The spine is a potential source of a lot more pain than you may realize.
Misalignments can affect various muscle groups along with the 31 pairs of spinal nerves that directly branch off from the spinal cord and other parts of the central nervous system. What a chiropractor does is identify and correct these misalignments and related spinal joint dysfunctions (subluxations) with various adjustments and techniques.
First practiced in the late 1800s, chiropractic care has evolved to the point where sessions can be highly individualized. While there are many reasons to visit a chiropractor in Mission Viejo, here are five of the most common ones.
1. Lower Back Pain
Affecting somewhere around 80 percent of the population at one time or another, lower back pain (LBP) is certainly one of the top reasons why many patients seek treatment from a chiropractor in Mission Viejo. Studies suggest that nearly 90 percent of patients seeking chiropractic care for LBP are more pleased with results than individuals not seeking such treatment.
The evaluation process with patients seeking treatment for LBP and similar spine-related conditions also takes factors such as stress and anxiety, daily activities, and general lifestyle into consideration. Chiropractors use a combination of spinal manipulations and therapeutic techniques to treat LBP. Instrument-assisted soft tissue therapy is a chiropractic method involving special devices or tools that relax muscles directly or indirectly supporting the lower back that may also be recommended. Chiropractors typically assist patients with back pain related to:
- Sprains and strains affecting spine-supporting muscles and ligaments
- Degenerative disc disease
- Lumbar disc herniation
- Piriformis syndrome linked to the piriformis muscle in the buttocks
- Spinal osteoarthritis
2. Neck Pain
Underlying diseases, muscle strains, damaged or worn joints, and nerve compression are some of the factors that may contribute to neck-related pain. While over-the-counter and prescription drugs may provide some degree of relief, medication alone will not address the actual cause of neck pain. With chiropractic treatment, however, care plans are based on what’s affecting the seven bones of the cervical spine or supporting discs, muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
Treatment of neck pain by a chiropractor may involve cervical mobilization, which is done with side-to-side and figure eight motions performed as the head is gently moved. With cervical manual traction, the cervical spine is gently stretched forwards and backwards at varying angles. Specific neck conditions a chiropractor may treat include:
- Cervical intervertebral disc injuries (not requiring surgery)
- Degenerative joint syndrome affecting joints in the neck
- Cervical sprain injuries
3. Pregnancy-Related Back Pain
One way to minimize reliance of pain medications during pregnancy is to consider chiropractic treatment. Joint mobilization, soft tissue treatments, and therapeutic exercises are considered safe for most women prior to childbirth. Chiropractic care may help expectant women minimize lower back and leg pain and pelvic aches. Removing obstructions to nerves may also ease pregnancy symptoms, improve immune system health as pregnancy advances, and help get the baby in a better position for birth. Some new mothers are even able to reduce or eliminate medication use during delivery with the right adjustments.
Neck stiffness, increased fatigue, and general weakness are among the symptoms that may be experienced by anyone living with chronic migraines. There is no cure for headaches of this variety. However, a chiropractor may help sufferers reach a point where migraine symptoms can be reduced or prevented without the use of drugs. In some instances, headache frequency may be decreased with regular chiropractic care since it’s believed many migraines originate in the neck area. Research suggests the majority of migraine symptoms are likely caused by small misalignments in the spine.
5. Car Accident Injuries
Since most car accidents occur while in a seated position, many of the related injuries involve some part of the spine. The severity of resulting injuries like whiplash may not be noticeable right away following a car accident because of the way tissues, discs, and joints of the upper back and neck may be affected. If distracting symptoms do show up within a few days post-injury, a chiropractor in Mission Viejo can use results from X-rays, CT scans, and other diagnostic tests to develop a treatment plan. What it could mean for car accident patients is relief from:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Range of motion problems
- Shoulder and/or upper back pain
- Inflammation-based discomfort
When you visit a chiropractor in Mission Viejo, sessions will be personalized to your specific needs and comfort level. Within the first month of a treatment program, discomfort related to non-complex musculoskeletal conditions typically eases anywhere from 40 to 80 percent. However, individual experiences will vary. Chiropractic care also extends to preventative measures, such as recommending lifestyle changes involving diet, posture, and sleep habits, along with suggesting appropriate forms of regular exercise.