Many people today are seeking alternative treatments to medical conditions such as neck and back pain. As we know, in this country we are currently experiencing an opioid crisis from people in pain trying to use substances to treat the pain that has left them addicted to synthetic opioids that threaten to destroy their lives and health. Other typical medical treatments for neck and back pain include the prescription of anti-inflammatory drugs, steroid injections, and spinal fusions.
The U.S. FDA and the American College of Physicians both have issued recommendations that patients be given initial treatments for back pain that do not involve drugs. Chiropractors are licensed practitioners who help people overcome neck and back pain through treatments that do not involve drugs or surgery.
To find out how chiropractors help alleviate neck and back pain, we spoke to Donald Littlejohn, a Doctor of Chiropractic from the New York City metropolitan area. Dr. Littlejohn is committed to returning his patient’s bodies to normal functioning.
What is Chiropractic?
A chiropractor is a Doctor of Chiropractic. Dr. Littlejohn provides us the best explanation of the workings of chiropractics:
“As a chiropractor, it is my role to reestablish proper nervous system function by altering the body’s biomechanics. Abnormal biomechanical conditions, also known as ‘subluxations,’ are treated with spinal manipulative therapy (‘adjustments’), supplemented by adjunctive modalities, therapeutic stretches, and exercises, as well as counseling on how to modify daily activities.”
In layman’s terms, this means that a chiropractor works to improve the biomechanics of your body by performing adjustments to correct places where the proper body movement is blocked, and pain is occurring. When your body is out of alignment, placing it back in proper balance will allow it to heal naturally. Also, chiropractors utilize other treatments, such as ultrasound, hot and cold therapy, hydrotherapy, TENS stimulation, and traction. Chiropractors also advise us of exercises that help alleviate our symptoms. A visit to a chiropractor is very relaxing and rejuvenating.
What Can I Expect in a Chiropractic Visit?
Initial Consultation: A chiropractor who is seeing you for the first time will ask questions about your lifestyle, the physical ailment and how it began, how the pain presents itself, what makes it feel better and worse. The idea is to get a picture of the how and why of what is occurring. For example, if you have a stressful commute up to an icy mountain road for an hour each day, your body mechanics as you tense over the steering wheel may have a bearing on that backache you have.
Examination: In the examination, the chiropractor will have you move your body in different ways, as he or she attempts to isolate the source of the problem.
The suggestion of Treatment: Then, the chiropractor will explain what problems have been found and explain a course of treatment.
Manipulation: A chiropractic adjustment is a quick and fast thrust applied to move the body back into alignment. There will often be an audible pop or crack sound as the joint pressure is released. Usually, unless the patient is very tense, this will be accompanied by a strong sensation of relief. It is as if you have been all bottled up, and someone uncorked you.
If a patient is tense before manipulation, the chiropractor will apply ice, massage, or electrically stimulate and relax the surrounding muscles to prepare your body for the manipulation.
Other Chiropractic Treatments: Besides the other treatment modalities listed above – like ultrasound, hot and cold therapy and traction – chiropractors also teach their patients stretches and exercises that help them maintain proper body alignment, even though situations like the icy mountain commute still occur. This will help you keep your body in alignment between treatments until you have full functioning restored. The exercises tend to be quick, simple, and feel good because they counteract the tensing that is causing your pain.
Also, some chiropractors help patients from their feet up by providing those with poor foot alignment orthotics. Basically, an orthotic is a new, individually molded insole in each shoe to support normal foot alignment and positioning as one walks and stands. For those patients with poor foot biomechanical alignment, orthotics help keep them in proper alignment as they go throughout their day. Some patients find relief from lower back pain with orthotics because orthotics support a proper gait.
The best way to describe emerging from a chiropractic appointment is that your body has heaved a sigh of relief. You will often feel less tense and physically better. Chiropractics is a means of placing the body back in alignment, so it can heal itself. Painkillers do not heal bodies, they cause more problems, such as addictions. Dr. Donald Littlejohn has the goal that he returns his Manhattan-area patients to normal body functioning by restoring natural alignment, assisting their bodies in self-healing.