Do Chiropractors Really Help with Pain?

Chiropractic adjustments may be right for you if you're experiencing pain and want an alternative form of treatment. Learn more about how they can help.

Do Chiropractors Really Help with Pain?

Research has shown that spinal manipulation can be an effective way to reduce pain and improve function in people with acute lower back pain, one of the most common types of back pain. The most positive studies on chiropractic therapy have focused on spinal manipulation for lower back pain. As an alternative to pain relievers, the American College of Physicians' low back pain guide recommends spinal manipulation along with heat, massage, and acupuncture. If you're experiencing pain and want to try a different form of treatment, chiropractic adjustments may be right for you.

Most people will feel immediate relief after a chiropractic adjustment, while others may experience temporary mild discomfort afterwards. If you're unsure if chiropractic care is the right choice for you, talk to your primary care provider about your symptoms and concerns. After your appointment, your chiropractor may suggest some “homework” to extend the effects of the adjustment. During a chiropractic adjustment, your chiropractor will provide a personalized treatment plan tailored to your needs.

In addition, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia may respond positively to the moderate pressure used by both chiropractors and deep tissue massage professionals. At your initial visit, your chiropractor will ask you questions about your health history and perform a physical exam, paying special attention to your spine. After learning more about your symptoms and what could be causing your discomfort, your chiropractor will create a unique treatment plan based on the results of the tests. If chiropractic care isn't suitable for your condition, your chiropractor will refer you to another healthcare provider for help.

You'll lie face down on a chiropractic table that allows certain parts of the body (divided into segments) to rise slightly higher than the rest, helping the chiropractor apply pressure to a specific area. After a chiropractic adjustment, you may feel mild or very mild pain in the areas of your body where the chiropractor worked. This feeling usually goes away within 24 hours and rarely affects people who visit a chiropractor regularly. Your chiropractor will encourage you to learn new ways to position your body at your desk, when you're standing and moving, and when you're in bed.

The chiropractor uses their hands to apply a sudden, controlled force to a joint, pushing it beyond its usual range of motion. Chiropractors make sure not only that the joints are moving properly but also that the surrounding muscles are working correctly. The chiropractor will use their hands or small instruments to apply a quick, controlled force (amount of pressure) to a joint or gently stretch the joints beyond their normal range of motion. During a typical chiropractic adjustment, the chiropractor places you in specific positions to treat affected areas.

Nowadays, chiropractors often collaborate with primary care doctors, pain specialists, and surgeons to treat patients with pain. The chiropractor will apply a controlled amount of force (pressure) to the joints, causing a crackling or clicking sound when gas leaves the joints.