What is a Chiropractor?
A chiropractor is a health professional who has been trained to diagnose and remedy neuromuscular disorders. They also focus their treatments on manual adjustment and manipulation of the spine. Chiropractors work to reduce pain and help patients recover full functionality. Chiropractors can also offer patients exercises and information that can help them cope with pain and live fuller lives.
How does a doctor become a Chiropractor?
To become a chiropractor, doctors must complete a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree program from an accredited school. These programs are set up similar to medical school and focus on the spine, head, neck, arms, legs, and basic anatomy of the body. Doctors must also spend several hours in clinical training where they can practice what they have learned in class under the watchful eye of a chiropractor. Many students also complete internships.
What are the common diseases treated by a Chiropractor?
Chiropractors treat a variety of disorders associated with the spine, neck, nerves, and musculoskeletal system. Diseases, injuries, or other health problems might cause these disorders. Chiropractic is considered safe, non-inasive and drug-free treatment approach. Some of the most common diseases treated by chiropractors include:
- Degenerative Disc Disease: This disease happens over time and usually affects the elderly. As the body ages, the spinal discs change and can rub together or degenerate. When this happens, the patient might suffer from back pain.
- Carpal Tunnel: This disease affects the nerves in the wrist. Excessive pressure on the median nerve can cause tingling, pain, numbness, and a complete loss of feeling in the wrist and hand.
- Degenerative Joint Disease: This disease is also called osteoarthritis. It occurs over time as the body ages and with the normal wear and tear of the joints. As the joints wear down, the patient can experience pain.
- Fibromyalgia: This disease causes pain and discomfort all over the body. The exact cause is unknown, but it is believed to be related to oversensitive nerves.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: This is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the joints and the surrounding tissue.
- Sciatica: Sciatica pain is caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve. Sufferers might also experience tingling, numbness, and weakness in the legs or spine.
- Herniated Disc: This happens when the intervertebral discs in the spine break down and degenerate. This causes the vertebrae to rub together, which can lead to pain and discomfort.
What are the diagnostic tests and procedures ordered by a Chiropractor?
Before a chiropractor starts to treat a patient, he or she must determine the cause of their pain or discomfort. Some of the tests performed include:
- Gait Test: The chiropractor will watch the patient walk forward and backward. The chiropractor will watch to see if the patient is off balance, has any pain, or has any abnormalities in the back or pelvis.
- Movement Test: During this test, the chiropractor will ask the patient to move in a variety of different ways to get a better understanding of their range of motion.
- Leg Raise: The chiropractor will ask the patient to lay on their back and raise one straightened leg up and then down. The patient will be asked to do the same with the other leg. This is a test for sciatica and other lower spine problems.
- X-Rays: A chiropractor might order X-rays to see if there are any broken bones or problems that could be causing the patient’s pain or discomfort.
What are the different types of Chiropractors?
There are three different type of chiropractors, and each type uses different methods and practices.
- Straight: These chiropractors believe that the basis for all diseases are a result of subluxations. They work to correcting those subluxations with various chiropractic techniques. They aim to create a strong nervous system that starts in the spine.
- Mixers: Mixers are chiropractors that are trained to correct subluxations. They also believe that there are other things that cause disease, such as viruses and bacteria. They believe that subluxation can weaken the immune system and make the corrections while also suggesting other types of medical treatment.
- Reform: These chiropractors do not use subluxation correction methods. Instead, they use manipulation and touch to work on specific areas of the spine and to treat specific diseases or issues.
How do Chiropractors treat spinal problems?
Chiropractors use a variety of techniques to treat spinal problems. Some of the most common include:
- Adjustments: Chiropractors work to adjust the spine to relieve pain, tingling, numbness, and other uncomfortable feelings. This can also sometimes improve posture and gait.
- Hot and Cold Therapy: Some chiropractors use hot and cold therapy to relax the muscles around the spine and make it easier for them to adjust it or to help it readjust itself.
- Medications: For patients in pain, a chiropractor might prescribe pain relievers or muscle relaxers to help make them more comfortable.
When do you need to see a Chiropractor?
You should see a chiropractor if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Sciatic pain
- Unable to turn head properly
- Pain or tingling in the extremities
- Hip pain
- Trouble walking
- Trouble sitting
- Mobility issues
- Back or neck injuries
- After a car accident
- Repetitive stress injuries
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American Chiropractic Association: https://www.acatoday.org