What it chiropractic? Is it effective for treating different conditions? Are there any side effects and contraindications? The article contains answers to all these questions.
Chiropractic is an alternative form of medicine and an ancient method of treating diseases of the musculoskeletal system. Chiropractors try to make diagnoses and treat people with manipulating their locomotor system, especially the spine. They believe that the body can heal itself due to the energy coursing through it and that the spine’s function is closely connected with its structure. Damaged spinal bones and joints are set without anesthesia.
Chiropractic is often used to heal:
- lower back or neck pain, slipped discs, sprains;
- frequent migraine, dizziness;
- sports injuries, diseases of the respiratory system;
- allergic reactions, digestive disorders;
- otitis, hypertension, erectile dysfunction, dysmenorrheal, scoliosis, arthritis.
According to the statistics, in 1997, there were almost 192 million visits to chiropractic physicians and the main reasons for such visits were back pain and chronic conditions.
Chiropractic also helps to recover from:
- floating kidneys, pyelonephritis, difficult urination, incontinence;
- prostatitis, polycystic ovaries;
- inguinal hernia, cellulite;
- seborrhea, acne;
- osteochondrosis, conditions after accidents and surgeries.
Diagnostics and Manual Therapy
When you visit the chiropractor, the first thing he does is consider your medical report. He asks you about your complaints, examines spinal bones and your posture. Sometimes the doctor may ask you to lean forward, backward or toward, raise your arm or leg, hold your breath or breathe deeply. Such exercises help check the nervous system. X-ray examination is also often used.
After considering the results of examination the chiropractor offers you a treatment plan and consults you on diet and lifestyle.
The doctor may perform one or more manipulations. The healer presses, pats, massages and touches the body’s points with his fingers gradually increasing the motion range and quality, which depends on the manipulation chosen.
Sometimes patients may suffer from side effects from chiropractic care. They may experience temporary discomfort in body parts, fatigue and migraine but such effects are not so essential and are gone within 1-2 days.
As for complications, there have been no researches on them but it is known that the risk of being damaged is very low. However, if the cervical spine is treated with chiropractic, the risk still exists. One of the rare complications is cauda equina syndrome, which means that a bundle of spinal nerves branching from the end of the spinal cord is damaged. The following symptoms of the syndrome may be noted:
- weakness in the legs;
- digestive disorders, problems with bladder, loss of sexual activity;
- discomfort in the straight intestine or genitalia;
Therefore, before the procedure you should inform the chiropractor about any diseases you have and any types of treatment you use, as chiropractic has some contraindications, to be exact:
- any type of cancer, blood-clotting, blood-stroke, bleeding;
- tuberculosis, intoxication, convulsions, epilepsy;
- open or recent wounds, necrotic skin infections;
- mental disorders.
“Fake” chiropractors are not uncommon. So, if your chiropractor is unskilled and not experienced about, it may lead to serious fractures, nerve and blood vessel damages and even paralyses.
Chiropractic for Treating Back Pain
As already mentioned, an opportunity to relieve low back pain and other symptoms associated with the back with chiropractic has been researched. Chiropractic has been compared to other forms of medicine. In general, the results have been found weak, insufficient and ineffective for using such treatment for back pain.
The following reasons for this may be noted:
- Most of clinic researches consider only manipulation as chiropractic but chiropractic is not only manipulation;
- Results of experiments got in one set of conditions may not work in other set of conditions.
- The scientists have noted that chiropractic practice is effective due to the placebo effect.
To sum it up, chiropractic and forms of traditional medicine are equally helpful for relieving back pain. It is more difficult to draw conclusions about how helpful chiropractic is for treating other conditions.
At present, chiropractic practice is still researched. Now the trials are aimed at learning what happens in the body when a patient is treated with different types of chiropractic.