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More than cracking your back

Benefits of chiropractic care

Created date

September 21st, 2010

Judy is 79 years old and has pain and limited mobility because of osteoporosis. Instead of adding another pain medication to her regimen, her doctor suggested she try a chiropractor. [caption id="attachment_14500" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Chiropractic care helps increase flexibility and mobility. (File photos)"][/caption] There are many gentle chiropractic treatments that are perfectly safe for some people with osteoporosis, says Scott Bautch, D.C., chief executive officer for Allied Health Chiropractic Centers, a Wisconsin-based chiropractic corporation comprised of more than 50 individual clinics. Chiropractic care is not limited to spinal manipulation.

A long history

Although evidence of chiropractic care can be found in writings of ancient history, modern chiropractic care dates back to 1895, when a self-taught healer named Daniel David Palmer wanted to find a drug-free cure for disease and illness. Palmer believed that correcting the alignment of the vertebrae (small bony segments of the spine) would restore normal brain and nerve function and enhance the body s natural ability to recover from illness. Today, most chiropractors mix spinal adjustments with other therapies, such as hot or cold treatments; electrical stimulation; rehabilitative exercise; and counseling about diet, weight loss, and other lifestyle factors. The main reason people seek chiropractic care is pain, particularly in the back, knees, hips, and shoulders, Bautch says. Some people stop being active because of pain or other health conditions. Chiropractic care can help increase flexibility and mobility, which helps to reduce pain even further. People also come in for evaluations before having surgery, or to ask about alternatives to surgery, he adds. There have been many studies that support the benefits of spinal manipulation for back and neck pain and flexibility, says Thomas Morris, D.O. That s not to say that chiropractic care is right for everyone, Morris continues. Your doctor and other health care providers should be aware of any chiropractic care you are receiving.

A member of your health team

Chiropractors can help determine if the care they offer is right for your condition, Bautch says. You can do your part by informing your chiropractor of all medicines you are taking. Chiropractors take a medical history and may order lab tests, x-rays, MRIs, and other tests to help make a diagnosis. If it turns out that your pain is related to, for instance, a tumor or a fracture, then we would refer you to another specialist, Bautch says. Chiropractic care used to be a second choice for most people, but in the last ten years, more people are trying it as a first treatment option for their condition. People need to think well, move well, and eat well, Bautch says. A chiropractor will evaluate individuals whole health to see if there are other problems that could be helped by better self-care strategies.

What to ask a chiropractor

  • Will you coordinate my care with my other doctors?
  • What can I expect in my follow-up visits?
  • What side effects are associated with my treatments?
  • What is your education and training?
  • Do you have experience treating my particular health condition?

What is a D.O.?

D.O. stands for doctor of osteopathy. A doctor of osteopathy is a licensed physician who has trained at an osteopathic medical school, where along with traditional medical training, he or she learns about the effects of body mechanics on health and disease processes.