Chiropractic Treatments Proven More Effective for Subluxation
At least 80 percent of Americans will experience back pain at some time in their lives, and many find it debilitating enough to cause missed work and loss of mobility. While there are many options for treatment of back pain, a recent study shows that spinal manipulation for subluxation is much more effective than medications in resolving back pain. Estimates indicate that chiropractors treat more than 27 million Americans each year, with chiropractic adjustments being performed around 1 million times every business day in the U.S.
Studies Show Adjustment Works Better Than Medication
A total of 94 percent of patients experiencing low-back pain reported a 30-percent reduction in pain after four weeks of chiropractic treatment, while only 54 percent of patients who took prescription medication but did not have manual adjustments reported a 30-percent pain reduction after four weeks, according to a study reported by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). Another study found that 4 out of 10 Americans will approach a chiropractor before a doctor when suffering from lower back pain.
Although doctors of chiropractic (DCs) treat more than just back pain, many patients initially visit chiropractors looking for relief from that pervasive condition. In fact, 31 million Americans experience low-back pain at any given time, reports the ACA.
What Causes Back Pain and Subluxation?
“The back is a complicated structure of bones, joints, ligaments and muscles. You can sprain ligaments, strain muscles, rupture disks, and irritate joints, all of which can lead to back pain. While sports injuries or accidents can cause back pain, sometimes the simplest of movements – for example, picking up a pencil from the floor – can have painful results. In addition, arthritis, poor posture, obesity, and psychological stress can cause or complicate back pain. Back pain can also directly result from disease of the internal organs, such as kidney stones, kidney infections, blood clots, or bone loss,” the ACA report states.
Chiropractors describe misaligned vertebra as “subluxation,” a condition where the joints in the back are out of alignment, creating problems like unnatural pressure on the intervertebral discs, muscle pulls and strain, and extra stress on ligaments and tendons. Subluxation also can occur in other joints throughout the body. Chiropractors treat subluxation with manual joint manipulation – also called adjustment – using their hands and/or special tools designed to apply the correct amount of pressure to a specific area.
Chiropractors may take x-rays, and then analyze the movement between the vertebrae or other joints in the body with touch to get to the source of the problem.
Most cases of back pain and subluxation are mechanical or non-organic, meaning they are not caused by serious conditions like arthritis, fracture, infection, or cancer. Often, back pain is caused by strenuous repetitive motion, like shoveling snow or scrubbing a floor, or even loading groceries or luggage into and out of a vehicle. However, some chronic back pain stems from typical office work – sitting in a non-ergonomic desk chair, or working for long period on a computer without rest breaks to stretch and relax tired or cramped muscles.
Back pain is so prevalent that is among the primary reasons for missed work, and is second only to respiratory infections as the reason Americans visit a doctor.
“Spinal manipulation is a safe and effective spine pain treatment. It reduces pain, decreasing the need for medication in some cases. It rapidly advances physical therapy, and requires very few passive forms of treatment, such as bed rest,” reports the ACA.
An extensive study of all available care for low back problems undertaken by the Federal Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (now called the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, or AHCRQ) recommended that back pain sufferers choose the most conservative treatment methods first. An AHCRQ report recommends spinal manipulation as the only safe and effective, drugless form of initial professional treatment for acute low back problems in adults.
Research by the National institutes of Health (NIH) has shown strong evidence that spinal manipulation for back pain is just as effective as a combination of medical care and exercise, and moderate evidence that it is just as effective as prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication combined with exercise.
A patient-information article published in 2013 by the Journal of the American Medical Association recommends chiropractic care for people suffering from back pain, noting that surgery usually is not needed, and should only be tried if other therapies fail.
Subluxation in the spine can cause pressure and chafing of the nerves that exit from the spinal cord that lead to organs and tissues throughout the body. Evidence indicates manipulation that helps realign the vertebrae and remove pressure from the spinal nerves can have positive effects on organs such as the stomach, liver, kidneys and intestines by restoring the full function of the nerves that lead to them from the spine.
Tips to Prevent Subluxation and Back Pain
To prevent back pain and subluxation, think about ergonomics when planning daily activities; even vacuuming can cause back strain that leads to pain, so use long, sweeping motions rather than short, fast movements. Learn to lift using knees and leg muscles rather than back muscles, and do not twist while lifting. Arrange computers keyboards and monitors at optimum height to avoid neck and shoulder strain, and invest in an ergonomically designed office chair with lower-back support. Pillows or specially designed inserts can be used in almost any chair to help add back support. Wear comfortable, supportive, low-heeled shoes, and reduce the weight of backpacks or bags carried regularly.
Maintain a healthy diet and weight, and avoid prolonged inactivity or bed rest. Remaining active with daily stretching and doctor-recommended exercise can help keep back pain from worsening or reoccurring after chiropractic treatment. Warm up and stretch before physical activities.
Maintain proper posture, and sleep on a mattress that is not too soft; medium firmness supports the spine and can help prevent stiffness and pain. Consider raising the height of the mattress so getting in and out of bed does not require bending.
Limit alcohol, caffeine and tobacco use. Smoking impairs blood flow, depriving spinal tissues of oxygen and other nutrients.
At-home Back Pain Treatment Tips
In between chiropractic adjustments, back-pain patients can use cold and hot compresses alternately to help ease pain and stiffness. Some doctors recommend using topical treatments that produce a heat or cooling effect when compresses are not practical, such as at work.
Begin with ice, keeping it in place for about 20 minutes. After the affected area warms, apply heat for 20 minutes, to help sooth tight or “locked up” muscles. Alternate between cold and heat as needed, ending with ice, which helps reduce swelling and inflammation.
Continue doctor-recommended activities, but limit activities that cause pain, such as deep bending or lifting more than 10 pounds. A gallon of liquid weighs 8 pounds, so lifting a milk bottle or a 2-liter soda bottle can aggravate back pain. Transfer the contents of large containers into several smaller ones to avoid heavy lifting.
Some types of back pain can be eased by wearing a pressure bandage. Many types are available at drug stores and medical supply stores, and can help by applying pressure to the affected area and limiting twisting movements which can exacerbate subluxation and pain.
Nutrition also plays a key role in healing; chose a variety of fresh vegetables, fruit, fish and lean protein to provide antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that the body needs to repair damaged tissue. Stay hydrated and limit caffeine and alcohol.
If you are experiencing back pain or subluxation in Austin, please give us a call today at (512) 459-5523. The staff at the Moore Chiropractic Health Care Center of Austin will work with you to get you out of pain quickly, safely, and drug-free.
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