Aside from spinal adjustment, which probably sets chiropractic care apart from other fields, there are other alternative treatments used by doctors of chiropractic. Some of these are physiological therapeutic measures.
Dietary counsel. Some chiropractors incorporate counselling on nutrition and diet in the treatment plan. They can provide patients with tips on how to alleviate back pain with the help of proper diet as well as dietary supplements after spinal manipulation.
Exercise and massage. An exercise program that focuses on stretching and strengthening the back can help in improving mobility. Also, a massage of the soft tissues can improve blood circulation, reduce swelling and inflammation associated with the back pain, and encourage faster health restoration.
Ultrasound. Deep heat therapy caused by sound waves can be applied to the affected soft tissues and joints. Putting the treatment into simple words, the ultrasound serves as a micro-massage. This can help reduce back pain, stiffness, and spasms, as well as improve blood flow and quicken the healing process.
Diathermy. In this electromagnetic treatment, shortwave passes through softer tissues and provides heat to denser tissues. Diathermy relaxes the muscles and connective tissues, decreases spasms, and quickens healing by improving blood circulation. After the treatment, the area will usually feel comfortably warm.
Hydrotherapy. By varying the temperature and pressure of water, cold stimuli that reduce the sensitivity and numb the pain and the hot stimuli that promote blood flow can be used to accelerate healing.
Ice and heat therapy. Both the cold and the heat can help patients experiencing back pain. Ice packs may be used to numb the back area for 10 to 15 minutes. Afterwards, the ice pack may be switched with a heating pad, heat wrap or hot water bottle to restore blood flow and promote faster healing.
Electrodes. Through an electrical muscle stimulation, light electrical pulses are sent through electrodes to different areas of the body with the purpose of reducing inflammation, stopping muscle spasms and relieving pain.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulators. TENS is the most common form of electrical stimulation. Its unit features electrodes placed over the affected area. With different intensities, TENS can help block the transmission of pain signals along the nerves and also trigger the release of endorphins, which are natural painkillers.
Traction. With the patient lying face up, a system of rollers moves about the back. Other traction devices can be used in a procedure known as non-surgical spinal decompression, in which the spine is stretched, the discs decompressed and the pressure on the nerve roots reduced.
Infrared radiation. With different colored hues indicating the blood flow in the back, infrared radiation may be used to differentiate normal temperature changes from abnormal differences and to assess underlying conditions that are causing pain.
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