Spinal treatment. The cornerstone of chiropractic health treatment is spinal manipulation, often called the "adjustment". It may involve either gentle pressure, or a quick thrust to restore normal motion to joints that have become restricted or "locked". While manipulation may be performed by other physicians, Doctors of Chiropractic have the most extensive experience and education in manipulation, performing 94% of the spinal manipulations in the United States. Numerous scientific studies have proven the efficacy, safety, cost-effectiveness and high levels of patient satisfaction of spinal manipulation. As a result, it is one of only two treatment protocols given the highest recommendation for the treatment of low back pain by the Agency for Health Care and Policy Research (AHCPR), an arm of the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Each condition requires different types of treatments. Patients have different needs, depending on what stage of pain and discomfort they are in. See the tabs below for information on some different types of treatments.
Often referred to as "muscle stim", the therapy involves low levels of electrical impulses delivered to the injured, painful tissues to reduce pain and speed up healing. Often described by patients as a pleasant, "tingling" sensation, or "electrical massage,"" these impulses stimulate the body to release natural pain relievers, called endorphins. These endorphins reduce pain and inflammation, thereby promoting faster healing of the injured tissues. This therapy is often used to treat acute or chronic pain, as well as strains or sprains of the muscles, joints, and soft tissues of the spine and extremities.
This treatment should not be confused with diagnostic ultrasound, often used in prenatal screening, It is instead a therapeutic procedure that utilizes sound waves to treat injured muscles, joints, and soft tissues. The sound waves vibrate the tissues back and forth, creating a deep, micro-massage effect. In the case of a recent injury, this helps to decrease scar tissue and adhesion formation, which would otherwise interfere with the body's healing process. The sound waves also decrease inflammation by destroying unwanted inflammatory cells and accelerate healing by stimulating the activity of the cells responsible for cellular and tissue repair. In chronic cases, special settings are used to create a deep-heating effect, heating the tissues far below the skin’s surface. This heat, along with the vibrations that are caused by the ultrasound, help to "melt away" the muscle spasms and "knots" felt in our muscles.
Whether applied manually or mechanically, the benefits of traction are similar. It is an excellent therapy choice to reduce pressure on cervical (neck) or lumbar (lower back) discs. Traction effectively reduces joint and nerve pain, pressure, and inflammation, caused by bulging or herniated discs. This procedure is quite comfortable, and lasts several minutes.
Ice therapy or cryotherapy is often thought of as the therapy of choice for acute injuries. Actually, the application of ice over any painful tissue is usually effective at any stage of an injury. It works by constricting blood flow to the tissue, thereby reducing swelling, pain, and muscular spasms. It is very important to use ice correctly. It should be used for a maximum of 20 minutes, but may be applied each hour. Also, it is important that you do not apply the ice directly to the skin. Instead, wrap the ice pack in a paper towel or thin damp cloth prior to applying to the injured area. Ice bath is an excellent way to treat ankles and wrist/ hand injuries. Treatment should be used for 5-8 min and repeated 2 times a day.
The use of heat is effective in treating conditions that are more chronic in nature. It is not recommended that heat be used within the first few days or weeks of an injury, especially when any signs of swelling are present. The best forms of heat are in the form of a warm bath, shower, or a moist heating pad. Avoid "dry" heating pads, as they can promote additional swelling and inflammation. As with ice therapy, apply the heat for a maximum of 20 minutes per hour. Never go to sleep with a heating pad on, as this can result in increased pain and tissue damage. We use and recommend the Thermophore Moist Heat.