Doctors of chiropractic will provide care that may have a direct influence on problems or conditions (subluxations, injuries, postural problems, headaches, neck pain, lower back pain, etc). Chiropractors also offer care that is supportive of other problems or treatments (collaborative care with other health care professionals) or care based on optimizing wellness and function based on objective findings, although pain may not be present as a symptom.
The bottom line is that chiropractic is not just for people with back pain or back or neck problems. People experiencing neuromusculoskeletal disorders can greatly benefit. In addition to treating arthritis, back and neck pain, sciatica and whiplash, doctors of chiropractic commonly treat the following conditions:
One of every five people suffers headache pain every day. There are many causes of headaches, including life-threatening conditions such as brain tumors, weakened blood vessels in the brain, infections and high blood pressure. Fortunately, in spite of how severe the pain may be, most headache types are not as serious. Examples are tension, migraine, TMJ, allergic, cluster and cervicogenic headaches.
Chiropractic has been shown to be highly effective in the diagnosis and treatment of tension and cervicogenic headaches, the two most common types on this list, as they both result from disturbances of the bones, joints, muscles, nerves and blood vessels that relate to the neck, scalp, head and face.
Doctors of chiropractic are expertly trained to have a clear understanding of the various causes and types of headache and provide comprehensive, no-drug, holistic approaches to their clinical management that may include adjustment of the bones and joints of the neck, muscle relaxation techniques, stress management advice and lifestyle and nutritional choices.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that 25 lost workdays occur for every single case of carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful disorder of the hand, wrist and forearm that also commonly involves numbness and tingling as well as motor weakness.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is most commonly the result of:
- Overuse of the affected hand and wrist;
- Repetitious occupational or recreational activities, particularly those that require repetition;
- Awkward or sustained postures;
- Unusual force or gripping;
- Exposure to either vibration or temperature extremes; and
- Pregnancy, thyroid disorders, obesity and heredity factors must also be considered in the diagnosis.
Often misdiagnosed, it is very important for people suffering the above symptoms to have a comprehensive assessment for a variety of conditions that can mimic carpal tunnel syndrome, particularly prior to undergoing surgical intervention.
Fortunately, the great majority of carpal tunnel syndrome patients obtain accurate diagnosis as well as significant relief through conservative, non-surgical management of this disorder provided by doctors of chiropractic. Treatment may include manual care to the affected joints of the wrist, physical rehabilitation, nutritional counseling, information on ergonomics and related advice regarding workstation modification and lifestyle considerations.
Among the most commonly checked-off symptoms on doctors' intake questionnaires is fatigue. Fatigue is so common in our American society that patients often express that their doctor seems to essentially ignore this concern. In addition to not obtaining adequate rest and sleep, physical fatigue can result from serious metabolic disturbances such as:
- Thyroid disease;
- Hypoglycemia (low-blood sugar);
- Hormonal imbalances;
- Leukemia; and
- Other blood disorders requiring accurate diagnosis and careful clinical management.
If you suffer prolonged, otherwise unexplained fatigue, it is important to rule out the above potentially serious conditions. After these have been ruled out, it can be helpful to consider other possibilities such as structural imbalances in your body's framework that may be disrupting your neurological integrity and sapping you of energy. This can often be improved by carefully-planned chiropractic care.
It is imperative to include appropriate food choices and nutritional supplementation as needed to prevent fatigue and provide you with optimal energy. It is also important to consider psychological sources of fatigue. Job satisfaction, relationship issues, unresolved emotional conflicts, worry, fear, anger, jealousy, resentment and bitterness all have a way of eating away at our self-esteem and zest for living.
Chronic fatigue can also result from people trying to live three days at a time. Don't make the mistake of trying to re-live the mistakes and regrets of yesterday, all the challenges you may be facing today and the worries and apprehensions of what might happen tomorrow. Learn to live joyfully, gratefully, and passionately in the present moment. We don't have tomorrow!
In today's fast-paced, competitive society, many Americans are working or playing longer hours and therefore sleeping less. In fact, sleep deprivation, with its many negative consequences for optimal health, has become almost epidemic. The need for adequate sleep cannot be overstated, as it is during this time that the body repairs and heals itself.
Quality sleep is probably more important than quantity because during the deepest portion of the sleep cycle, the body's tissues and nervous system are replenished and restored at the cellular level. Insomnia is often a challenging health concern as many physical and emotional factors can play a role.
A doctor of chiropractic can often be of great assistance in helping you to overcome insomnia through spinal adjustment to restore balance within your nervous system. In addition, he or she may provide you with advice regarding:
- Your choice of bed, mattress and pillow;
- Avoidance of, or reduction of caffeine products;
- Supplementation with magnesium, calcium and vitamins C and D; and
- Use of safe herbal remedies such as valerian root.
In resistant cases, instead of resorting to the use of sleeping pills, your chiropractor may provide you with advice regarding the appropriate use of melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone available without prescription which has been shown to be of great value in overcoming many cases of insomnia. In addition, he or she may assist you in understanding how emotional stress and unresolved conflicts can negatively affect both the quality and quantity of your sleep and provide guidance as to how to resolve such issues.
Mood swings can have a physical origin from such conditions as hypoglycemia, thyroid disease or other hormonal imbalances such as pre-menstrual syndrome. In addition, alcohol abuse and certain prescription and illicit drugs can play havoc on your emotional state. More commonly, however, mood swings are the product of self-defeating attitudes and distorted belief system.
If your highs and lows have caused your relationships to suffer as a consequence, the next time you get a case of the uglies, it may be helpful to consider some practical advice that you might receive from a doctor of chiropractic.
The first and most important strategy is to carefully guard your thoughts. Your thoughts can have an immediate and direct effect on your emotional state. You can choose your thoughts and the effect they will have on your emotions and moods. The thoughts you choose to dwell upon will determine whether you are happy and charming to be with or miserable and disgusting to those around you.
Unfortunately, the impact of your negative moods most often affects those whom you care about the most, resulting in recurring cycles of self-condemnation, remorse and threatened or broken relationships. Here are some strategies to deal with mood swings:
- Let go of thoughts of anger, including so-called "justified" anger;
- Think only what you have, instead of what you lack;
- Express gratitude for all the blessings in your life;
- Apply generous amounts of forgiveness for all perceived wrongs and hurts; and
- When you are unhappy, perform a simple loving act, if you are still unhappy, perform a more meaningful loving act. Sustained loving acts will yield the gift of ever-expanding happiness.
Other conditions or problems doctors of chiropractic may treat include:
- Pediatric Conditions: Research and clinical experience support chiropractic care for common pediatric conditions such as colic, bed wetting, birth trauma, and common childhood injuries.
- Postural Problems: Chiropractic care can assist in correcting postural faults, including scoliosis.
- Injuries and Pain: Chiropractic care can help restore normal function after injuries, and help decrease pain when it results from abnormal function and compensation.
- Geriatric Problems: Chiropractic can be very effective with gentle and careful care for common sources of pain and dysfunction in older adults.
More recent research has also demonstrated that chiropractic is effective in treating other conditions such as asthma, digestive disorders, menstrual problems, and other health impairments resulting from the subluxation complex.
Source: Joseph Sweere, DC, faculty clinician, Northwestern Health Sciences University.