Chiropractors are heath care providers that treat muscle and nerve problems by working with and manipulating the patient's spine. Much controversy surrounds the chiropractic practice, due to the fact that chiropractors are not the same as medical doctors. However, danger or injury related to chiropractic treatment is rare overall, and it is widely considered safe and healthy. For those with neuromuscular disorders, it is best to think of chiropractic treatment as complementary medicine in addition to a doctor's treatment.
Benefits of Chiropractors
The heart of chiropractic treatment is the manual manipulation of the spine, with the theory that a properly aligned spine will help the body heal itself. Many people visit chiropractors after an experiencing injury or after having chronic pain in the back or nerves. Treating problems like these is a chiropractor's job. But what, specifically, can a chiropractor do for you? Here are four benefits afforded by chiropractic treatment.
1) Pain Relief. Patients of chiropractors report pain relief due to treatment, especially those with back pain. In addition to anecdotal evidence, some scientific evidence exists to back this up. A 2013 study used MRI imaging and found that Spinal Manipulation Therapy (SMT) was effective in relieving lower back pain. The idea is that the plates of one's spine become misaligned, contributing to back pain, and adjusting that alignment manually will relieve the pain.
2) Improved Motion. Chiropractors also seek to improve a patient's range of motion. This refers to the ability of a body part to freely move. Spinal adjustments as well as treatments on other parts of the body are thought to align the bones in such a way that makes moving easier. A web source cites a 2001 study that found range of motion was improved in patients who received chiropractic treatment compared to those given fake treatment and those given no treatment.
3) Helpful Exercises. In addition to SMT and alignment treatment, chiropractors often teach their patients exercises that are helpful in pain relief, injury rehabilitation, and overall health. For example, a chiropractor may show a patient how to do upper back exercises if the patient has upper back pain related to muscle spasms, sprained muscle, or poor posture. Sometimes the chiropractor will tell the patient to practice those exercises daily as "homework" in between visits.
4) Nutrition. Chiropractors care about the overall health of your body, so they will sometimes provide counseling related to nutrition and diet. While a chiropractor does not replace a dietitian for serious nutritional issues, the health care provider can be helpful for those with less serious diet problems. For an example, a chiropractor might advise you drink low fat milk, which helps strengthens bones, including those in your back.
Advocates of chiropractic medicine claim there are many more benefits including treatment of headaches, ear infections, and joint pain, as well as the benefit of lowering blood pressure. While it is not completely clear how much of these reported benefits are accurate, we can be certain, regardless, that millions of people report feeling better after visiting a chiropractor.