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What Is a Chiropractor?
A chiropractor is a medical professional who focuses on diagnosing and treating neuromuscular disorders through manual adjustment or manipulation of the spine, according to Spine-Health magazine. In the United States, chiropractors must complete training through a chiropractic college and then pass a licensure exam to become a Doctor of Chiropractic. Patients often seek out these professionals for help with back pain, headaches, and other types of body pain. As of November 2018, the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners reported that there were 70,000 chiropractors practicing in the United States.
What Types of Treatments Do Chiropractors Provide?
Chiropractors use various therapies to treat their patients. Here are just a few of the possible courses of treatment.
- Spinal adjustment: Also known as spinal manipulation, spinal manipulative therapy, or manual therapy, this type of treatment involves moving the joints in specific ways. It’s often used in combination with massage, physical therapy, and exercise to take the pressure off the joints and improve the function of nerves. Spinal adjustment may also help reduce inflammation. The primary target of spinal adjustment is pain in the neck, shoulders, back, and head.
- Therapeutic exercises: Specific types of exercise are used to help patients with pain in the extremities, back, and neck. These activities may help prevent the deterioration of muscles and improve the condition of joints. Some patients report increased strength and range of motion as well as reduced pain.
- Spinal traction: Specific spinal traction devices are used to distract areas of the spine. The treatment gently separates the vertebrae to decompress discs, reducing pressure and pain.
- Nutritional counseling: Chiropractors receive specific training in nutrition, acknowledging the role of diet in serious health problems. A chiropractic care plan often includes dietary recommendations.
- Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS) devices: A TENS device is a muscle stimulation machine. It’s small and operates with battery power so you can use it at home. The unit sends electrical current in varying intensities to reduce pain. While they have limited usefulness for chronic pain, TENS devices can help with short periods of acute pain.
- Stretching: Chiropractors prescribe specific stretches to be performed under supervision after an injury. The movement helps prevent scar tissue from forming and keeps the tissue more flexible. Patients may see increased range of motion as well.
How Do I Get Started With Chiropractic Care?
If you’re suffering with any of these types of pain, contact a chiropractor; he or she may be able to help. When you go in for your first visit, the practitioner will likely take a comprehensive medical history and a physical examination. He or she may also order lab tests and/or x-rays. Armed with all of this information, your chiropractor or back pain doctor in Baltimore, MD can help you develop a plan to fight back against pain.
Thanks to Mid Atlantic Spinal Rehab and Chiropractic for their insight into chiropractic care and what you need to know.