Have you ever been to the chiropractor? If you have ever been in a car accident, suffered from spine problems, or struggled with back and/or neck pain, then you probably have. Chiropractic is a division of healthcare that generally focuses on disorders that affect your nervous and musculoskeletal system. Chiropractic care addresses alignment, mobility, and compression issues. Chiropractors often deal with complaints involving back pain, headaches, neck pain, and joint pain1. If you suffer from any of the above, you should definitely visit the chiropractor.
Before you go, here are 6 things that your chiropractor will want you to know.
Your body is designed to move
Your body is a dynamic structure and is designed to act as such. Your body needs to move often in order to function properly. Thus, the new phrase “sitting is the new smoking” comes into play. Whether sitting in front of a TV or sitting behind a desk all day, extended amounts of sedentary activity can be harmful and unhealthy. In fact, those who spend more than four hours a day in front of a screen had
- Almost 50% increased risk of death from any cause and
- Around 125% increased risk of cardiovascular disease symptoms such as heart attack or chest pain
as compared to those who had less than two hours of screen time2. Unfortunately, to combat the amount of time sitting, more changes need are necessary than simply exercising a couple times a week.
Here are some ways you can combat the amount of time you spend sitting each day:
- Stand while eating lunch
- Stand or walk while talking on the phone
- Take a few laps around your office every now and then
- If appropriate, stand during meetings
- If reading a book, do so while on a treadmill
- If you have the option, opt for a standing desk
Gravity, injury, and age accelerate the body’s aging process
The aging process causes natural wear-and-tear. This breakdown is typically caused by three things: simple gravity, prior injury, and getting older.
Often this process results in conditions that cause pain and discomfort, like arthritis. Especially as you get older, you will feel it in your joints. Though gravity and increasing in age are out of your control, you can ease the aging process by taking care of your body. If you’ve suffered an injury, talk to your chiropractor about the necessary recovery steps. In addition, you can
- Cut back on smoking
- Make sure you get a good night’s sleep
- Maintain a healthy weight through what you eat and moderate exercise
- Consider taking supplements
Your chiropractor can help you find the best plan to ease the aging process and any accompanying conditions.
Manipulation/Mobilization is effective at restoring alignment and normal motion
The American Physical Therapy Association defines mobilization/manipulation as “a manual therapy technique comprised of a continuum of skilled passive movements that are applied at varying speeds and amplitudes, including a small amplitude/high-velocity therapeutic movement”3.What does that mean? This therapy helps when your range of motion is limited. Its purpose is to relieve pain and increase joint mobility and muscle flexibility. Here is what actually happens:
Manipulation: also known as a chiropractic adjustment, manipulation is a common method for chiropractors to treat back pain and neck pain and involves the chiropractor applying thrusts or distraction maneuvers of varying speed and forces the spinal and/or extremity joints that are causing dysfunction and related pain. This procedure is often accompanied by a pop or click4.
Mobilization: this therapy involves a series of gentle stretches. Your chiropractor performs these movements at various locations near the affected or painful area. This technique has multiple purposes but is especially effective on arthritis joints. This therapy is usually preferred for the elderly because their bones are typically more brittle4.
Whether your issue is with your spine or your extremities, these techniques can help restore your alignment and improve your range of motion, which will help ease pain and discomfort.
Muscle flexibility is a necessity
Adequate muscle flexibility is necessary to ensure that your joints move freely through their normal ranges of motion. Flexible muscles and joints help reduce your risk of injury. The more flexible your muscles are, the easier your joints move and the less likely you are to get hurt. Not only does it help reduce injury, it can help improve posture, soreness, and stiffness.
Muscle flexibility also helps get nutrients to your joints, which improves lubrication and movement. Stretching is a great way of improving muscle flexibility. Stretching can help
- Decrease risk of injury
- Provide full range of motion to your joints
- Improve physical activities, and
- Improve the effectiveness of your muscles5.
Always talk to your chiropractor about the best stretches and methods to help you improve flexibility.
Nutrition plays a significant role in preventing injury, enhancing recovery, and managing pain
Most people know that physical activity is an important part of a healthy life. Most people also know that nutrition is equally as important. However, the importance of nutrition goes beyond maintaining a healthy weight and healthy eating habits. In fact, nutrition can make a drastic difference when it comes to injuries—before and after.
If you have an injury that requires surgery, your body will need certain nutrients before and after the procedure in order to recover properly. These include elements like
- Amino acids
- Vitamin D
- Calcium, and
- Vitamin C.
Without adequate supplies of these nutrients, your body will not be equipped to recover quickly or completely. In fact, up to 62% of people preparing for surgery are malnourished6.
If you suffer from a condition such as osteoarthritis, proper nutrition can improve the pain and discomfort that accompanies this disease. Antioxidants and anti-inflammatories are key nutritional factors in reducing the damage and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis. Other essential nutrients include
- Vitamin C
- Magnesium, and
Whether preventing injury, recovering from injury, or suffering from a long-lasting condition, do not underestimate the power of quality nutrition.
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1- What is Chiropractic? American Chiropractic Association. https://www.acatoday.org/Patients/Why-Choose-Chiropractic/What-is-Chiropractic. Accessed May 16, 2017.
2- Sitting risks: How harmful is too much sitting? Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/sitting/faq-20058005. Published September 4, 2015. Accessed May 16, 2017.
3- Recovery Physical Therapy. http://www.recoverypt.com/joint-mobilization. Accessed May 16, 2017.
4- Difference Between Manipulation, Mobilisation And Massage. Physiotherapy & Functional Wellness. https://www.coreconcepts.com.sg/treatment/difference-between-manipulation-mobilisation-and-massage/. Accessed May 16, 2017.
5- Stretching: Focus on flexibility. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/stretching/art-20047931. Published February 21, 2017. Accessed May 16, 2017.
6- Mcwhirter JP, Pennington CR. Incidence and recognition of malnutrition in hospital. Bmj. 1994;308(6934):945-948. doi:10.1136/bmj.308.6934.945.