Sometimes, chiropractors get pigeon-holed to where people think that we are only beneficial in reducing back pain. But did you know that is only a portion of the conditions we treat? In fact, you might be interested to know the surprising conditions chiropractors treat regularly that most people think can only be treated by other types of physicians.
Here are four conditions that I treat regularly – and most chiropractors see as a standard part of their practice.
Migraines and tension headaches
Research shows that chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation, is an effective way to treat tension headaches and headaches that begin in the neck. These chiropractic adjustments can improve spinal function and alleviate the stress on your nervous system.
I treat many patients who have chronic headaches. My goal is always to help correct any neuromusculoskeletal sources of a headache (nerves, muscles and bones of the body). When working with a patient, I like to perform a spinal exam to determine if chiropractic care could alleviate the pain. If a headache may be caused or aggravated by any misaligned vertebrae in the spine (subluxation), it could be creating undue nerve interference. Spinal manipulations often can resolve this.
Stress and anxiety
Stress comes from three main sources: our environment, our bodies and our emotions. We all have stress…but for some of us, stress along with anxiety are ongoing conditions. For these folks, chiropractic adjustments may help the body manage and process this stress in a healthier way.
With adjustments, I’m able to release muscle tension – one part of chronic stress. In doing so, I can return the body to a more balanced state with alignment and a reduction in the nerve irritation that created the uneven pressures on the bones to start with. Studies show that chiropractic adjustments turn down the sympathetic, or fight or flight part of the nervous system. Adjustments also improve circulation, which also helps the brain to know to turn off the “fight or flight” response and start the healing process.
Once a rather obscure condition, most of us today know someone suffering from Fibromyalgia (or perhaps we do ourselves). With the cause of this condition still unknown, two percent of the U.S. population have this chronic disorder, involving widespread pain and sensitivity throughout the entire musculoskeletal system.
I am able to use adjustments, along with a soft tissue technique called myofascial release, to help my Fibro patients get some relief. This helps to move out the congestion of inflammatory biproducts in the tissue, release trigger points and breaks up adhesions between the muscle and it’s casing. For my fibromyalgia patients we also give particular focus to turning down inflammatory pathways through nutrition, detoxing the liver, healing the gut, stress management and vitamin protocols.
One patient of mine has gotten relief from not one but two of her conditions (including fibromyalgia!):
“Through my chiropractic care with Dr. Sharman, my fibromyalgia has been so much more manageable. She reduces my muscle pain and uses protocols to reduce inflammation in my tissues. Also, my tension headaches have completely resolved. Before I saw Dr. Sharman, my tension headaches were debilitating. I saw so many different doctors who gave me so many different tests and types of treatments, but nothing worked until I came to Life Care. Dr. Sharman was the only one who was able to help me. It has been years since I have had a tension headache. Now, I enjoy my periodic chiropractic “tune ups” that keep me dancing at 66 years old.” – Gail Leigh
Allergies occur when the immune system encounters an irritant and mistakes it as harmful, causing inflammation. The body goes into attack mode with an often aggressive, irritating response. This generates the allergy symptoms that make us feel crummy: itching, sneezing, nausea and sometimes vomiting.
By improving the communication throughout the nervous system including the brain and spinal cord, chiropractic care can help regulate and coordinate the body’s reaction to allergens. A weak immune system can be strengthened by correcting the misalignment in the spine that disrupts the essential pathways between the brain and spine. This can de-amplify allergic responses.
A strong, well-functioning immune system can deal with irritants and take them on BEFORE they can wreak havoc in your body. So keep your spine aligned – and you’ll have taken the first step to a healthier immune system.
Aside from the specific techniques mentioned to address headaches, stress, fibromyalgia and allergies, most chiropractors have a few more “tools” in our toolkit that may not be suggested to a sufferer by their regular physician.
I find that I’m also often recommending:
- Nutritional supplements and sometimes an entire vitamin protocol
- Relaxation strategies
- Techniques for improving your back posture
- Environmental modifications (ergonomics, especially for the work environment)
- Exercises to be done at home to keep the improvements going
And the four conditions mentioned in this article are only some of the surprising conditions chiropractors treat with success. If you are struggling with a condition and not getting relief, let us know. We can schedule a consultation and assess if there is more we can do to help you feel your best!