How Chiropractic Treatment Can Relieve Your Chronic Pain
Maybe you’ve seen popular “chiropractic cracking” videos on YouTube(1) and thought, if that’s what a chiropractor does, count me out. Especially if you have chronic pain, the only idea more discouraging than not being able to do anything is trying something that looks like it could potentially make the pain worse.
But the art and science of chiropractic is not all about the bone-cracking manual adjustments that attract millions of video views. Chiropractic adjustments can be a highly effective, yet still gentle tool for relieving both acute and chronic pain.
At Brookfield Health & Wellness, LLC, chiropractic care has become a cornerstone supporting treatment for our patients, in addition to many of our energy medicine therapies. Patients find that they feel more relaxed, have less pain, and feel more aligned, especially our chronic pain patients.
Chiropractic adjustments can be a highly effective, yet still gentle tool for relieving both acute and chronic pain.
Chiropractic treatment is excellent for relieving chronic migraines, joint pain, muscle pain, chronic low back pain, neck pain, herniated discs, and even chronic pain associated with fibromyalgia and other nervous system disorders. But with our tendency in the modern world to spend long amounts of time sitting at our computers or on the couch, just about anyone can benefit from a chiropractic adjustment.
Here at our clinic, Dr. Zach Kienol (but we just call him Dr. Zach) approaches each patient according to their personal treatment tolerance and performs adjustments with the goal of minimizing pain, promoting relaxation, and encouraging healing throughout the whole body.
What is Chiropractic Treatment and How Does it Affect Chronic Pain?
At its most basic level, chiropractic is the practice of making manual adjustments to a patient’s joints, most notably the spine, with the goal of restoring alignment to the body, increasing range of motion, and relieving pain caused by restricted or improperly moving joints(2). But the effects of a chiropractic adjustment go way beyond treating the physical structure of the body.
The Chiropractic adjustment is not only great for treating joint and muscle pain, it actually treats the body’s central nervous system as well, stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system (the “rest and digest” state) and calming the sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight response).
The Chiropractic adjustment treats the body’s central nervous system, which promotes a state of calm and healing.
So when you get adjusted, you’re not only treating the direct cause of the pain (say, a disc injury), you’re also treating the body as a whole, calming the stress response and stimulating a feeling of overall relaxation that allows the body to heal.
With repeated treatment, this allows the body to calm down from a state of pain and inflammation and function better over time. This is one of the reasons chronic pain patients find chiropractic so beneficial; it relieves pain and compounds that pain relief over time by training the body to function in the parasympathetic state. Patients move better, better movement encourages better function, and pain gradually fades while function continues to improve. It’s an upward spiral to health.
How a Chiropractor Treats Chronic Pain
The chiropractic approach to treating different conditions is unique for each one, but in general, a chiropractic adjustment involves physical manipulation of joints and soft tissues, such as rotating the shoulders or stretching out the spine(3).
The patient mostly lays face up or face down down on an adjustable table that can be unhinged and moved freely at different angles, allowing the spine to be stretched and the patient to be completely relaxed. Adjustments can also be made while a patient sits on the table or stands.
“I have worked on just about every region of the body, whether it is the spine or one of the extremities (wrists, ankles, knees, shoulders, etc.),” said Dr. Zach. “The treatment itself is only a part of the big picture; often I will give people stretches or exercises they can do on their own as well.”
“The treatment itself is only a part of the big picture; often I will give people stretches or exercises they can do on their own.” – Dr. Zach
Dr. Zach has experience treating many different kinds of chronic pain. He is sensitive to each person’s pain level and tolerance when it comes to adjustments. Most of the time, he uses a tool called an activator to make adjustments rather than manual adjustments (aka the kind you see in those crazy YouTube videos). He finds that this is a much more gentle and effective tool for certain patients and produces excellent results.
“I've had a lot of success treating all areas of the spine whether they are related to the discs, facets or even rib related problems,” he said. “I've treated many people for what they thought was carpal tunnel, when in reality the small joints in the wrist were really restricted, causing increased inflammation and pain. When a joint is moving properly you don't often have as many issues with pain or discomfort.”
This is the ultimate goal of chiropractic care for chronic pain patients: get the joints and muscles moving properly, encourage movement while also implementing beneficial stretches and exercises at home to strengthen the body, and continuously relieve pain over time.
Chiropractic Treatment Helps with Chronic Illness, too
Chronic pain isn’t only limited to joint injuries–-it’s an unpleasant part of many other chronic illnesses too. Auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, Crohn’s and Celiac disease can all cause pain in many areas of the body.
Fortunately, chiropractic care can be highly effective for these types of illnesses as well.
“I see a large population of patients who have auto-immune disorders, so their entire bodies are typically involved,” explained Dr. Zach. “I have a gentleman that I see with Ankylosing Spondylitis (an arthritic condition that can lead to fusion of joints amongst other things) that I have been working with on a weekly basis for a handful of months now.
He does not have a tremendous amount of pain, but he can get stiff and sore most weeks if he does not take care of his body. He tends to be highly active most days of the week, but with chiropractic care, he can really maximize his performance because his body is much looser and able to take on more activity. He would not have to come in as frequently, but his body just feels really good after he gets adjusted.”
Adjustments can also help regulate the digestive system, encourage better breathing, even relieve stress and anxiety. Just about anyone can benefit, regardless of their condition.
Chiropractic care can also help regulate the digestive system, encourage better breathing, and relieve stress and anxiety.
Get Relief from Your Chronic Pain with Chiropractic Treatment Today
If you suffer from chronic pain in the form of chronic low back pain, a herniated disc, chronic neck pain, migraines, shoulder pain, fibromyalgia, and more, chiropractic care may be a highly effective therapy for you.
We can’t stress this enough: chronic pain is not a hopeless condition. Though it is not to be dealt with lightly, the root cause of the pain can be healed over time.
As Dr. Zach said, “With chronic pain, it must be understood that it likely will not simply vanish after one treatment–-it took a lot of time for the body to get to the point of dysfunction. But, I do not make it my goal to see a patient constantly; I try to give you the tools you need to aid the process at home.”
With time and continued treatment, many patients with chronic pain are able to regain mobility and live the active lives they love. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment for chiropractic care with Dr. Zach, please reach out to us today!
Click here to learn more about Dr. Zach, or give us a call at 262-395-4023 to schedule an appointment today!