Chiropractors treat musculoskeletal conditions, such as back and neck pain and joint stiffness. They also provide soft-tissue therapy to relax tense muscles and help your body’s natural healing processes. Some health insurance plans cover chiropractic care, so check with yours. You might be able to find a chiropractor who accepts private payment or has special arrangements with supplemental insurance companies.
A chiropractor’s primary treatment is manual manipulation of the spine and other joints. This is called spinal manipulation therapy, or SMT. The purpose is to improve spinal alignment, eliminate interference in the nervous system and restore proper movement to the joints. It is safe and effective, and many patients experience reduced pain and improved function after spinal manipulation.
Most people see a chiropractor for back or neck problems, but they can also treat other injuries and disorders involving bones, muscles and joints. They can recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises, as well as diet and lifestyle modifications to support the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
To make a diagnosis, a chiropractor will ask questions about your symptoms and perform a physical exam. They may also request X-rays or an MRI to determine what’s causing your discomfort.
Your doctor will discuss their findings and come up with a treatment plan. They might suggest stretches or other exercises to improve muscle strength, flexibility and balance. They may use hydrotherapy, which involves applying heat or cold to the affected area. This helps reduce swelling and numbs the pain. Other treatments include spinal decompression, in which the chiropractor places you face up as a system of rollers move about your spine to stretch and massage it. In addition, your doctor might suggest using electrical stimulation to block pain signals and release the body’s natural painkillers, endorphins.
A number of health conditions can interfere with chiropractic care, such as diabetes and osteoporosis. If you have these conditions, you should let your chiropractor know and they will take appropriate precautions to limit the amount of manipulation done on your neck. Your chiropractor can refer you to other health practitioners for help with these conditions.
Some chiropractors specialize in specific areas of the spine and joints, such as the shoulder, elbow, wrist or ankle. Others focus on general wellness and prevention of injuries.
It is important to find a health professional you trust and who listens to you. The best chiropractor in Atlanta will be happy to answer any of your questions about chiropractic care and its benefits. If you’re not sure whether to seek out a chiropractor, consider asking for referrals from friends and colleagues and doing your research. Read patient reviews and compare providers in your area. An engaged patient is more likely to get the best results from his or her chiropractic treatment.