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Back Pain: Do I Need to Visit a Chiropractor?
Back pain plagues over 3 million people in the United States per year according to the Mayo Clinic. Most back pain will go away with time, but for some cases, it persists. This is when you need professional help.
A 2015 National Institutes of Health report states that 27 million Americans are evaluated and treated by a chiropractor each year. A Doctor of Chiropractic focuses on the bones, muscles and nerves of the body and how they interact. Their basic technique involves manual manipulation of the spine but can encompass other treatment methods as well. Chiropractors will focus on manual, ergonomic manipulation to help adjust, align or reposition your body in a way thought to speed up the natural healing process.
Chiropractors are trained professionals who have a 4-year undergraduate degree. They also complete four years of additional training in a Doctor of Chiropractic program. These programs are rigorous and standardized to ensure that chiropractors provide the best treatment for back pain.
When to see a chiropractor
If you are reading this article, you have already decided to become an informed member of your medical care team. Maybe you have a chiropractor, or perhaps you are curious about what kinds of symptoms are legitimate reasons to make an appointment.
Either way, if you have experienced one or more of the following symptoms of back pain, consider making an appointment with a chiropractor:
- Inability to stand straight without pain or muscle spasms
- Pain in your back that also moves down your spine to your buttock, thigh, calves and toes
- Chronic aching, especially after sitting for or standing for extended periods
- Pain after lifting or engaging in strenuous activity
- Persistent aching or pain anywhere along your spine
What to expect during an appointment
Once you have determined that your back pain will not let up, the best thing to do is make an appointment.
During the visit, chiropractors will use tools to evaluate and treat back pain. The first thing any chiropractor should do is take a detailed medical history. Once this is complete, the doctor will then ask questions about the possible causes of your back pain and evaluate the spine and your range of motion.
An X-ray is also often taken to rule out the possibility that a spinal fracture is causing the pain. If an X-ray does not show any signs of fracture, the doctor will typically use manual manipulation of the spine to relieve the pain.
The chiropractor may tell you to do stretches at home to help with the pain between appointments.
Do you need chiropractic care?
If you experience back pain that does not seem to go away, you may want to consider visiting a chiropractor. Be sure to prepare for your appointment by knowing what to expect so that you and your doctor can discuss your pain as efficiently as possible. The sooner you come up with a course of treatment, the faster the pain will go away.
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