As complementary and alternative medicine use has risen in the U.S., so too has the popularity of chiropractors. More and more people rely on chiropractors to fix a wide variety of ailments, from back and neck stiffness to blood pressure.
If you’re not familiar with chiropractors, these claims may sound too good to be true. What is chiropractic care really, anyway?
Here’s a quick primer: Chiropractic care usually includes spinal manipulation and other manual therapies, such as stretching or joint manipulations. It’s traditionally done by hand, and people often use it for musculoskeletal issues. True chiropractic care is only performed by a licensed professional. Licensing laws differ by state, but chiropractors must pass the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners exam to obtain a state license. Is it effective? Let’s discuss.
When most people think about chiropractic care the first thing that comes to mind is usually pain relief. Aches and pains in our backs and necks happen for many reasons — age and overexercising being just two examples. The COVID pandemic hasn’t helped. Many of us who have spent the year hunched over our kitchen tables working from home have noticed our postures worsen.
A 2019 study confirmed that one of the benefits of chiropractic care is the potential neck pain relief. Plus, research published in 2017 showed chiropractic care could help soothe back pain in the short term. What’s more, seeing a chiropractor may help keep these aches and pains from returning.
When you have a headache, the first thing many of us do is reach for a pain reliever. That’s understandable, but sometimes, headaches start in our necks. If you suspect this is the case, you may benefit from chiropractic care. A 2016 study indicated that six to eight specialized chiropractic care sessions helped to reduce headaches better than physical activity or mobility work.
If you’ve been following the opioid crisis in the U.S., you may have heard a similar story time and time again. Someone was prescribed an opioid for pain relief. It led to addiction, and the person may have started using heroin or fentanyl, as they were cheaper options. Chiropractic care may provide a safer and more effective alternative for patients and their doctors. A large 2020 study found that patients who received chiropractic care and saw their doctor for spinal pain were less likely to have their opioid prescription filled.
Sometimes, your aches are more than just general stiffness. Back pain may be caused by sciatica. This often painful condition affects the large nerve that extends from your low back to the back of your legs. Some people need surgery to fix it. However, seeing a chiropractor may be a good intermediary step if you are experiencing sciatica. Experts suggest that hands-on treatment from a chiropractor can help relieve this pain and related sciatica symptoms, including foot numbness.
Millions of adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure. Though common, high blood pressure is dangerous as it can increase your risk of stroke or heart failure. One of the many benefits of chiropractic care is that it may help reduce blood pressure. A small study of 50 individuals in the Chicago area showed that a one-time, specialized chiropractic adjustment decreased blood pressure as effectively as taking two blood pressure drugs simultaneously. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take medication as prescribed, but it’s worth speaking to your doctor about taking a holistic approach to your care that may include seeing a chiropractor.
Chiropractic care is arguably best known for its ability to soothe aches and pains in areas like the back and neck. It can also help keep these joint and muscle pains at bay in the future by improving posture. However, research shows many benefits to chiropractic care, including a reduction in headaches, blood pressure, and even the need for opioid pain relievers. Chiropractic care is a form of complementary and alternative medicine and may be best used as a piece of your healthcare puzzle and not the only treatment modality. For example, those struggling with addiction may also need therapy, and people with high blood pressure may benefit from medication. Speak with your healthcare provider about the best plan for you.
BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.
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