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Many people have frequent back, neck and muscle pain, but it’s difficult to know what causes it and when to see a doctor or specialist. Today we hear from Dr. Ken Johns, Director of Chiropractic and Acupuncture for U.S. HealthWorks, to learn more about chiropractic services and how they can help.
Q: What type of back pain/ailments can a chiropractor treat?
A: Chiropractors can treat most problems related to the musculoskeletal system (pain in joints, muscles ligaments and tendons). Most commonly, chiropractors treat back or neck pain, but can also assist with pain in the upper or lower extremities. Chiropractors focus on improving the way all these musculoskeletal structures work mechanically to help them function at a normal level.
Fortunately, if there is a problem that chiropractic care cannot treat, chiropractors can help diagnose the problem and refer a patient to the correct type of healthcare provider. Most chiropractic treatments involve hands-on care to the joints and muscles of the body, along with specific exercises and advice on self-care and general health maintenance.
Q: How do I know if I should see a chiropractor?
A: If you are experiencing pain in your neck, back or other joints, an evaluation by a chiropractor could be very helpful. Any time you are finding that you have limited function in part of your back, neck or other joints such as less motion, less strength or things just aren’t feeling “normal,” a chiropractor may be able to identify the cause and provide a plan to improve things.
Q: What should I expect on my first visit to a chiropractor?
A: On a first visit, a chiropractor will learn about your medical history and what your current concerns are. The chiropractor will also perform a physical exam to see how you move and how strong you are, and will examine and feel the area of concern to look for any misalignment, abnormal motion or other problems.
In some cases, a chiropractor may need to take an X-ray to make sure nothing is missed, which will help determine the best method to treat you. Depending on your individual situation, the chiropractor may be able to begin treatment on your first visit. Other times, he or she may need to compare findings from the physical exam with the X-ray results or other tests before working with you.
Q: How often should I see a chiropractor?
A: How often you see a chiropractor depends on your personal situation. After a chiropractic examination, your chiropractor will give an advised treatment plan that outlines what treatments he or she believes are necessary along with the frequency, intensity and duration. It is important to remember that each treatment or visit builds on the last one, so consistency with in-office treatments and home exercises or other self-care is very important.
Q: I’ve heard chiropractors can make your back worse. Is this true?
A: As with any physical treatment, sometimes you can be sore. As alignment or mechanics of the body are changed, there are times when things may feel a little worse before they are better. This is similar to what you may experience when starting any new exercise program. Even though this is common and can be very normal, it is important to communicate discomfort or soreness to your chiropractor so they can make any necessary adjustment to the treatment plan. Generally, chiropractic care is not painful at all, and many times patients will experience immediate improvement.
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