approach. The chiropractor uses specific rubbing techniques on the soft tissues to help reduce inflammation and swelling by improving blood flow to the affected areas.
These are just a few of the many therapies that a chiropractor may use during treatment, beyond manipulation and adjustments. Some doctors may use these therapies frequently, while others will focus on other methods. The proper therapy depends on your specific issues, and how they can best be treated.