If you hear that a friend or family member has an appointment with a chiropractor, you might assume that they are having some back or neck pain that is being treated with manipulation. While many who seek chiropractic care are in pain after an accident or due to poor posture or the aging process, other patients who see a chiropractor are going for very different reasons. While you should bring up any health concerns with your general practitioner, a chiropractor can be helpful in many situations when your regular doctor can't help. Here are some of the conditions that a chiropractor might be able to help with.
Arthritis occurs when "wear and tear" cause joints to begin to break down. This causes difficulty moving and pain. Often, traditional treatments for arthritis include painkillers and, in some cases, surgery.
Chiropractic care for arthritis can include manipulating (cracking) the affected joints, but not when they are swollen and irritated. In that case, manipulation can make the condition worse, at least temporarily. Your chiropractor can use a variety of other types of therapies, including ultrasound therapy, therapeutic stretches and exercises, and trigger-point (pressure) therapy. These can all bring about pain relief without medication. Once the joints are not painful, they can be gently manipulated into the proper position to allow for healing.
It's not a problem most people want to talk about, but not being able to have regular bowel movements can be an uncomfortable and stress-inducing situation. If you are suffering with constipation, particularly if the problem is sudden, you should consult with your physician to rule out serious causes.
Most of the time, though, constipation is not anything very serious. In this case, chiropractic care can get things moving again without having to resort to laxatives and other medications. Sacral manipulation and abdominal massage can help the bowels move more smoothly and won't cause any of the side effects that laxatives are known for. Because chiropractors are usually concerned with holistic health, you will probably also receive nutritional counseling, as a poor diet can contribute to this uncomfortable condition.
Many women suffer with menstrual cramping every month. Common treatments are over-the-counter and prescription pain relievers. Some women go on birth control pills or take hormones in other forms to help make their periods less painful. Unfortunately, these hormonal medications can raise the risk of certain cancers. Also, if you are trying to get pregnant, you will have to go off of the birth control pills, which will cause the painful periods to return.
If you are suffering from menstrual cramps, either on a monthly basis or just occasionally, chiropractic care might help. By making sure all of the vertebrae are in the correct alignment, your chiropractor can restore good blood flow to the reproductive organs, which can, in turn, reduce cramping. In addition, massage can relieve stress and make you less likely to tense up during any menstrual cramping. Finally, chiropractic adjustment can treat the other discomforts associated with the menstrual cycle, including headaches, bloating and constipation.
New health problems or discomforts should be brought to the attention of your physician so that serious causes can be ruled out or treated. If you are suffering from pain that your doctor tells you is just part of getting older or just a part of life, however, your chiropractor might be able to help. He or she has been trained to stimulate different muscles by making sure the spine is in correct alignment. This, along with following a healthy diet, exercising regularly, reducing your overall stress and paying attention to your posture, can help you feel great through the various stages of life.