Chiropractic care is used to correct abnormalities in the alignment of the spine as a way to treat various health conditions. Spinal alignment, pain relief, and other muscular and skeletal disorders are some of the common health conditions treated using chiropractic care. However, the list of conditions that can be treated using this approach does not end there.
11 percent of Americans seek the services of a chiropractor each year spending more than $13 billion in the process. However, most are not aware that while chiropractic care focuses primarily on spinal manipulation and is a discipline over a century old can actually be used to treat discomfort in various other parts of the body.
Here are five surprising conditions that chiropractors can help treat besides spinal problems:
When treating people suffering from asthma, the goal is to stimulate the muscles of the rib cage to enhance nervous system activity, optimize the flow of lymph and blood, and ease breathing. All these help reduce symptoms like shortness of breath and tightness of the chest.
In treating asthma, chiropractic care is administered not only through manipulation of the spine, but also other modalities including trigger-point massage and stretching. Meditation, proper eating habits, and exercise are also discussed. Chiropractic care and acupuncture can be effectively used in combination to treat asthma.
A study conducted in 2010 published in the Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association that compiled data from 8 scientific articles showed improvement in 5,882 asthma patients that underwent chiropractic care based on pulmonary function tests.
Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized by tenderness and chronic pain in the muscles and joints. It is a diagnosis of exclusion, which means that other conditions have to be ruled out first since no laboratory tests can be used to help identify it.
Chiropractic care is used to relieve symptoms by focusing on the tender points and relaxing those areas along with the entire frame of the patient. Ice, heat, or electrostimulation can also be applied to promote contraction of the muscles and improve blood flow.
A diet to help reduce the systemic inflammation that fibromyalgia patients usually suffer from is also recommended. Such a diet primarily emphasize fresh fruits and vegetables and fish, but discourages the use of dairy products, fried food, and fatty meat.
A study conducted in 2009 focusing on fibromyalgia patients published in the Journey of Alternative and Complementary Medicine tested the effects of resistance training, which included leg extensions and chest presses combined with chiropractic care.
The study found that the positive impact of resistance training on patient strength was enhanced by chiropractic care that enhanced coordination, balance, and flexibility. Besides the healing effect of the chiropractic care, chiropractors love to listen to their patients, which comforts them.
3. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition that causes numbness and pain in the hand (typically the middle fingers and thumb) and usually occurs in those that observe poor posture when performing repetitive tasks like typing at a keyboard or working with small hand tools.
Chiropractic care can help with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome through manipulation and stretching of the wrist, guiding physical therapy, and even counseling patients on the proper positioning of their hands while using hand tools or computers. Wrist splints usually worn at night can also help.
2 studies support the use of chiropractic care for treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome including 1 reporting significant improvement in pain, range of motion, and strength after a few chiropractic session. Most of the improvements were maintained for not less than 6 months.
4. Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder refers to various conditions characterized by intermittent pain in the joints of the jaw and surrounding tissues, which makes it hard to yawn or chew. While many patients have a genuine mechanical jaw malfunction, most that think that they suffer from the condition usually have too much tension in the jaw. They grind their teeth at night and/or hold jaws too tightly.
Chiropractic care typically involves stretching the jaw and surrounding muscles manually and can be very helpful for jaw pain. Spinal adjustments to the jaw and upper neck help to realign the joints properly while lifestyle changes and exercise help prevent relapse. Mouth guards can be quite helpful for those that grind teeth at night.
A research study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics in 2003 tracked 9 TMD patients that suffered pain while opening their mouths. After 8 weeks of chiropractic care, all the patients were able to open their mouths much more widely and actually experienced less pain.
Over 40 million Americans suffer from chronic headaches (occurring not less than 15 days a month) try one drug after the other in an attempt to find relief. While headache pain usually manipulates in the head, a considerable number of headaches are related to cervical spine (neck) alignment.
Research reveals that chiropractic care can be particularly useful for tension headaches, which are most prevalent in adults in the Western world.
Chiropractic care can also help with migraines. A study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics in 2009 suggested that spinal manipulation combined with the antidepressant, amitriptyline (Elavil) for migraine pain produced better results than either used in isolation.
The hand movements used in chiropractic care stretch the neck, which usually includes manual traction to increase the space between vertebrae and/or neck side-to-side stretches, can help relax the tension of the muscles at the root of tension headaches in ways that are not always achievable using drugs.
The Bottom Line
Chiropractic care is a safe option for correcting spinal abnormalities and misalignment. However, it can also be used to treat various conditions besides spinal manipulation as evidenced by the five conditions discussed here.
Chiropractors can still treat many more conditions besides spinal problems and the five discussed here. So, don’t hesitate to reach out to us in our locations Kissimmee to find out whether chiropractic care can be used to treat your disorder or not.