Chiropractic care is one of the most popular alternative therapies in the world. There are licensed chiropractors throughout the United States, capable of treating a variety of conditions. More than 27 million Americans seek chiropractic care every year. Chiropractors are well-known for helping with headaches and mild back pain. But can a chiropractor for pain relief treat muscle pain in the back?
Some of the answer depends on the cause of the pain. But many people do report that they experience muscle relief after they see a chiropractor. When the skeletal system is misaligned, it can lead to excess strain on the muscles. Over time, this strain may develop into an injury.
That’s not the only way that back pain can occur. Lower back pain often happens to office workers who sit at their desk all day without being able to stretch. The muscles tighten up and hurt, which makes it difficult to stretch. Gentle stretches can help with this, but a chiropractor is able to manipulate the joints more forcefully.
Chiropractic care comes with fewer risks than NSAIDs, which are the most common over-the-counter medications used to help muscle pain.
A chiropractor may be able to treat the muscle pain in your back if:
- You have generalized muscle pain but aren’t sure of the cause.
- You experience chronic back pain.
- You have a desk job that prevents frequent exercise.
- The range of motion in your back is limited.
- You have a misalignment or curve in your spine.
- You’re recovering from a physical injury or accident.
- You live a fitness-heavy lifestyle and engage in active exercise.
Chiropractic care isn’t guaranteed to cure your ills, but it can provide significant relief.
One concern that many people have is the worry that they may have an existing spinal condition. They fear that chiropractic manipulation might make things worse. But chiropractors are licensed and trained to do a physical examination prior to any treatment. If your chiropractor believes you need imaging or medical treatment, they can refer you to a doctor.
What to Expect from a Chiropractor Visit
One of the major benefits of chiropractic care is that a chiropractor uses a holistic approach to pain management. They may physically manipulate your joints to help your range of motion, yes, but they’ll also discuss your lifestyle. If you have posture issues, they can help you correct them to alleviate muscle pain. If certain aspects of your diet may be exacerbating your pain and inflammation, they can offer advice.
Spinal manipulation is just one part of the process. A chiropractor will typically combine spinal manipulation with other therapies, including:
- Relaxation and meditation
- Hot and cold compresses
- Stretching routines
- Electrical stimulation
- Educational tools
When you go to a chiropractor for your muscle pain, the most common treatment programs will include anywhere from six to twelve visits. The appointments will be staggered over anywhere from two weeks to a month.
Spinal manipulation is performed with either the chiropractor’s hands or a specialized device. To manipulate the spine, the chiropractor will apply mild force to a misaligned area. This causes the bones to readjust and shift back into place.
Patients tend to see their chiropractor frequently at first. But the goal of treatment is to improve the patient’s physical condition on an ongoing basis. This means that once the patient begins to recover from their pain, they may have less frequent appointments. Most chiropractors will recommend at-home remedies and exercises to continue managing pain.
Some patients with chronic conditions might continue seeing a chiropractor periodically for long periods of time. But many cases of back pain can be resolved over a few weeks or months. Once the issue is taken care of, you don’t have to go back to the chiropractor.
The first appointment with a chiropractor typically follows these stages:
- You give a complete medical history and answer a variety of detailed questions.
- You undergo a physical examination so your chiropractor can determine how your back is functioning.
- You discuss a potential treatment plan with your chiropractor and decide whether you want to proceed.
During the physical exam, the chiropractor will determine how well your body is aligned. They’ll also assess your range of motion and evaluate your muscle tone. This is often when the cause of the pain is determined.
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