Dr. Andrew Wright
Chiropractor for Back Pain?
I originally started seeing a chiropractor when I was 19 years old because my chiropractor told me that he could help me with my allergies. I was surprised when he said that because I only knew chiropractic to deal with back pain. This is a common understanding of chiropractic, but how is it that chiropractic helps back pain? What other pains can chiropractic help with? First, let me tell you a bit about chiropractic.
Chiropractic was founded in 1895 as a healthcare modality focused around helping people heal from the inside out. D.D. Palmer was the originator of modern chiropractic and his first adjustment was performed on a janitor named Harvey Lillard. Palmer claimed that the adjustment had miraculously healed Harvey’s deafness and the profession was born. To this day, Chiropractors celebrate the founding of their profession on September 18th, the day D.D. Palmer made the adjustment on Harvey on what is known as Chiropractic Day.
Chiropractic has many benefits. If you read into the philosophy of Chiropractic, the founders of the profession believed that the Chiropractic adjustment was immensely powerful and could literally change someone’s life. The reduction in subluxation, bone misalignments, is believed to free the person’s nervous system and allow life force energy to flow throughout the body, healing any and every disease. Though this may seem farfetched, there is evidence to support this claim. In the largest wellness study of its kind, Dr. Robert Blanks determined that the benefits of Chiropractic care extend far beyond simply realigning the spine. He discusses that the participants in the study saw many benefits in their lifestyle and overall wellbeing, including a reduction of their physical symptoms.
Even though the benefits of chiropractic care are well beyond pain management, headaches, neck and back pain is what chiropractic is most known for. Listed below are 5 aches and pains that chiropractic can help alleviate:
1. Chiropractor for Back Pain
Whether you have low back pain from sitting at your desk too long every day, or pain between your shoulders from staring at your phone, a chiropractor can help! When you sit in bad posture, at your desk or otherwise, the muscles along you spine get strained and tired, which in itself is painful. When the muscles get fatigued, the bones in your spine don’t stay in alignment. The muscles pull them “out” and the slouched posture trains them to stay in the misaligned position. Using gentle adjustments, the Chiropractors at Evolve Wellness Center will help your bones and muscles find their proper positions so that your pain quickly subsides and doesn’t come back.
2. Chiropractor for Sciatica
The sciatic nerve is the largest single nerve in the human body. It exits from the lower part of your back and its branches extend all the way to your toes. Your pelvis is made up of three separate bones: your left and right pelvic bones and your sacrum. The sacrum is part of your spine and the Sciatic nerve has to pass in between the sacrum and the pelvic bones. If your pelvis, hips, knees or feet are misaligned, it can affect the sciatic nerve causing pain that runs down the back of your legs and feels like a pulling or stretching. If you have sciatic pain, something like putting on your shoes in the morning could be excruciating.
3. Chiropractor for Headaches
There are many causes of headaches. Anything from forgetting your coffee in the morning to a bone misalignment in your neck can cause a headache. Although chiropractic typically doesn’t help with caffeine withdrawal symptoms, most types of headaches can be helped by chiropractic care. One of the most common headaches is known as a cervicogenic headache. This type of headache is caused by a bone misalignment in your neck leading to muscle imbalances in your neck and around your skull. These can range from annoying to “please just cut it off” painful. When the bones in your neck are misaligned, the muscles around your head and neck spasm to try and stabilize the area. It is usually this spasm that gets painful. Otherwise, the joins in your neck can get inflamed and cause pain when moving the joints like in turning your head or bending your head one way of the other. A gentle chiropractic adjustment can allow your neck muscles to relax and the bones to move gently into their proper positions. At Evolve, we typically see pains like this change after just a few visits.
4. Chiropractic for Neck Pain
Neck pain and cervicogenic headaches are very similar. Most of the time a cervicogenic headache is related to neck pain because, in both cases, the neck misalignment is the root cause. If you have ever woken up and felt like you “slept wrong” or like you need a new pillow, you know what this neck pain feels like. You may have used a foam roller or tried to stretch that place right where your neck meets your shoulders to try to ease the pain. A chiropractor is trained in bringing ease to the spine in this area which helps the muscles relax out of spasm so that you can finally move your neck again. One of the most common ways people try to fix this problem is by taking over the counter pain medications or by getting a massage. These both may temporarily ease the pain, but for lasting relief from this type of headache, a chiropractor can help move your bones into the proper positions so that your muscles don’t need to spasm anymore. One of the best parts about chiropractic is that there are very few side effects and the benefits are extensive beyond simply helping get out of pain. My patients regularly describe that not only are they feeling physically better, but they also are noticing that they are able to handle emotional and mental stress more effectively as well, all of which can cause a literal “pain in the neck.”
5. Chiropractor for hand/foot pain
Most people believe that back pain is a chiropractor’s bread and butter type of patient. While this is typically the most common type of pain that chiropractic can help with, the chiropractor’s main role is to help the nervous system function properly. Pain is an indication that something is not where it needs to be. The nerves that go to your hands and feet have to pass through your spine and down your arms and legs. Along that path, there are many places where the nerve can get squeezed, irritated, or otherwise altered in a way that changes how that nerve functions. Studies show that the pressure amounting the weight of a quarter can change how nerves function. The nervous system is the mechanism through which we experience the world. Everything from our five senses to our internal experience is information that travels along our nervous system. If our nervous system has tension or is constricted in any way, it can change how we experience our body. What I am getting at is that if, for example, you have pain in your wrists or elbows, feet or knees, especially if it is appearing on both sides of your body, it likely is caused by a misalignment in your spine. It is for this reason that many people who have symptoms like carpal tunnel syndrome end up getting surgery on their hands, but their hands still hurt afterwards. Chiropractors are trained to identify bone misalignments, called subluxations, and help your body to move these bones into a more aligned position.
Chronic Back Pain: The Statistics
There are many more different types of pain that we can experience in our bodies. Back pain is one of the most common types of pain. In fact, 8% of Americans experience chronic back pain that limits their daily activities. This article discusses how costly chronic back pain is on our population. Chronic back pain is the sixth most costly condition in the United States costing directly or indirectly about $12 Billion every year. I say indirectly because there is the cost of missed work days. According to the article, 83 million workdays are lost to back pain every year. If you have back pain, you’re definitely not alone! Not only does low back pain cost us billions of dollars, but people with chronic back pain report more feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness. They are also more likely to report significant levels of psychological distress including depression or anger. Although most people with chronic back pain see a medical physician, patients who see chiropractors are more satisfied with their treatment. It is my belief that the primary cause of back pain is subluxation and to treat the back pain without addressing the spine is missing the point. This situation is further compounded by the fact that many of the pain medications that are prescribed for pain have significant side effects or dependency risks. Chiropractors are specifically trained in providing care for the spine and helping ease low back pain. The care we provide at Evolve Wellness center is designed to help your body relax and realign its spine so the pain goes away naturally, without the negative side effects of medications. The article I discussed above has many different, alarming statistics about back pain that are all the more reason to see a chiropractor for back pain.
Severe Lower Back Pain
So you have severe lower back pain... What should you do? Check out our other blog posts. My clinic, Evolve Wellness Center, is located in the Brookhaven neighborhood of Atlanta, GA and we utilize gentle techniques to help your body naturally, effortlessly, and easily realign itself so that you feel more ease in your body, and in your mind. Many chiropractors use techniques that twist, pop, and crack your spine and can make the pain worse. The techniques that we use at Evolve are gentle and require no twisting or cracking. Give us a call!