Sometimes people who have never been to a chiropractor think of these health care specialists as “quacks” who just crack your back and neck like a scene from The Exorcist, somehow magically forcing to keep coming back for appointments every week for the money they make and so your back and body don’t feel out of whack. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Keep reading to find out why you need a chiropractor, and how it may help you maintain optimal health!
What You Can Expect
Chiropractic can be practiced at any age, but it is especially useful if you are athletic, or if you’re in your 30s or older. When you first step foot into a chiropractor’s office, you’re likely to see modern architecture like white vases or couches, and cute succulents lining the room. There may be calming music playing, and the aroma of essential oils in the air. This scene is certainly staged for a massage-like experience. But while a chiropractor’s office may resemble that of a masseuse, it’s home to a very different, yet complementary, practice.
Many athletes, including celebrity football players and boxers swear by going to a chiropractor regularly. They attribute their flexibility and strength to being limber enough to play hard thanks to a healthy spine and nervous system. And they’re right!
Chiropractic care is an alternative medical practice based on the foundation that aligning the spine properly from the neck all the way down the back actually aids healthy blood circulation, taking pressure off nerve endings, so your body can function optimally, and you’re not feeling any unnecessary fatigue, pain, discomfort, or lack of blood and oxygen to important bodily systems.
One way of thinking about it is by considering that the human head weighs almost as much as a 10 lb bowling ball, which puts a lot of pressure on your neck and spine, especially if you don’t stretch or move all day (like when you’re sitting and typing at a computer for more than a few hours). After all, some people believe that “sitting is the new smoking.” In part, they’re right! (It can lead to a bad back and many other health problems.) So how can chiropractic care help?
The First Few Visits
When you first see a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC), he or she will usually offer a free introductory consultation, interviewing you about your pain and discomfort, ask about your typical daily activities (which could be causing the pain), feel your spine and back for anything that stands out right away, and possibly even take some X-rays to examine the curvature of your spine.
After X-rays, many people will see compression somewhere – spots on the spine where vertebrae or discs have either compressed together, causing pinched nerves or other discomfort, or oftentimes they will find slipped discs in the spine that are out of place and causing strain. These are things a chiropractor can easily help with over time.
Getting a chiropractic adjustment (usually scheduled 2-3 times for the first few weeks of care and then only once a week, or twice a month thereafter), consists of the DC putting pressure on the back in various spots to “pop” it back into place. He or she may also twist your neck on each side, which may cause a cracking sound. It feels weird at first, but if you take a deep breath and relax, trusting the chiropractor to do the job correctly without any resistance, you’ll feel almost instant relief afterwards. (If you’re scared, just close your eyes, breathe and exhale as it’s happening, and you’ll be fine.)
The first few weeks after your initial visit will be rough though. Your muscles in your neck and back may fight back, swelling and becoming inflamed, until your body gets used to the “proper” alignment of your spine (and proper posture). If you feel muscle tension or pain, just use an ice pack to numb the pain. Cooling gels like Tiger Balm or Biofreeze will also help temporarily relieve the pain. During the first few weeks of chiropractic care, be sure to avoid any strenuous activities or housework, and do any gentle, basic stretches your DC recommends.
Potential Benefits of Chiropractic Care
Over time, you should feel the benefits of chiropractic. Here are a few potential benefits:
· Promote Healthy Musculoskeletal and Nervous Systems
· Temporarily Relieve Pain or Discomfort in the Jaw, Neck, Back, and Legs
· Reduce Headaches or Migraines
· Improve Posture
· Improve Blood Flow
· Provide Support for Osteoporosis
· Support Immune System
· Reduce Fatigue
· Promote a Healthy Spine
· Decompress Soft Discs Between Vertebrae
· Aid with Slipped Discs or Sciatica
Many insurance carriers partially cover chiropractic care. If yours doesn’t, contact a local chiropractor’s office and ask for a new patient discount. Each visit will cost between $40 to $60 or so for a basic adjustment. If you need additional therapy, such as decompression therapy (which uses a special machine to gentle stretch your vertebrae apart, relieving pressure on your nerves), that will cost more. You can expect to need at least 10-15 or more visits in total, so you may need to save a few thousand dollars to get this kind of care.
Keep in mind that not everyone needs a chiropractor, as there are some pros and cons involved. It is best to first consult with your primary health care provider before seeking chiropractic care. Usually a chiropractic regimen becomes an important part of an adult’s regular health care routine, especially when it comes to preventative medicine. It can safely be used along with other alternative and complementary practices, such as massage and aromatherapy.
Once you’ve gone to the chiropractor for about three months, you’ll not only notice better posture, but also less fatigue, more mobility, and much less pain in your body. Plus, each visit tends to get better, as your spine “pops” back in place much easier. So don’t be scared! Find your chiropractor today and get on the road to recovery!
Do you plan on visiting a chiropractor? Share your thoughts below!
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