The term ‘chiropractic’ originates from the Greek words cheir (meaning ‘hand’) and praktikos (meaning ‘done’) – precisely, ‘done by hand’. Chiropractors are primary contact practitioners (which implies they can meet patients without a referral from a GP). They specialize in treating the spine by using their hands to assess and treat health disorders associated with the bones, muscles and joints (musculoskeletal diseases).
Chiropractors are educated to offer movements which treat and rehabilitate health disorders connected to the bones, muscles and joints, in addition to giving nutritional, dietary and lifestyle recommendations.
Chiropractors employ various approaches to diagnose musculoskeletal issues including hands-on clinical examination and diagnostic imaging such as x-rays or MRIs. These and other diagnostic tools are used to assess whether chiropractic therapy is suitable. If chiropractic therapy is not suitable (or your health condition has to be co-managed with other healthcare providers), your chiropractor will send you to the appropriate healthcare provider.
In certain circumstances, such as lower back discomfort, chiropractic therapy is often a person’s main means of treatment. For certain medical disorders, chiropractic therapies can complement or assist medical therapy by treating the musculoskeletal components linked with the ailment.
Painful joint and back issues may be caused by employment, accidents, sports injuries, domestic duties, and even simply the stress of everyday existence.
Chiropractic therapy assists if you have painful joints or muscular discomfort that impacts your ability to get through the day (or stops you from performing your favourite activities). It can also preserve good spine and joint function, even if you do not have uncomfortable symptoms.
People typically consult a chiropractor for treatment with:
- back pain
- neck pain
- work and sports-related injuries
- strains and sprains from daily activities
- overuse injuries
- limited mobility in the back, shoulders, neck or limbs
When you undergo a chiropractic examination, your chiropractor will:
- Perform a detailed medical history.
- Take a glance at your vital indicators – notably your body temperature, pulse, respiration rate (breathing rate) and blood pressure.
- Visually examine your spinal curvature or other obvious health markers.
- Use their hands to palpate (feel) your spine and the muscles and other soft structures that support it.
- Perform orthopedic tests: examinations meant to discover health disorders pertaining to the spine, bones, joints, muscles and soft tissues, including ligaments and tendons. Among other things, an orthopedic exam involves rotating the joint and assessing range of movement.
- Perform neurological exams: examinations meant to check the function of your motor, sensory and cranial nerves (such as assessing your reflexes and testing for numbness).
- Where appropriate, your chiropractor may also refer you for further diagnostic testing such as an MRI or x-ray.
Based on their examination, your chiropractor will provide you with a differential diagnosis and a working diagnosis (the most probable reason for your main issue). They will clarify this diagnosis, including its natural history (when you would expect it to resolve), therapy alternatives appropriate for you, and any benefits or risks linked with these treatments.
Common chiropractic treatments include:
- spinal manipulation, commonly termed an “adjustment”: using the hands to apply controlled force to a joint of the spine
- mobilization: mild movement of the joint to enhance its range of motion
- application of heat or ice
- soft tissue methods such as massage
- activity modification: recommending how to make modifications to your day-to-day activities to relieve pain and facilitate recovery
- lifestyle guidance such as healthy eating and physical exercise recommendations
- physiologic therapies such as the use of ultrasound, laser or TENS
- orthotics: shoe inserts which support the feet and enhance posture and alignment
- drop piece table method: the use of a specially built table to move a joint in a controlled manner
- therapy of additional joints including foot, ankles, shoulders, wrists and elbows
Your chiropractor will address these with you as part of the joint decision-making process.
If you need chiropractic treatment (or simply more information), visit fraserlifephysio.ca online or call us in Langley at (778) 278-4755 today.