If you suffer from chronic pain, you are not alone. One study indicates that 20% of Canadians deal with chronic pain. We can expect similar rates in the United States. Chronic pain can come from various causes. A common theme is that chiropractic care can frequently help treat it.
What Is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain occurs when you experience pain that does not disappear. To qualify as chronic pain, the pain must last for at least three to six months. It contrasts with acute pain, which is short-term, and typically disappears as an injury heals. Chronic pain does not need to be constant. It can come and go. The key identifier is that it does not permanently disappear.
Chronic pain can be debilitating, negatively affecting your ability to complete daily tasks. It can also negatively affect your mental health. Some people may experience chronic pain that is a dull ache or stiffness. Others may feel shooting, stinging, soreness, or burning.
If chronic pain also causes anxiety and depression, this is chronic pain syndrome (CPS). CPS affects about 25% of people with chronic pain.
What Can Cause Chronic Pain?
Occasionally, chronic pain will begin without a clear reason or cause. It is more common, however, for doctors to be able to identify the cause. The most common potential causes of chronic pain include:
- Back problems
- Migraines and headaches
- Nerve damage
- Poor posture
- Sleeping on a bad mattress
- Congenital conditions
- Not lifting and carrying heavy objects correctly
How Can a Chiropractor Help With Chronic Pain?
Chiropractic care for chronic pain is a popular component of a pain management plan. Other treatments may include relaxation therapy, medicine, lifestyle changes, physical therapy, and acupuncture.
A Refresher on Chiropractic Care
As a refresher, chiropractic care involves alternative treatments and spinal manipulation. It returns your musculoskeletal structure’s alignment to its proper position. This can improve mobility and reduce pain and inflammation.
What Chiropractic Treatment for Chronic Pain Can Include
When you visit a chronic pain chiropractor, the first visit will include diagnostics. The chiropractor will give you a physical exam and ask you questions. They may also use x-rays or other imaging. This will help them develop the ideal chiropractic treatment plan for your pain and its cause.
Pain management chiropractic typically includes manual adjustment. This process involves the chiropractor using sudden, controlled force to manipulate the spine. There are many different types of spinal manipulation. Each works best in a specific set of situations. The flexion-distraction technique, for example, relies on a gentle technique without thrust. This method is more common for treating spinal stenosis and herniated discs. Pelvic blocking techniques rely on cushioned wedges. The chiropractor places them under the pelvis as part of the treatment. This is a common method for treating herniated discs.
Many chiropractors will also incorporate other treatments, including:
- An exercise plan
- Trigger point therapy
- Nutritional counseling
Chiropractors also regularly work with physical therapists, offering exercises to improve mobility. Some of these provide additional benefits of chiropractic care, as you also get the benefits of exercise. That can include weight loss and improved cardiovascular health.
Chiropractic care for chronic pain also typically works to improve your posture. Chiropractors can deliver this benefit via a combination of manual adjustments and exercises.
Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Chronic Pain
The most significant benefit of chiropractic care is that it is effective and safe. In many cases, it can reduce the need for invasive treatment, such as surgery. It can also reduce the need for medicine.
Research shows that pain relief chiropractic techniques can be effective for treating headaches and neck pain. Chiropractic care and deep tissue massage can also help with fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis. Chiropractic treatment is particularly popular and effective at relieving chronic lower back pain. It can also improve mobility and reduce inflammation.
The Science Behind Pain Management Chiropractic Care
To understand why pain relief chiropractic works, you need to understand the importance of your spine. It does more than support your body. It also connects your circulatory and nervous networks. This means that if your spine is not aligned properly, a blockage can stop those systems from working correctly. This can negatively impact your body’s ability to heal. Because every part of your body is connected, an issue with your spine can affect chronic pain throughout the body.
By bringing your spine back into alignment, your circulatory and nervous systems can function properly. This, in turn, returns your body’s ability to heal.