Among people seeking back pain relief alternatives, many choose chiropractic treatment. About 22 million Americans visit chiropractors annually. Of these, 7.7 million, or 35%, are seeking relief from back pain from various causes, including accidents, sports injuries and muscle strains. Other complaints include pain in the neck, arms, and legs, and headaches.
What Is Chiropractic Care?
Chiropractors use hands-on spinal manipulation and other alternative treatments. The theory is that proper alignment of the body’s musculoskeletal structure, particularly the spine, will enable the body to heal itself without surgery or medication. Manipulation is used to restore mobility to joints restricted by tissue injury caused by a traumatic event, such as falling, or repetitive stress, such as sitting without proper back support.
Chiropractic treatment is primarily used as a pain relief alternative for muscles, joints, bones, and connective tissue, such as cartilage, ligaments, and tendons. It is sometimes used in conjunction with conventional medical treatment.
The initials “DC” identify a chiropractor, whose education typically includes an undergraduate degree plus four years of chiropractic college.
What Does Chiropractic Treatment for Back Pain Involve?
A chiropractor first takes a medical history, performs a physical examination, and may use lab tests or diagnostic imaging to determine if treatment is appropriate for your back pain.
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.
What Are The Benefits of Chiropractic Care?
Spinal manipulation and chiropractic care are generally considered safe, effective treatments for acute low back pain, the type of sudden injury that results from moving furniture or getting tackled. Acute back pain, which is more common than chronic pain, lasts no more than six weeks and typically gets better on its own.
Research has also shown chiropractic care to be helpful in treating neck paint and headaches. In addition, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia may respond to the moderate pressure used both by chiropractors and practitioners of deep tissue massage.
Study: Complementary health approach is recommended by over half of U.S. office-based physicians
A new study has shown that more than half (53.1%) of office-based physicians in the U.S., across specialty areas, recommended at least one complementary health approach (CHA) to their patients during the previous 12 months, with female physicians (63.2%) more likely to recommend a CHA than male physicians (49.3%).
This unique study, which found physician’s sex, race, specialty, and U.S. region to be significant predictors of CHA recommendation, is published in JACM, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers, dedicated to paradigm, practice, and policy advancing integrative health.
The article entitled “U.S. Physician Recommendations to Their Patients About the Use of Complementary Health Approaches” was coauthored by Barbara Stussman and Richard Nahin, PhD, MPH, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, and Patricia Barnes and Brian Ward, PhD, National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, MD.
The researchers analyzed recommendations by physicians to their patients for any CHA and for individual approaches, including massage therapy, herbs/nonvitamin supplements, chiropractic/osteopathic manipulation, yoga, acupuncture, and mind-body therapies.
Overall, massage therapy was the most commonly recommended CHA, followed by chiropractic/osteopathic manipulation, herbs/nonvitamin supplements, yoga, and acupuncture.
The analysis also looked at physician specialty area, including general/family practice physicians, psychiatrists, OB/GYNs, and pediatricians, and their likelihood of recommending any or a specific CHA.
The authors anticipate that their findings will “enable consumers, physicians, and medical schools to better understand potential differences in use of CHAs with patients.”
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Stussman, B. J. et al. (2019) U.S. Physician Recommendations to Their Patients About the Use of Complementary Health Approaches. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. doi.org/10.1089/ACM.2019.0303.