Your body is aching like never before. It could be the joints, the back, the hip, or the neck. After talking to family members and colleagues about it, they recommend you see a pain specialist. While considering their suggestions, the term Doctor of Chiropractic comes into the picture and you are momentarily astounded. You ask: Who is a Doctor of Chiropractic? Are they real doctors?
A Doctor of Chiropractic or a chiropractor is a trained professional who specializes in alleviating body pains and discomfort through spinal adjustments, physical body manipulation, and lifestyle modification advice. They are not medical doctors simply because they don’t possess medical degrees. However, like medical doctors, they go through extensive college training and graduate with a degree in chiropractic.
Chiropractors are also licensed before they can practice. In the United States, these experts obtain their undergraduate degrees from institutions accredited by the Council of Chiropractic Education (CCE) and their practicing license from the American Chiropractic Association. Now that you know who a Doctor of Chiropractic is, the next question to answer is: What do they do? Generally, Doctors of Chiropractic do the following:
1. Consultant Services
Like your traditional medical doctor, a Doctor of Chiropractic offers consultation services. It’s the first step before a diagnosis is arrived at and a treatment plan is decided on. Here, the expert looks at the following factors:
- Body parts that are paining
- Frequency of the symptoms
- Duration of the symptoms
- Things that aggravate or alleviate the symptoms
So, expect a question-and-answer session during your chiropractic consultation. It’s all meant to establish your underlying problem and treat it.
2. Physical Examinations
Geared towards helping with the diagnosis, physical exams are a crucial part of chiropractic care. During physical checkups, a Doctor of Chiropractic may:
- Determine areas on your spine that needs to be adjusted
- Study your x-ray images to locate troubled areas on the spine
- Observe how you behave when the paining part is touched or when you sit or walk
- Perform neurological physical tests to assess your coordination and reflexes
3. Diagnosis Services
A Doctor of Chiropractic evaluates your problem depending on its severity. Normally, there are three categories of diagnosis offered by these experts:
- Non-specific diagnosis – This happens when the exact route cause can’t be established but the problem is linked to the spine.
- Nerve-related diagnosis – If the nerve is affected and it’s the reason why your body is aching, the diagnosis will be nerve-related.
- Potentially-serious diagnosis – Here, a Doctor of Chiropractic foresees an issue that’s likely to be so serious in the future unless it’s managed early.
4. Treats Spinal Interference
The core goal of any Doctor of Chiropractic is to treat interferences on the spine called subluxations. They happen when the spine is compressed or misaligned and they are the main reason why you experience debilitating pain and discomfort on your body.
Chiropractors are trained to adjust the spine to get rid of the interferences. The experts know how to do it gently and safely without causing any structural damage to your spine or back. When the spinal interferences are gone, nerve coordination is restored and the immunity improved. Your spinal health is boosted to a greater degree.
5. Manages Pain
Ordinarily, Doctors of Chiropractic are identified as pain specialists. This is because they specialize in calming the nerves and alleviating pain. In general, they can help you manage the following types of body pains:
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Arthritic pain
- Frozen shoulder
- Labor pains
- Colic pain
By adjusting the spine and decompressing the affected nerve, a chiropractor restores calmness and manages pain. The adjustments are target-specific, thus effective in restoring natural body calmness.
6. Prevents Musculoskeletal Issues
Doctors of Chiropractic do not just alleviate pain and other symptoms related to musculoskeletal issues. They also offer spinal adjustments to prevent the symptoms from manifesting and the condition from becoming complicated.
The expert can also offer preventive tips that you can use at home to avoid posture complications and pains. They include:
- How to position your body when sitting or sleeping
- How to lift heavy things without straining your back
7. Massage and Alternative Therapies
Doctors of Chiropractic don’t just offer spinal adjustments. They also offer soft tissue massages and alternative therapies like heat and ice therapy and ultrasounds. Soft tissue massage is meant to lessen swelling and boost circulation to the affected part.
Heat ice therapy, on the other hand, is specifically meant to manage pain, swelling, and numbness. It’s designed to help you heal faster and more comfortably. As for ultrasounds, sound waves are administered to facilitate improved circulation and to lessen joint stiffness and pain.
8. Dietary Counseling
Doctors of Chiropractic may not be licensed dietitians or nutritionists, but they have the background training, more so when it touches on spinal health. So, you can talk to these experts about the dos and don’ts about foods. They’ll suggest the best foods to try out, those to limit, and options to avoid entirely. They will also recommend supplements you can use to better your spinal health.
9 Home Exercise Advice
Yes, a Doctor of Chiropractic is not a fitness expert and neither is he or she a physiotherapist. However, they have the background training to help you improve your spinal health. They can suggest simple, precise, and effective physical routines that you can do at home on your own to keep the spine well-aligned. These exercises can help prevent subluxations and poor body postures. They can also help to strengthen your back, hip, and other parts. Lots of time, they recommend stretching exercises.
10 Ergonomics Assistance
Since chiropractors are all about better spinal health, they understand what you need to do not to overstretch or overwork your spine and back. They can offer you ergonomic assistance about the following:
- Job modifications that are good for your spinal health such as investing in better seats and observing safer sitting positions. They also advise on better office stretching exercises.
- Home modifications like better sleeping positions and how to pick a better mattress.
Generally, Doctors of Chiropractic are trained to offer you holistic treatment. They are not just there to treat pains and other musculoskeletal-related issues but to also offer advice on lifestyle modifications. If you are interested in starting your chiropractic journey, contact Dr. Hinz at Cool Springs Chiropractic today!