Chiropractors treat conditions related to your body’s structure. Their goal is to relieve pain and improve function. They don’t prescribe drugs or do surgery. Rather, they adjust or manipulate your spine and other body parts to get them in the right position, or proper alignment. Chiropractic care is based on the idea that when your body is in proper alignment, you have a better chance of healing yourself. Get an overview of some of the more common ailments—not all of which are related to the spine.
1. Low Back PainLow back pain is one of the most common reasons people seek treatment from a chiropractor. Research on spinal manipulation often focuses on low back pain. Some people with low back pain benefit from going to a chiropractor, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Some research suggested people with low back pain got better relief from going to a chiropractor than from going to their family doctor.
2. Neck PainChiropractors often treat neck pain with neck manipulations. These are also called adjustments. In some cases, these neck adjustments—along with exercises—may work better for neck pain than pain medications. You may want to try a chiropractor if you have had neck pain for a long time that is not due to an injury. This type of neck pain may respond to chiropractic care.
3. Tension HeadachesChiropractic adjustment for your neck may help if you have tension headaches. These are a common type of headache that causes pain in the back of your head and neck. Stress and bad posture can cause tension headaches. A chiropractor might adjust your neck and give you some stretching exercises. The chiropractor might also suggest healthy ways to reduce stress and relieve your headaches, including proper posture and body mechanics.
4. Migraine HeadachesResearch has shown that chiropractic spinal manipulations can decrease migraine frequency, decrease pain, and reduce the need for migraine medication. How this occurs is not known. The authors of the study suggest that chiropractic care reduces overall stress, which may, in turn reduce the effect of migraines. Triggers for migraine headaches may include certain foods. Your chiropractor can also give you advice on nutrition and some changes in your diet to help treat migraines and other types of headaches.
5. WhiplashWhiplash is a type of neck sprain that often results from a car accident. Whiplash causes pain and stiffness in your neck. Pain may be worse when you try to turn your head. You may even feel dizzy or sick to your stomach. Chiropractic adjustment may help. A chiropractor may have you do exercising and stretching at home, too, and show you how to use heat or ice to reduce muscle spasms and swelling.
6. Sacroiliac PainYour sacroiliac (SI) joint is a big joint at the bottom of your spine. SI joint problems cause a different type of low back pain. You may feel this pain in your buttock or the back of your thigh. Chiropractors treat this type of pain with chiropractic adjustment. The chiropractor might also teach you how to avoid straining your SI joint. And, he or she might give you some exercises to strengthen your core muscles, which are the muscles that support this joint.
7. Shoulder PainYou probably think about back and neck pain when you think about chiropractic care. However, a chiropractor might also be able to help you if you have a stiff and painful shoulder. This condition is called frozen shoulder syndrome. People with frozen shoulder may have less pain and more movement after chiropractic care. Your chiropractor will stretch the muscles surrounding your shoulder and show you how to perform more stretches at home.
8. Knee PainMost often, wear and tear on the knee joint causes knee osteoarthritis. This is a very common condition. Chiropractic care might help. Chiropractors sometimes do back adjustments along with knee adjustments. This type of treatment may work better than knee exercises alone. Some people treated with chiropractic adjustment have less pain and better movement after a few weeks of treatment.