A lot of people are looking for natural and non-invasive treatments for their medical problems these days. In other words, people are paying more attention to “preventative” health maintenance, rather than always waiting until a problem requires surgery or pharmaceuticals. The best illness, as the saying goes, is the one that never happens. That’s a big part of why people are beginning to explore new options for treating and managing various medical conditions.
Chiropractic treatment and massage therapy are two important options that more people are considering. Massage is more popular than ever. People used to see it largely as a way to relax and de-stress, but that’s changing as the medical benefits of massage become better documented. The same is true for chiropractic treatment, but many people are slightly more apprehensive about giving it a try. The spine is of a very sensitive area, and many people have questions about whether the treatment is safe and effective.
Institutions as respected as the Mayo Clinic have information on their web sites about the medical benefits of chiropractic treatment, and the body of evidence in favor of chiropractics continues to grow each year. But most prospective patients who could benefit from chiropractic just want insight into a few important things. For example, how specifically do the treatments reduce chronic pain?
It should be clarified up front that chiropractic care is not a “catch-all” treatment for any type of chronic pain. The effectiveness of the treatment will depend heavily and the nature and source of the pain. What can be said is that chronic pain, even in the extremities, is very often linked to imbalances and misalignments in the spine. When these imbalances are corrected through expert spinal adjustments, the pain is often reduced or even completely eliminated.
Sciatica is a good example. This painful condition is typically characterized by shooting pain or tingling that reaches down one or both legs. People sometimes mistake this pain as being localized in the legs, and may even try massage therapy as a way to relieve it. The source, however, is a pinched or compressed sciatic nerve, which originates in the lower back and travels down both legs. This “pinching” or compression often takes place over time through poor posture. It can also happen as a result of sudden trauma.
Either way, relief is found by making adjustments to the lower part of the spine where the sciatic nerve originates. By restoring proper alignment and balance to this area of the spine, the pressure on the sciatic nerve is relieved, and the pain and tingling are diminished or eliminated.
Understanding that the spine is a key to the central nervous system is important. Doctors of chiropractic spend as many years training in their practice as most medical doctors spend in theirs. That means your chiropractor (provided he or she has attained the proper qualification) has extensive knowledge of anatomy and biology, and is able to make effective manipulations to the spine that are both safe and comfortable. By treating the underlying cause of chronic pain rather than masking symptoms, chiropractic treatment offers a drug-free and non-surgical way to get to the bottom of many cases of chronic pain.