Have you ever had a pain in the neck? No, we’re not talking about your neighbor’s cat always infringing upon your yard and stalking your bird feeder. We’re asking about any actual physical pains in your neck. It may be a little jarring here or a little sharp annoyance there. It’s also possible it may feel debilitating to the point of severe pain and/or loss of range of motion.
Have you ever experienced back pain? No? Consider yourself lucky. Yes? Consider yourself in the norm. Experts estimate that up to 80% of the population will experience back pain at some time in their lives. It can affect people of all ages, from adolescents to the elderly. Worldwide, back pain is the single leading cause of disability, preventing many people from engaging in work as well as other everyday activities. Low-back pain costs Americans at least $50 billion in health care costs each year—add in lost wages and decreased productivity and that figure easily rises to more than $100 billion. Worldwide, years lived with disability caused by low back pain have increased by 54% between 1990 and 2015. According to the latest data, that number has only increased between 2015 and 2020.
You may be left wondering who can help with this neck and back pain and how can they do it? We are here to give you a brief overview of how a chiropractor, specifically here at Optima Health and Vitality Center, can help with your pain.
The most common neck and back related issues we see are the following: neck and back pain of all types, muscle spasms, disc issues, facet issues, arthritis, general degeneration, injuries, and poor posture.
The first thing our chiropractors do is really listen to the patient to gain a better understanding of what we call the story of the body belonging to each individual patient. After hearing the patient’s story, it’s time for us to go into action. We check the integrity of the muscle tone. We perform orthopedic and range of motion tests to evaluate for things like arthritis of the facet and osteoarthritis of the disc plus any additional disc injuries. Facet arthritis happens when the cartilage that covers the ends of the joints wears out and becomes thin. This can contribute to the growth of bone spurs and enlargement of the joints. Osteoarthritis of the disc is a condition of the discs between vertebrae with loss of cushioning, fragmentation and herniation. These conditions can be associated with pain and stiffness. We will then begin chiropractic treatment using specific techniques. These work to ease the nerves, calm down the muscles, and decrease inflammation. We use distraction techniques to add pressure relief and spinal movement to allow relaxation. We use percussion tools, which are handheld instruments that distribute waves of percussive impulses deep into the body’s tissues, to decrease muscle spasms, release joints, and loosen fixed areas. We will almost assuredly perform a chiropractic adjustment as part of your visit. An adjustment is a manual or instrument manipulation a chiropractor applies to the vertebrae with the goals of reducing subluxations, increasing range of motion, reducing nerve irritability and improving function. Chiropractic adjustments enhance signals and improve input into the central nervous system. This therefore results in improved adaptation to any inside or outside messages the brain receives or perceives. In theory, a chiropractic adjustment helps remove interferences on the nervous system and improves brain function in some capacity.
Finally, there may be therapies that our chiropractors recommend the patients take part in for maximum improvement. These are things like mechanical traction, physical rehabilitation, laser light therapy, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, infrared waves therapy, and pulsed electromagnetic field therapy. These are therapies that may be beneficial in helping patients with whatever their condition is. Our chiropractic technicians happily take the patients through these therapies after the patients complete their appointment with the chiropractor.
Before our patients take off, we like to take the time to educate them with the knowledge needed to become active in their own care to be able to help themselves during their daily lives in between any visits with us. Many people find having a role in their own care to be quite empowering. Things that we may educate patients on so they can play an active role in their care plan are the following: specific stretches and/or corrective exercises that help improve upon their condition, becoming aware of how their posture affects their condition, and becoming aware of how their daily movements and activities are possibly influencing their condition. This brief education can often help a patient with their condition/symptoms/issues a surprising amount.