I finally met the chiropractor! We started out by talking a little about the reason for my visit, and what my goals were. Next, he performed a Selective Functional Movement Assessment, which basically helps the chiropractor find the root and cause of any symptoms—they do this by breaking down dysfunctional patterns logically rather than simply finding the obvious source of the pain.
Many patients seek orthopaedic care for neck pain because orthopaedists are specifically trained to diagnose, treat, and help prevent problems involving the muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons. Although some orthopaedists confine their practices to specific areas of the musculoskeletal system, most treat a wide variety of diseases, injuries, and other conditions, including neck pain.
Attached to the back of each vertebral body is an arch of bone that forms a continuous hollow longitudinal space, which runs the whole length of the back. This space, called the spinal canal, is the area through which the spinal cord and nerve bundles pass. The spinal cord is bathed in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and surrounded by three protective layers called the meninges (dura, arachnoid and pia mater).
In the U.S., chiropractors perform over 90% of all manipulative treatments. Satisfaction rates are typically higher for chiropractic care compared to medical care, with a 1998 U.S. survey reporting 83% of respondents satisfied or very satisfied with their care; quality of communication seems to be a consistent predictor of patient satisfaction with chiropractors.
Numerous controlled clinical studies of treatments used by chiropractors have been conducted, with conflicting results. Systematic reviews of this research have not found evidence that chiropractic manipulation is effective, with the possible exception of treatment for back pain. A critical evaluation found that collectively, spinal manipulation was ineffective at treating any condition. Spinal manipulation may be cost-effective for sub-acute or chronic low back pain but the results for acute low back pain were insufficient. The efficacy and cost-effectiveness of maintenance chiropractic care are unknown. There is not sufficient data to establish the safety of chiropractic manipulations. It is frequently associated with mild to moderate adverse effects, with serious or fatal complications in rare cases. There is controversy regarding the degree of risk of vertebral artery dissection, which can lead to stroke and death, from cervical manipulation. Several deaths have been associated with this technique and it has been suggested that the relationship is causative, a claim which is disputed by many chiropractors.
Some chiropractors believe that chiropractic care is the only treatment needed for any health problem. Others are committed to working with your pain management specialist as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. When looking for a chiropractor close by, it is important to decide which type of chiropractor is right for you and your pain condition. As we’ll discuss below, chiropractors will share on their website what they’re most focused on treating or what they have the most research experience with. They may also discuss their philosophies about care so you can find one that matches how you approach treating your pain.
The word “Chiropractic” is derived from the Greek words “cheir” (hand) and “praktos” (done) combined to mean “done by hand.” It was chosen by the developer of chiropractic care, Daniel David Palmer. In 1895, D.D. Palmer performed a chiropractic adjustment on a partially deaf janitor, Harvey Lillard, who later reported that his hearing had improved due to the change.
In most circumstances, a medical history and physical examination are the key parts of an evaluation required to diagnose neck pain/disorders. In some cases, individuals who do not respond to starting therapy may undergo specialized radiographic tests, such as plain X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computerized tomography to screen for additional problems of soft tissues, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, tumors, or nerve injuries.
Another part you have to play? Motivating yourself to continue your exercises at home. It’s important to remain active, and keep moving, so your adjustments can be helpful for as long as possible. Plus, the exercises your chiropractor or therapist give you can actually help you correct some of the issues causing your pain. If you don’t do them, you’re really just slowing down your own healing process.
Finally, it’s important to know that it’s okay to change chiropractors if the doctor you find just isn’t a good fit. They may be perfectly qualified and capable, but if you aren’t comfortable with them, treatment may be less effective. Some patients love doctors who are straight and to the point, while others prefer someone who provides lots of explanation both before and during a procedure. Likewise, they may not be the best doctor to treat your specific pain condition. As with other doctors, chiropractors understand this and are happy to transfer your records to a different doctor.
^ Jump up to: a b Biller, J.; Sacco, R. L.; Albuquerque, F. C.; Demaerschalk, B. M.; Fayad, P.; Long, P. H.; Noorollah, L. D.; Panagos, P. D.; Schievink, W. I.; Schwartz, N. E.; Shuaib, A.; Thaler, D. E.; Tirschwell, D. L. (2014). "Cervical Arterial Dissections and Association With Cervical Manipulative Therapy: A Statement for Healthcare Professionals From the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association". Stroke. 45 (10): 3155–74. doi:10.1161/STR.0000000000000016. ISSN 0039-2499. PMID 25104849.
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The treatment plan may involve one or more manual adjustments in which the doctor manipulates the joints, using a controlled, sudden force to improve range and quality of motion. Many chiropractors also incorporate nutritional counseling and exercise/rehabilitation into the treatment plan. The goals of chiropractic care include the restoration of function and prevention of injury in addition to back pain relief.