Do Chiropractors Only Treat Back Pain?

Do Chiropractors Only Treat Back Pain?

Chiropractors are spine specialists… but they treat other areas of the body as well

One of the most common misconceptions about chiropractic is that chiropractors only treat back pain. We regularly speak to patients who are surprised to find out that we can also treat their ankle sprain or carpal tunnel syndrome. As chiropractors, we function as spine specialists, but we are also highly trained to treat pain and injuries that involve other joints, muscles, and nerves in the body. Our specialty is restoring the body’s proper biomechanics, and we do this by addressing joint dysfunction, muscle imbalance, and postural distortions. While it’s true that we are experts at treating neck and low back pain, we also have great tools to treat pain and dysfunction in other regions of the body as well.

So what other conditions do chiropractors treat?

As mentioned above, chiropractors are trained to treat most muscle and joint conditions that don’t require medication or surgery. Some of the most common non-spinal conditions that we treat include headaches, rotator cuff strains, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, wrist sprains, IT band syndrome, runner’s knee, ankle sprains, Achilles tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis. The treatment options that we recommend differ based on the condition we’re treating, but in general our goal is to help the body heal by making sure the joints are moving properly, addressing any muscle imbalances, strengthening the surrounding muscles, and correcting any contributing postural issues. 

What if I have pain, but haven’t been diagnosed with any of those conditions?

A lot of times patients come to us with pain that they have been dealing with for weeks, months, or sometimes even years. These patients have usually seen other doctors or healthcare practitioners for the issue. They have tried other forms of treatment that haven’t fully resolved the problem. Many times they’ve had imaging done that shows “nothing wrong” with the region. These cases can be extremely frustrating for patients because nobody has been able to explain what is causing their pain. Many times this happens when pain in one part of the body is being caused by an issue elsewhere in the body. An interesting 2019 study by Rosedale et al. found that 43.5% of the time, pain in the arms and legs is referred from the spine, even when the spine itself has no pain. As chiropractors, we are trained to look at the body as a whole, rather than only focusing on the symptom of pain. For example, if you are experiencing pain in your knee, we want to make sure the ankle, hip, and low back regions are functioning well because these regions commonly affect the knees. Likewise, if you are experiencing headaches or shoulder pain, we will examine the neck because issues with the neck muscles and joints commonly contribute to headaches and shoulder pain.

How do I know if chiropractic treatment will help?

The general rule of thumb in the healthcare world is to start with conservative treatment options and then progress to non-conservative forms of therapy if necessary. Conservative treatments are those that don’t require drugs or surgery and have low risk of side effects and adverse reactions. Chiropractic happens to be an extremely safe and conservative treatment option. If we feel that your condition does not require immediate referral to a specialist, then we usually recommend a trial of chiropractic care. We typically know within one or two visits whether chiropractic treatment is going to be an effective option for you. In cases where chiropractic care is not helping the patient quickly enough, we help our patients seek out other treatment options that may be more effective for them. Please contact our office today to learn more about how we can help you.

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