Although chiropractic treatments can also help to maintain a healthy spine, it's primary benefit is in pain relief. Pain caused by spinal injuries can be debilitating, leading to both a loss of income and lowering of quality of life.
Chiropractic treatments will vary, depending upon whether the care is for general maintenance of the spine or for pain reduction, as well as the extent of an injury to the spine.
What is the purpose of chiropractic care?
Many individuals have a vague image, born of the media, of a chiropractor "cracking" a patient's spine with a single violent motion.
Chiropractors do actually manually manipulate the spinal column in order to realign vertebra that have been pushed out of alignment, either by a single violent incident or from repeated minor stresses.
When the vertebra become misaligned, the spinal nerves may become irritated. This can cause pain both at the local area of the misalignment or in a completely different location.
Because the spinal cord sends messages from the brain to all areas of the body, overall health may be affected if the path of these electrical impulses becomes compromised. Keeping the spinal vertebra in alignment provides not only relief from pain but also facilitates healing in other parts of the body and helps to maintain over health.
Chiropractic treatment for injuries
A herniated disc refers to a breach of the sponge-like discs that are located between each pair of spinal vertebra. These discs allow free movement of the spinal column without friction between the vertebra.
A disc may be ruptured by many causes. The spine could be exposed to sudden or prolonged trauma or the discs may dry out as a patient ages. Some individuals are at heightened risk of a herniated discs because of genetic flaws.
When a disc ruptured, the gel inside leaks out, irritating the spinal fluid or pressing against the spinal nerves. This can cause excruciating pain.
Many ruptured discs will heal on their own with sufficient rest. However, back muscles can become tight and distorted through minimal activity. This can inhibit the spine's ability to heal itself.
A chiropractor can stretch these taut muscles in a controlled manner, so that the spine can remain in alignment to facilitate healing.
If a spinal injury occurs at the base of the spine, it can irritate the sciatic nerve, which runs from the spine, through the buttocks and legs, and ends at the feet.
Pain or tingling can occur at any point in the lower body with Sciatica, even though the injury or trauma is actually located in the spine.
Sciatica will also usually heal on its own through conservative treatment and rest. However, chiropractic treatment can alleviate some of the symptoms as well as facilitate healing through muscle stretching and gentle spinal manipulation.
Recurrent episodes of back pain will require multiple appointments with the chiropractor, both to help with pain management and to help you get back on your feet and ready to resume normal activities.