Chiropractors are licensed health care providers with a professional doctorate degree known as a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) In general, chiropractors focus on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mechanical disorders in the body’s musculoskeletal system. Most people recognize chiropractors as specialists who treat neck and back pain, and this is in fact true. What many people do not realize is that chiropractors can skillfully address many other medical diagnoses. In effect, chiropractors provide advanced care for any kind of muscle or joint pain in the body.
Chiropractic care includes manual treatment like adjustments or spinal manipulation, joint mobilizations, soft tissue therapy (including but not limited to myofascial release techniques such as Active Release Technique or ART and Graston Technique or GT), myofascial and joint taping, therapeutic modalities, spinal decompression, and therapeutic exercise/rehabilitation. Chiropractors offer comprehensive treatment to the entire musculoskeletal system and will carefully design a treatment plan that addresses the full scope of symptoms, in addition to the root causes of pain and dysfunction.
Here are 10 Things You Didn’t Know Chiropractors Treat:
1. Pregnancy Pain
Certainly, pregnancy places a range of physical demands on a woman’s body. Many women experience low back pain, hip pain, or other body discomforts as the growing fetus increases stress on their muscles and joints. Also, as the baby grows it can vastly impact posture, creating biomechanical compensations that affect the muscles and joints of the body.
Chiropractic care is a terrific way to alleviate pregnancy pain without medication. There are many gentle manual therapy techniques, exercises and taping techniques that can promote proper function, and relieve the aches and pains associated with pregnancy. As experts of the body’s musculoskeletal system, chiropractors can recommend specific activity modifications, exercises and stretches that keep the body balanced, healthy, and pain-free.
There are several types of headaches that chiropractors treat including tension headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches. Many headaches originate in the cervical spine or neck region, close to the base of the skull. Even if there is another etiology for the cause of the symptoms, there is usually a musculoskeletal component to each headache.
For instance, headache sufferers often present with limitations in neck range of motion, along with palpable tension in the neck, upper back and shoulder muscles. Advanced chiropractic techniques including spinal manipulation, myofascial release, and postural re-education effectively decrease the frequency and intensity of headache pain and improve the quality of daily life. Releasing adhesions and tension in myofascial tissues involved in headaches often provides significant and permanent relief.
3. Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylopathy, is a common condition characterized by pain in the elbow or forearm that can radiate or sometimes impact grip strength and functional activity. In fact, most patients develop tennis elbow after repetitive motions or straining, unrelated to tennis. Scar tissue and myofascial adhesions can build in the muscles, tendons, and fascial tissue around the elbow causing movement impairment and pain. Weakness of the forearm muscles, shoulder muscles, and rotator cuff as well as the mid back can all play an important role.
Chiropractic treatment of tennis elbow often includes pain-reducing modalities, targeted myofascial release techniques such as ART and GT, exercise and stretches, and joint mobilization. A skilled chiropractor comprehensively treats the symptoms of tennis elbow by evaluating the cause and developing an effective treatment plan which may also include joint taping and activity modifications.
4. Shoulder Pain
The shoulder joint is one of the most flexible and active joints in the body. Because of this, the shoulder is prone to painful injury or dysfunction from a variety of causes. Chiropractors frequently treat shoulder pain associated with rotator cuff tears, frozen shoulder, bursitis, impingement, and other related diagnoses.
A chiropractor examines the entire region, making sure to treat any contributing dysfunction such as neck or mid-back joint or muscle dysfunction while focusing on the biomechanics of the shoulder joint. In this region, it is also important to use myofascial release techniques and therapeutic exercise, as well as specific taping protocols. Chiropractors can use treatments such as ART and GT to reduce myofascial adhesion and scar tissue in the shoulder joint capsule, rotator cuff, and surrounding tissues to greatly improve range of motion very quickly.
5. Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is a nagging pain in the heel of the foot, which is often worse with the first few steps of the day. When the band of tissue along the bottom of the foot becomes inflamed or painful, foot function changes and patients can get stuck in a cycle of dysfunction.
Chiropractors treat the cause and symptoms of plantar fasciitis so patients can return to normal activities as quickly as possible. A chiropractor typically performs manual therapy techniques on the soft tissues in the foot and calf and can recommend specific exercises and stretches to help alleviate symptoms. ART and GT are highly effective in alleviating scar tissue formation and exercises that strengthen the ankle, hips, and core can provide long-lasting solutions. Taping techniques for the heel pad and plantar fascia are great for reducing acute pain and keeping athletes in the game.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, often with associated fatigue, mood, or memory issues. Pain points in fibromyalgia occur on both sides of the body and can be challenging to treat.
Because chiropractic care focuses on the whole body, a chiropractor is particularly skilled at treating fibromyalgia. Chiropractic manipulation can improve the nervous system connections that impact pain signals. An experienced chiropractor develops a customized treatment program including exercise, stretching, nutrition, and lifestyle changes to increase function and decrease chronic pain.
7. Runner’s Knee
Runner’s knee is also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome, chondromalacia patellae, or patellar tracking disorder. Symptoms can include knee popping, grinding, swelling, discomfort around the kneecap, or pain with knee range of motion. There is generally abnormal motion or problems with “tracking” of the patella or kneecap due to muscles around the knee being too tight or too weak. You will usually often find weakness in the hips and lower back.
A chiropractor will perform an extensive physical evaluation identifying the contributing causes of runner’s knee and develop a targeted treatment approach that may include modalities, taping, adjustments, stretching, exercise, and myofascial release as stated in the above conditions. The goal of treatment is to correct any biomechanical imbalances and support a safe, comfortable return to activity.
Whiplash occurs due to intense head movement, often caused by motor vehicle accident trauma. When the head moves rapidly forward and backward, in an extreme range of motion, the body can experience severe pain and muscle guarding. Cases of whiplash are extremely uncomfortable in the acute phase when there is significant irritation and inflammation in the tissues of the cervical spine.
Chiropractors can treat acute whiplash with modalities and spinal manipulation to encourage a healing response and promote comfort. As the acute phase passes, patients benefit from spinal manipulation to restore proper joint motion to the small joints of the cervical spine.
9. Pinched Nerve and Slipped discs
Spinal nerves can become pinched or compressed anywhere along the vertebral column, and often cause radiating pain or sensory symptoms on the affected side. Chiropractors effectively treat the causes of pinched nerves by using specialized techniques to decompress the symptomatic area.
In most cases, spinal manipulation, myofascial release, spinal decompression therapy, and a special type of rehabilitative exercise called McKenzie exercise or Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT) is the perfect treatment combination to relieve pain and improve function quickly. Chiropractors are experts regarding spinal anatomy and function and can identify the root cause of the pinched nerve, offering direct treatments to alleviate pain and improve mobility.
Temporomandibular disorder (TMD), more commonly known as TMJ, describes the conditions that impact the jaw joints, muscles, and facial nerves. TMJ can include head pain, jaw pain, clicking, popping, ear pain, or even tinnitus, which is ringing in the ears. The TMJ area is supported by powerful muscles that coordinate the functional movements of chewing and talking.
Chiropractic care is particularly effective for TMJ symptoms, as the chiropractor can restore jaw alignment while addressing any muscular imbalances in the region. Many TMJ patients also have a neck component to their pain brought on by poor posture, so by seeking out an experienced chiropractor, patients receive comprehensive, coordinated care to improve their TMJ symptoms.
Now You Know More About What Chiropractors Can Do
As you can see, chiropractic care goes well beyond the scope of treating neck and back pain. In fact, as specialists of musculoskeletal function, a chiropractor is the provider of choice for any ailments with a muscle or joint component. Many chiropractors are considered primary spinal specialists, meaning they should be your first point of contact for spinal pain. The chiropractors at Physio Logic are in fact that, but due to extensive continuing education and evidence-informed care we treat so much more beyond neck and back disorders.
By developing a trusted relationship with an experienced chiropractor, you will have a healthcare provider ready to address symptoms, restoring you back to health, as quickly as possible. If you are unsure if the symptoms you are experiencing can be addressed by chiropractic care, the first step is to schedule a consultation. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the ways chiropractic care can positively impact your life.