When we think of reasons to seek chiropractic care, we tend to think of adults with bad backs or those who have been injured on the job. While it is true that adults receive more chiropractic care than other age groups, everyone stands to benefit from this treatment. Chiropractors manipulate the spine to treat pain, a process often referred to as an “adjustment.” Chiropractic practices date all the way back to ancient Greece and China; it became especially popular in the United States in the late 1800s and has since reached a mainstream tipping point.
Spinal manipulation is the primary basis of chiropractic care. Popularized in the 1980s, techniques like massage and spinal manipulation help adjust not only the spine, but also its surrounding tissues—and these techniques are especially helpful for those who suffer from back pain.
The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) reports that there are seven most commonly used chiropractic techniques:
Diversified Technique is characterized by short, quick thrusts of pressure to restricted joints, with the goal of restoring proper movement.
Extremity Manipulation and Adjustment treats joints other than the spine, such as wrists or knees, and may help correct conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome or posture problems.
Activator Methods use a hand-held, spring-loaded tool to generate the light, quick force behind the adjustment.
Gonstead Technique focuses distinctly on balancing the body—particularly the spinal column, through adjusting the pelvis, vertebrae, and legs—to restore normal alignment and motion.
Cox flexion Distraction uses a special table where the spine is decompressed and flexed forward; it’s used to treat conditions like lumbar disc herniations and to increase spinal joint mobility.
Thompson Technique employs a special table with “drop pieces,” segments that will allow the table to drop a fraction of an inch when the thrust is delivered; the goal is to open the joint during the adjustment and minimize the force required.
Sacro Occipital Technique uses low force and slow pressure; triangle-shaped blocks, usually placed under the patient’s pelvis, are used to treat lower back problems.
Chiropractors choose the best technique for each individual patient, depending on their clients’ unique pains and injuries. One specific technique, such as the sacro occipital technique, will not remedy all pains. Chiropractors will also modify the specifics of each technique according to the patient’s needs and desires.
Chiropractic Care for All Ages
Just like traditional doctors, chiropractors treat all age groups—from children to the elderly. Anyone who suffers from specific musculoskeletal problems can benefit from chiropractic care that is uniquely tailored to the nuances of his or her specific pain. As people get older, they often begin to wonder whether they can still receive safe chiropractic care; some wrongly believe that chiropractic care will worsen their pain or possibly create a new injury. The truth is that it doesn’t matter how old a patient is. Chiropractic care tailored to the patient’s specific pain will increase vitality as well as mobility.
Before deciding on a particular treatment, the chiropractor will study the patient’s pains and medical history. Patients have unique maladies, and some adjustments are specifically meant for those who fall within a certain age range. For example, senior citizens will receive gentle chiropractic adjustments to accommodate their sensitive bones.
The ACA fully endorses chiropractic care for children. In January of 2009, the ACA reported that the number of chiropractic patients 16 years of age and younger has jumped by more than 8 percent since 1991. Just about every chiropractor treats someone who is younger than 18; most have actually enrolled in postgraduate pediatric chiropractic courses or seminars to better understand specific treatments for infants, children, and teenagers. Chiropractors take great care to avoid the high velocity thrusting that has caused injuries to children’s spines in the past. Those who manipulate an infant’s spine use a very light pressure administered through the thumb to correct misaligned vertebre. Numerous studies indicate that chiropractic care can help children with neck and back pain, as well as chronic ear infections, colic, asthma, and even bedwetting. Chiropractors employ techniques that address the vertebral misalignment or spinal joint dysfunction. There is solid evidence, for example, that chiropractic soft tissue manipulative techniques administered over the neck help children recover from secretory otitis, an inflation of the middle section of the ear. These manipulative techniques often stretch the eustachian tube (a small canal connecting the middle ear to the back of the nose and upper throat) enough to help drain fluids from the ear. Some parents of children with the aforementioned maladies will visit chiropractors to check for misalignments as frequently as once per month.
Older patients with back pain should have no trouble finding a chiropractor who uses moderate adjustment techniques to guarantee comfort throughout the duration of the treatment. This type of care is actually ideal for an aging body; seniors often find that their bodies are less responsive to certain stimuli and increasingly sensitive to medications prescribed by medical doctors. Chiropractic care represents an all-natural solution to alleviate pain. Unlike medications, chiropractic care won’t put your organs at risk. It will produce results by helping your body’s nervous system function as designed.
Regardless of your age or ailment, your chiropractor will choose a specific technique to correct and prevent any interference that may occur when the movement of the bones that protect the spinal cord is hindered. The aim is to restore the body’s ability to heal on its own—without the use of potentially harmful medications or surgeries.
About the Author:
Alec Khlebopros, DC, is a leading chiropractor with more than 10 years of experience. He offers chiropractic care at the Proactive Chiropractic and Rehab Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Learn more at charlottechironc.com.