Chiropractors are medical professionals who diagnose and treat problems affecting the musculoskeletal system. Chiropractic medicine is based on the principle that misalignments in the spine (referred to as vertebral subluxations) can cause numerous health problems which can resolve when the vertebrae are re-aligned. Subluxations can aggravate pain, disease, and allergies as well.
Chiropractors focus on non-surgical treatments that include manipulation of the spine as well as lifestyle modifications (e.g. stress management, healthy eating, physical activity and rest). Some doctors of chiropractic medicine also work with alternative therapies such as acupuncture; ultrasound; heat, light or water therapy; alternative medicine; and/or massage therapy.
Why See a Chiropractor?
Chiropractic treatment is often more effective at treating musculoskeletal pain than other types of treatment. Improved posture; increased energy levels; improved mobility; decreased joint inflammation; stronger core muscles; and a reduced need for bed rest are all additional benefits associated with chiropractic treatment. Chiropractic treatment may also prevent a patient from needing prescription drugs for pain or surgical treatment, both of which involve a certain amount of risk.
Common Causes of Back Pain
Chronic back pain may be caused by an accident, lifting heavy objects, disease, poor posture, pregnancy, compression of the vertebra, a bulging disc (when the disc slips out of place between the vertebrae), sciatica (inflamed sciatic nerve), scoliosis (curvature of the spine), or a herniated or ruptured disc (the disc either partially or completely breaks open).
Spinal Decompression Treatment
Chiropractors are now employing a pain treatment alternative called spinal decompression to elongate the backbone without causing the nearby muscles to spasm and contract. Decompression enlarges the amount of distance between discs, releases accumulated pressure, and allows the disc to move back into its proper position, consequently relieving pain.
What is Vertebral Axial Decompression (VAX-D)?
Some chiropractors perform spinal decompression using the VAX-D (vertebral axial decompression) Therapeutic Table, which utilizes periodic traction. The patient lies face downward on the table while grasping handles located above the head. A mechanism intermittently separates and brings back together the two pieces of the table, creating traction and gradual elongation of the spine. Patients can release the grip handles if the traction becomes too intense. Twenty 30 to 45 minute decompression sessions are usually required to achieve results. The VAX-D system is often an effective treatment for bulging discs.