My Experience Using Chiropractic Treatment for Chronic Back Pain
I injured my back a while ago and had to deal with often severe pain everyday. I went to the doctor and was sent to physical therapy, which actually made the pain worse. I put up with the problem for a long time, hoping that it would simply go away. I was reluctant to return to the doctor because I assumed I would be sent back to physical therapy.
Finally, I did go to a different doctor because the pain wasn't improving. She recommended that I see a chiropractor. I was stunned because I had always heard that chiropractors were not real doctors and that chiropractic was quackery and based on pseudoscience. Yet a real doctor was recommending that I go see a chiropractor.
I went online to research chiropractic and read about studies that had found that chiropractic treatment was just as effective as other treatment methods for back pain. I'm a skeptic by nature, so I still wasn't sure but I decided to give chiropractic treatment a try to see if it worked.
My Experience Using Chiropractic Treatment for Back Pain
On my first visit to the chiropractor, she confirmed that the muscles in my back and neck were inflamed. She used an Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) machine to help bring down the inflammation. EMS machines increase the supply of blood and oxygen to injured muscles and increase the production of endorphins, which have an analgesic effect. She also did an adjustment and stretched my neck muscles to relieve the tension.
It surprised me is that she used some of the same treatment methods that the physical therapist used without requiring exercise afterward. I had assumed she would use some strange alternative treatment but what she did was basically the kind of treatment you would get from a physical therapist.
After my first chiropractic visit, one area of my back that had very severe pain was completely pain-free. I couldn't believe that the pain there was completely gone. I went for treatment twice a week for a few weeks, which has been reduced to one visit every two weeks. I have also had a few therapeutic massages. My level of pain has decreased significantly. I have had a couple of flare-ups and have to be careful to not put too much strain on the recovering muscles. Most likely I will never be completely cured but having a much lower level of pain will be a big improvement. So, at least for me, chiropractic treatment has been effective at reducing my pain level.
How to reduce back pain, reduce tension and stress
The Chiropractic Controversy
Chiropractic treatment is still very controversial. Critics insist that the effects of chiropractic treatment are simply a placebo effect. Because you believe the treatment relieves your pain, it does. So, has the big improvement in my back pain been simply a placebo effect?
The care I have been receiving from the chiropractor has been completely conventional, if you consider physical therapy and sports medicine to be conventional. I have no idea what kind of care a patient with a problem different from mine would receive. There is no doubt that chiropractic treatment was built on pseudoscientific ideas but that does not necessarily mean that all treatments offered by chiropractors have no scientific basis.
If you suffer from back pain, you can give chiropractic a try to see if it works for you. You should go to your primary care physician first to get a recommendation on the best course of treatment. It may be a good idea to get an X-ray done first to ensure that chiropractic treatment will be safe. You should also ask your PCP to recommend a good chiropractor. There are a lot of them and I'm sure some are probably a lot better than others. Chiropractor visits aren't expensive and are often covered by insurance, so if you give it a try to it doesn't work, it won't cost too much.