Chiropractic care means “hand treatment.” According to the modern interpretation, it is a method of therapeutic-mechanical influence, with the doctor’s hands working on the patient’s musculoskeletal system to eliminate mobility disorders.
The method is subdivided into three main types:
- relaxation (massage, orthotics),
- mobilization (stretching, springing, rocking),
- manipulation (a complex of pushing and jerking differentially directed movements).
In traditional medicine, сhiropractic care can be used as monotherapy or in combination with other types of treatment (physiotherapy, therapeutic blockades, acupuncture, etc.). The combination of therapeutic massage, manual therapy, and physiotherapy is the most effective since massage and physiotherapy help to sharply increase tissue blood flow, muscle relaxation, and adaptation of the patient to the therapeutic effect.
The Main Objective of Manual Therapy
According to the classical view, manual therapy aims to eliminate movement blockages in the motor segments, especially in the vertebral joint and others. Some people voice concerns about the side effects and contraindications of manual therapy. However, side effects are unlikely if your doctor is professional, competent in diagnosing pathology, and can choose the right exposure method. It is not always necessary to apply manipulations to the spine — in some cases, mobilization is enough.
Indications for Manual Therapy
The main indications for the application of chiropractic techniques are all diseases that lead to violations of motor stereotypes and the formation of blockades of movements in the motor segments:
- Scoliosis, kyphoscoliosis, consequences of rickets suffered in childhood;
- Osteochondrosis, spondyloarthritis;
- Myofascial pain syndromes.
Contraindications for Manual Therapy
Absolute contraindications are only the pathologies listed below:
- Tumors of the spine, joints, and other areas of the musculoskeletal system;
- Infectious processes in the musculoskeletal system (osteomyelitis, rheumatism, tuberculosis);
- Acute inflammatory diseases of the joints, membranes of the spinal cord, and brain;
- Fresh traumatic processes in the spine and joints, as well as conditions after recent spine surgery;
- Discogenic myelopathies and myelopathies of the thoracic, abdominal, and pelvic organs in the state of exacerbation.
Only the doctor decides on the choice of treatment method for the patient. And since chiropractic care is mostly an outpatient specialty, doctors have to deal more often with relative contraindications. However, the best chiropractor never shuns consultations with vertebral neurologists, neurologists, traumatologists, and rheumatologists for a more accurate and reliable diagnosis.
When to Consult
The main symptoms worth seeing a chiropractor about are pain syndromes in the spine or other parts of the musculoskeletal system, stiffness and sluggishness of the spine, “shooting through” the arm, leg, or buttock, the spine getting “stuck” during certain movements or while you’re taking a deep breath, and posture disorders. All the above mentioned especially applies to people whose work involves constantly sitting at the computer or standing at the table or machine tool (all office workers, teachers, lecturers, and factory workers).
The essence of the complex treatment (therapeutic massage, manual therapy, physiotherapy) lies in the restoration of muscle tissue blood flow, normal muscle tone, optimization of motor stereotype, removal of edema and compression on the nervous structures, restoration of posture, and, most importantly, of the vital tonus, efficiency, and quality of life.
In the hands of a competent and experienced specialist, manual therapy brings only relief and recovery. It consists in a comprehensive approach to the patient rather than mindless “snapping” of the vertebrae.