Is Chiropractic Therapy Only for Short Term Treatment?

Chiropractic therapy is a field of study with a complex and varied history. Chiropractors study for years and must pass a licensing exam and prove their competence before they can begin practicing. By the time a chiropractor sets up shop, they have a deep understanding of human anatomy, the mobility of the spine, the range of motion of the joints, the ways different structures work together, and how to find and correct issues caused by both injuries and by structural misalignment.

Chiropractors all have a wide body of knowledge. The field of chiropractic therapy is as varied as other fields in the health and alternative therapies industries. Some chiropractors choose to focus on one area of health, while others have a more comprehensive approach, and still others set themselves apart by treating only unusual conditions.

In short: No, chiropractic therapy doesn’t only address short term issues. But not every chiropractor incorporates long-term solutions into their practice.

One of the most common issues that people visit chiropractors for is back pain and tension. Once the chiropractor has determined that the back is not injured or suffering from an undiagnosed condition, they may find areas of tension and manipulate the joints to release that tension. Pressure buildup in the joints can lead to feelings of tightness, pain, and discomfort. Many people see chiropractors regularly to get this tension released in a safe, controlled manner.

This is the basis of traditional chiropractic care. It manages the pain that the patient is currently feeling. But if an underlying structural abnormality is causing the pain to recur, the chiropractor hasn’t treated that.

There are, however, specialized chiropractors who do address structural issues with alignment. If correcting posture, recommending exercises, and providing support devices hasn’t alleviated the issue, a specialized chiropractor may determine whether a natural misalignment in the body is contributing to the pain. They may create a treatment plan based around very slowly correcting this misalignment so that ongoing pain care is no longer necessary.

These types of long-term chiropractic adjustments are called structural corrections.

What Are Structural Corrections?

A structural correction is a method of chiropractic care that aims to correct the underlying cause of recurrent pain, rather than just treating the pain when it flares up. Not every case will be able to undergo a structural correction. Before such a treatment plan can be created, the chiropractor must rule out other underlying issues, find the source of the structural abnormality, and determine that it can be safely corrected.

These are typical circumstances in which structural corrections might be considered:

  • A person has scoliosis that either wasn’t treated as a child or wasn’t fully corrected
  • A person experienced a shift in their body’s alignment following a sports injury, car accident, or other traumatic impact
  • One leg is longer than the other
  • One shoulder sits higher than the other
  • The head and neck are angled to one side instead of sitting straight

This kind of misalignment might be minor, but it can also increase your chances of developing serious issues like arthritis and disc degeneration. It’s impossible to keep your posture aligned, so your muscles and spine and connective tissues are constantly under stress instead of being able to relax.

Structural corrections involve extremely gradual realignments over many, many sessions. The number of sessions varies depending on the patient and the severity of their misalignment. Each structural correction goes through three basic phases, though:

  • Relief from existing pain through traditional manipulation
  • Corrective manipulation to address the underlying pain cause
  • Maintaining successful results and encouraging ongoing wellness with preventative care

If you are getting a structural correction done, the realigning may be so gradual you won’t seem to notice any changes. Because of this, you’ll probably have best results with a chiropractor who takes radiograph and x-ray images prior to treatment. They’ll show you the structural issue and explain what is being done to solve it. Then, at the end of each phase of treatment, they can take new diagnostic images and show you the results for comparison.

Structural corrections aren’t part of traditional chiropractic therapy, and some individuals might be anxious about whether it works. Before you begin your treatment, ask to see some before and after images of your chiropractor’s past structurally corrected patients.

To get an evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment plan for your pain, the first step is to give us a call at 205-637-1363 and schedule an appointment.

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