One of the most common reasons many people see a chiropractor is because they’re in a car accident and experiencing neck or back pain as a result. Beyond accident injuries relating to whiplash and similar conditions, there are many other reasons to see a chiropractor, however.
The following are things to know about what chiropractors do and when you should see one, versus when you might skip it.
What is a Chiropractor?
Chiropractic is considered a health care profession. A chiropractor will perform adjustments called manipulations. These adjustments are to the spin or other parts of the body, with the goal of fixing alignment problems. Other goals include helping with pain and allowing the body to heal itself more effectively.
Chiropractors may rely on other treatment methods in addition to adjustments.
For example, they might use heat and ice, relaxation techniques, electrical stimulation, and they can show you rehabilitative exercises you can do.
Some chiropractors help patients with weight-loss strategies and other lifestyle factors.
Chiropractors will do an interview with a new patient and get their full health history. They’ll then perform an exam, likely run some tests, and come up with a diagnosis.
The problems chiropractors tend to deal with are related to the musculoskeletal system.
During a manual manipulation, a chiropractor might apply sustained pressure, and the purpose is to improve function and joint motion.
When Should You See a Chiropractor?
The following are some signs that you should consider seeing a chiropractor:
- You’re having migraines or chronic headaches. Headaches can come from various issues, but for many people, their headaches come from tension in the neck. Primary headaches are often the result of not just tension but also joint irritation, particularly when you have a largely sedentary lifestyle. Chiropractors can help you with that tension that’s built up and also help you regain balance in your spine.
- If you work at a desk all day or have poor ergonomic habits, you might consider seeing a chiropractor. When you’re sitting, it puts a lot of stress on different parts of your body. If you’re doing repetitive tasks, it can cause you to have uneven use of your muscles and poor posture, both of which can potentially be addressed by a chiropractor.
- If you have persistent neck pain, you might talk to a chiropractor. Again, this is a common complaint following a car accident. Certain lifestyle habits can also contribute to neck pain. As an example, not sleeping on the right pillow can lead to problems with your neck.
- Sometimes you should see a chiropractor if you have lower back pain, but not all the time. If your lower back pain doesn’t get better and actually seems to worsen, maybe consult with a chiropractor.
- If you have ongoing muscle or joint pain, you could speak to a chiropractor. This could be due to strenuous exercise or physical activity. It can also be an early indicator of something like rheumatoid arthritis.
- Your shoe soles wear out differently. This sounds strange, but if one sole wears out faster than the other, it can be a sign you’re out of alignment and could benefit from an adjustment.
- Do you feel like you have a more limited range of motion than you once did? For example, if your neck doesn’t seem like it will turn as far as it used to or your arms and legs have lost flexibility, a chiropractor might be able to help.
- You were in an accident recently. We’ve touched on this several times, but after a car or motorcycle crash, it’s very common to talk to a chiropractor. Many will specialize in car accident injuries so they can help diagnose your condition and treat it.
- You have shooting pain in your legs, tingling, or weakness.
- You’re very active, and you feel like it’s putting a lot of stress and wear on tear on your body.
When Should You Not See a Chiropractor?
There are certain scenarios where seeing a chiropractor might not be the right option.
For example, if you have a slipped or herniated disc or you have arthritis, speak to your doctor before you see a chiropractor. If you have osteoporosis, you should also talk to your doctor or a specialist before getting care from a chiropractor.
If you aren’t sure whether or not to see a chiropractor, the good news is that they can help you figure out if their care and treatment are right for you.