I’ll be the first to admit it. I like to self-diagnose myself, or even ignore when my body might be in some pain. Being an entrepreneur it comes with the territory, right? Well, I had a huge neck pain problem on-going for a few years now and I just attributed to sitting behind my computer desk for 40+ hours a week. Then it happened. One day I woke up in the middle of the night after tossing and turning and ended up feeling the sharpest pain I’d felt in my life up until that point in my neck. That’s when I knew I had to do something about it. Like some people, I was skeptical of Chiropractors. It’s an on-going joke in the medical field that they’re not “real doctors” so I didn’t know what to think at first. It’s a good thing I didn’t listen to what everyone else had to say! My experience with them was amazing and I did a TON of research before actually going. My goal here is to provide you with some of the first-hand experience and especially research I did prior to going. Remember, we’re entrepreneurs not machines.
Chiropractors are trained in the management of problems relating to the backbone and joints. They are able to identify misalignments, areas of inflammation or weakness, and evaluate health problems through a thorough physical assessment. Chiropractors diagnose the causes of back pain, joint and muscle problems, and they treat the problem with professional, informed, evidence-based care.
You, however, are the expert in your own body, and you’re the one person who knows it best. While you may be unable to palpate and assess and make complex diagnoses about vertebrae, you are the first one to know when something’s wrong. Self-care is important, and it means looking after yourself the same way you’d look after someone else who’s important to you. Modern life can be fast-paced, and you can sometimes feel that you haven’t got the time, the money, or just the energy to consult a professional about problems you’ve just gotten used to. But what if the problem doesn’t go away?
In general practice and specialist areas, healthcare professionals see many, many people who have waited until their problems are severe before they seek treatment. This may be down to an ingrained feeling that they shouldn’t make a fuss, or it may be that they’re worried about the financial outlay. But catching a problem early means better, quicker recovery, and shorter courses of treatment. This helps to avoid the long-term expenses and potential loss of income associated with waiting until a problem becomes debilitating before seeking specialist attention.
You should see a chiropractor if:
You have back, neck or pelvic pain, or pain in your arms or legs.
You have had an injury resulting in problems in the back and related joints and muscles.
You feel that your work, leisure activities, or anything in your lifestyle is causing physical strain.
Pain keeps you up at night or wakes you from sleep.
Your mobility is reduced.
Work-related back, joint, and muscular pain are all too common, whether because of heavy lifting, repetitive strain, bad posture, or even an accident resulting in injury. This can cause chronic pain and reduced mobility which, as if they’re not bad enough themselves, can contribute to many serious health conditions.
Management of chronic pain can be complex and tricky, and likely to involve medication which comes with its own problematic side effects. By all means, use medication to provide relief when needed; there is no need to be in pain. But remember that there may be a way to tackle the problem at its root, to identify a treatable, physical cause, and that’s exactly what chiropractors do.
There are a number of options for treatment. A family doctor is often the first port of call for any medical needs and can prescribe medication for short-term pain-relief if required. A chiropractor, on the other hand, will perform a holistic assessment to see what they can do to help. Their aim is to use physical manipulation techniques to correct any misalignments and ease any pain and swelling. They may use diagnostic tools like X-rays to help identify the cause of your pain, and if they suspect a condition that can’t be managed by chiropractic treatment they will recommend other avenues.
A chiropractor will:
Perform a physical assessment in a way that you’re comfortable with.
Find out as much as they can about you as a whole; your activities and lifestyle, your general health and diet.
Involve you in creating a clear treatment plan to achieve a mutually agreed and achievable target.
Use diagnostic tools like X-rays or MRI scans to fully assess the problematic areas.
Aim to eradicate the problem at its source, and improve your symptoms as quickly and completely as possible.
Ensure that you fully understand and agree before they undertake any physical treatment.
Recognise where conditions are outside of their scope of practice and refer you to other specialists or recommend other courses of investigation and treatment.
Advise you on reducing or preventing further problems.
Chiropractors are experts in safe moving and handling, posture correction, and exercises specific to back and joint problems. They have specialized training, a wealth of experience, and a strong evidence base for their practice. It’s better to prevent serious problems than wait until you have them then try and cure them, so seeing a chiropractor early is worth it in the long run. If you have any of the risk factors for developing problems with your spine, joints, or associated muscles, then a chiropractor will provide exercises and advice on avoiding these problems.
Turning to a chiropractor all too often comes when a person with chronic pain has tried other avenues of treatment and ended up with long-term strong painkillers but no treatment for the root cause of the problem. Chiropractic care isn’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when a person is suffering from pain, and usually, this can mean seeking treatment with a general doctor. Doctors have strong general medical knowledge but don’t perform the extremely specialized hands-on treatments that a chiropractor can. A generalist may refer you to a specialist, but when it comes to pain and problems associated with the spine, consulting a chiropractor first will, in most cases, mean you only have to see one person throughout your whole course of treatment. Going to a specialist hands-on practitioner who has an array of diagnostic tools and who can perform a series of curative treatments means your treatment can start immediately.
Consulting a chiropractor at any time, from the point where you identify the risk of back strain right through to the time when you need treatment for serious problems or following an injury means that you have a clinical practitioner who already knows your body, your needs, and you. They can treat you using their knowledge of your baseline condition and give the most holistic, informed treatment available. Your chiropractor can identify potential problems and teach you how to mitigate your risks. They can assess existing problems and provide treatment right then and there.
A long-term relationship with the right chiropractor can help keep you healthy, fit, and mobile. And remember to not sweat the small stuff and focus on the bigger issues, like your health!