Conventional medicine is built on treating illnesses with two tools and only two tools: drugs and surgery. You can visualize a conventional doctor as a workman who carries only a hammer and a screwdriver. To be fair, they're the absolute best hammer and screwdriver that science can build, and the workman is very, very good with those particular tools; if you need a nail or screw driven, this is the guy you want to hire.
But back pain isn't all just nails to be hammered and screws to be driven. Back pain can be caused by multiple factors, and each cause can require a different kind of treatment. Would it make sense to fix everything with only two tools even though that the problem may require other tools? Would it be better to patch the road or fix it at its root?
For example, if drugs are used to treat a spinal misalignment, will that correct that misalignment that is causing the pain? Or will that just temporary inhibit the pain without treating the cause? Ultimately, medications are there to just block the pain, and although this eases the anguish associated with back pain, it does not restore the functional biomechanics. Even worse, while prescription drugs can be effective at treating pain, in most cases they can't do anything to fix the underlying problem causing that pain. This means that if you want that pain to stay away, you have to keep taking those drugs until the cause of the pain somehow fixes itself. That's a life sentence of sky-high medical bills and side effects!
Pain is a sign that something is seriously wrong with the body, and blocking that mechanism will only cause more damage in the long run. Wouldn't it be better to treat the underlying problem and restore its proper function?
And surgery, while generally more effective at treating the root cause of a problem, can be even more dangerous. Iatrogenic disease-that is, illnesses caused by doctors-is currently the number three cause of death for Americans, behind only cancer and heart disease. Every time a patient goes under the knife, no matter how necessary, they are taking their life in their hands. Again, there are certain conditions where surgery is the best option, but why put up with the risks of surgery when there are alternative treatments that can deal with a problem before it gets bad enough for surgery to be the only option?
In short, when it comes to back pain, conventional medicine comes at the problem with nothing but that hammer and screwdriver, and whatever the cause of the pain may be, those are the tools you get. Given the alternative, wouldn't you rather be treated by someone with a complete toolbox, a medical practitioner who approaches each problem by its own standards instead of using the same approach to every malady?
Considering how inadequate the drugs-and-surgery method is at effectively treating back pain, is it any surprise that millions of Americans are seeing Doctors of Chiropractic? Chiropractic medicine, unlike conventional medicine, isn't about treating symptoms, but about treating people. Doctors of Chiropractic make use of a wide range of methods and equipment to treat a variety of problems. After all, chronic disorders such as back pain result in almost 80% of health care expenditures in the United States, and chronic disease can't generally be fixed with drugs or surgery. Chiropractor helps patients look at their lifestyle and medical history as a whole so they can treat the root cause of chronic pain-and "treat" doesn't mean "make it go away by taking a pill."
Let's examine why more and more people are looking to a chiropractor to treat their back pain:
Chiropractic is Safe and All Natural
Compared to the dangers of surgery as described above, chiropractic is incredibly safe, with an injury to patients during spinal manipulation reported in fewer than one in three million adjustments. Doctors of chiropractic make use of all natural remedies instead of relying on prescription drugs, which lead to millions of hospitalizations annually. The safety of chiropractic explains why malpractice insurance is one of the lowest of any medical practitioner.
Chiropractic is Effective for Back Pain
The effectiveness of chiropractic in treating back pain has been proven countless times. In fact, chiropractic is so effective that the Ontario Ministry of Health recommended that chiropractic should be the preferred treatment for lower back pain, with traditional medicine not even in the running. Chiropractic patients have reported being happier with chiropractic treatment than traditional medicine in startling numbers, citing the communicativeness of chiropractor, the low cost of treatment compared to traditional medicine, and most importantly, the effectiveness at reducing pain compared to drugs and surgery.
Chiropractic Has Shown to Reduce Hospital Admissions and Healthcare Costs
Doctors of Chiropractic don't just keep their patients safe when treating back pain; they actually reduce hospital admissions as a result of their treatment. According to the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, patients who saw a chiropractor as their primary care physician experienced 43% fewer hospitalizations and had more than 50% reduction of their pharmaceutical costs. Considering how many hospital visits result in iatrogenic disease, it's not only better financially to avoid hospitalization, it's a lot safer, too!
Chiropractic is the not answer to every health ailment. However, for musculoskeletal issues such as back and neck pain, headaches, and other related disorders, it is a safer and more effective treatment than drugs and surgery.
NYU Langone Spine Center Co-Director Dr. Anthony Frempong-Boadu sat down with Tech Insider to talk about spine health, and gave his honest opinion about working with chiropractors. As with choosing any doctor, its smart to do your research and find someone who can truly help you.
Dr. Bejan Pazdel talks about how he became a Chiropractor. He, like many people who have never experienced a chiropractor had images of back and neck cracking, and other wild and potentially harmful things. And, like most people, once he tried it and saw the results, he was so excited about how that happened that he decided that was what he wanted to do.
Most people go to a chiropractor initially to address pain they are experiencing in their back or neck.
While chiropractic has proven time and time again to be a highly effective means for reducing back and neck pain, what about after the pain subsides?
What are the benefits of chiropractic in asymptomatic people that no longer have, or even that have never experienced, spine-related pain?
If you have been to a chiropractor in the past or even if you have a family member that has used chiropractic services, you have likely heard that the doctor recommended services even once the pain is gone.
This post-pain service is commonly referred to as preventative or maintenance care and is a little controversial in some circles as to if it is truly beneficial for people without pain.
Ask any chiropractor that not only practices in the profession for a living but also no doubt receives the very same type of treatment they provide on a 'preventative' or 'maintenance' level and they will, of course, tell you that chiropractic is much more than a way to get out of pain - It's a way to maintain optimal health for life.
But what does the research show?
According to a 2004 review of the literature by Sean M. Hannon, BA, DC, focused on the benefit of chiropractic adjustments in people with no significant pain, it was found that there is strong evidence to support that adjustments "confer health benefits to people regardless of the presence or absence of symptoms."
The review showed significant improvements in respiration, the range of motion, cardiovascular function, immune function, muscle strength, healing time and reduced labor times in pregnant women under chiropractic care just to name a few benefits.
During my 18 years of chiropractic, I have seen firsthand the impact that adjustments can have on patients that have 'no pain.' The goal for these people, myself included, is to maintain optimal nerve flow from their spine to their muscles and organ systems to ensure they are functioning at their maximum level and to prevent problems from sneaking up on them.
Whether it's improved flexibility, more energy, getting sick less often or adding 10 yards onto their drive during the weekly golf game, every day I have the privilege of getting to hear about the impact a spinal adjustment is having on peoples' lives.
Combined with a healthy diet, exercise, and management of stress, I have made sure that regular chiropractic adjustments have remained a consistent part of my family's wellness plan. And while I respect anyone's decision to utilize the incredible power of chiropractic in whatever way makes sense to them, I equally believe that people should be aware of the impact a lifetime of chiropractic care can have on overall prevention of future problems and optimizing wellness right now.
Many more people in our society are addicted to pain pills - that over time prove to have harsh side effects - that are addicted to natural alternatives such as chiropractic and massage. For some the medication is essential for pain control but for so many others, taking a vested interest in truly optimizing their health would enable them to utilize drugs as they were originally intended... bridging the gap between injury and healing.
* Source: Objective Physiologic Changes and Associated Health Benefits of Chiropractic Adjustments in Asymptomatic Subjects: A Review of the Literature. Sean M. Hannon, BA, DC, J. Vertebral Subluxation Res. - JVSR.com, April 26, 2004.
"As a chiropractor, I think a lot about posture. And one of the activities that seem to cause a lot of stress in most people's bodies is spending prolonged periods of time at a desk or computer. So I spend a lot of time talking to people about how to have proper posture at their desk or workstation. So here is the skinny. You want to sit in a chair where your sacrum, or your low back, touch the back of the chair. It's best to have a chair where you can really have good back support. You want a chair that's designed for your body. So that the seat is not too deep for you, or not too shallow. You want your knees to come close to the end of where the edge of the seat is. And you want your feet to be able to touch the ground.
Most of us sit on chairs with our feet up on the rung. Or tucked up under us. And we want to make sure that the feet are actually on the floor. So adjust the height of your chair so your weight is on two feet, and two (?). That'll really distribute the weight properly through your entire musculoskeletal system, and put the least amount of strain on your body.
So let's talk about keyboards. Many people put their keyboard on a desk. Either because they're using a laptop, or that's just where they put the keyboard tray. But it's really important when you're at a keyboard, that your shoulders are dropped. So this is how you should set it up. Your shoulders should be completely dropped. And your elbows should be dropped and resting at your side. You want a right angle at your elbow. And no break at your wrist. This means that your keyboard should be about the height of your elbows.
Most people have their keyboard a little bit higher. And you might think, well what's the difference? It's just a few inches higher. But the difference is that when you have to start using the mouse, you end up engaging the elbow and the shoulder muscles. And this causes an isometric contraction in those muscles. And that can really add up to a lot of pain by the end of the day.
I recommend that people get keyboard trays. The kind that screw on under your desk. You can slide them out. Get a wide one so you can put your mouse on it too. This way when you don't need your keyboard you can slide it under your desk, but when you need it you can adjust it just for the height you need for your body.
Now let's talk about the screen. The middle of the screen should be exactly at eye level. Or maybe an inch below. Many of us are putting laptops or computers on desks and the screens are a little too low. And that means that we're flexing our head forward all day. And that puts enormous strain on our neck and our shoulders. So raise your screen up a little bit. So that the middle of the screen is right at eye level. You'll be glad you did it. It'll make a really big difference."
A lot of people continue to be frightened of trying alternative treatments, especially chiropractic care, due to myths and misconceptions. Here are a few basic misconceptions you may have heard about chiropractic care:
Misconception 1: Chiropractic Care is Agonizing
Chiropractic care is by and large pain-free. Many patients instantly feel relieved and also relaxed following treatment procedures. Others even describe the procedure and experience as being much like a good therapeutic massage. Individuals who have always been affected by neck pain and back pain can experience a bit of discomfort, however, their sessions end up being much more relaxing and comfortable with time.
Nearly all adult people will enjoy chiropractic therapies. Chiropractic therapy for youngsters as well as babies is likewise usually pain-free, despite the fact that kids may feel trepidation and fright in the beginning.
A session might range from thirty to sixty minutes, dependent upon the disorder being dealt with and also the affected regions. Patients can experience discomfort or perhaps slight pain depends upon the seriousness of the problem, in addition to their own personal threshold regarding pain.
Misconception 2: Chiropractic Care Can Be Dangerous
Chiropractic care is extremely safe. Chiropractic corrections are believed to be amongst the safest treatments regarding neck and back pain. The danger regarding having serious complications as a result of spinal manipulation is, in fact, unheard of. Spinal adjustment is actually recommended by nearly all physicians before people are generally advised to have surgical procedures. The alternative treatment is likewise viewed as a preliminary choice before you take powerful prescription drugs such as steroids or antidepressants.
Misconception 3: Chiropractic Doctors Are Less Competent In comparison to Medical Doctors
Chiropractic doctors actually undergo extremely stringent and demanding training and education. These kinds of courses are much like those undertaken by medical doctors, apart from subject matter such as surgical procedures and pharmacology. Chiropractic doctors have to study for two to four years initially as an undergraduate, prior to completing four to five years of academic studies in a chiropractic college.
The certified professionals are therefore well-equipped in things like pathology, radiology, biomechanics, differential diagnosis, physiology, chiropractic correction techniques, along with other health issues. Additionally, there are State and also National Board Examinations to guarantee certification. Ongoing training is necessary for all chiropractors as well.
Misconception 4: Chiropractic Care is Expensive
Chiropractic care is actually deemed to be both efficient and also cost-effective. Chiropractic care is usually significantly less expensive in comparison to having major medical treatments such as surgery and going on long-term prescription drug plans. Chiropractic care patients found that they may have substantially reduced costs regarding inpatient appointments, healthcare programs, and medicines.
Evaluation consultations are usually quick and inexpensive. Individuals might only have to see their chiropractors a couple of times each year, dependent upon the progress regarding the problem. When patients have successfully completed a therapy program, they are given a choice to carry on receiving treatment or to opt for occasional sessions.
Preventive plans are also offered in order to help individuals eliminate back, spine and throat troubles before significant interventions are needed.
If you think chiropractic care is just for your neck or your back, you need to think again! Chiropractic treatment can benefit you in ways you might never expect. And while most people pop into their chiropractor’s office for the first time to relieve pain in their back or neck, they keep returning even after the pain is gone because of the amazing benefits. Here are just a few of the unexpected benefits of Chiropractic care:
Chiropractic care can boost your immunity. A healthy immune system should be able to fight off most of the bacteria and viruses that it comes into contact with, with only minimal assistance from antibiotics or other drugs. Because the nervous system controls the functions of cells, organs and tissues of the body, a misalignment can reduce the ability of the immune system. Chiropractic care can realign the spine, freeing up the immune system to fight off intruders. Studies show that people who practice chiropractic maintenance have fewer colds than others.
Chiropractic adjustments can improve your digestion. The nerves that run through the spine also control your stomach and its functions. If the vertebrae in this area are improperly aligned, the nerves can begin signaling a need for more acid production, resulting in gas, heartburn, and acid reflux. A chiropractic adjustment can help the nerves in the thoracic spine work properly; the end result is frequently the elimination of stomach problems.
Chiropractic treatment increases your energy. It’s able to do this in two ways: by reducing tension in the spine and by freeing the nerves to work more effectively. Many times we’ve been sore and tense for so long that we don’t even notice it. Pain becomes normal for us. As our bodies struggle with muscle aches and pains and an ineffective nervous system, we find ourselves feeling run down and tired. Chiropractic adjustments remove all the pressure, freeing the body to run as it was designed to.
Chiropractic may be able to lower your blood pressure. A study performed by WebMD concluded that a chiropractic adjustment that specifically targets the nerves in the upper neck is as effective as taking a double dose of blood pressure medications. This specific manipulation is referred to in chiropractic circles as the “Atlas adjustment,” and is known to have stabilizing effects on blood pressure.
Chiropractic care can help you breathe better. The lungs are just like every other part of the body in that they rely on nerve function to travel unimpeded from the brain to the spinal cord. A misalignment in the thoracic and mid-cervical regions of the spine can lead to lung abnormalities like asthma. Correcting subluxations can help reduce inflammation in the lungs and increase our ability to breathe properly.
Chiropractic treatment can assist in a healthier pregnancy and may even be able to make delivery easier. During pregnancy, a woman’s body goes through many significant changes that impact the nervous system’s function. Ligaments in the pelvic area loosen to enable childbirth; at the same time, weight increase in a woman’s core can lead to an instability that places increased pressure on an expectant mother’s spine. Regular chiropractic care throughout pregnancy can help ensure a healthier mother and child, as babies born to mothers who visit their chiropractors develop in a healthier environment than those who don’t.
As you can see, there are many other reasons to visit a chiropractor besides relief from neck and back pain. Chiropractic care is a safe, natural way to help the body learn how to heal itself. Chiropractic treatment isn’t so much a way of fixing physical problems as it is a way of allowing your body to perform the healing it already knows how to do if it’s given the care and respect it needs.