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Understanding the Role of Chiropractors in Pain Management

Whether you’re an athlete trying to stay injury-free or a person with achy joints, chiropractors can help. They use manual manipulation and other techniques to improve misalignments in the spine and relieve pain.

Some people, including pregnant women or anyone taking blood-thinning medications, should not have spinal manipulation. A chiropractor will check your medical history before beginning treatment.

Spinal Manipulation

Spinal manipulation, or spinal mobilization, is the most common treatment chiropractors offer. It involves a sudden force applied to a joint in the spine, often producing an audible popping sound (though nothing actually “cracks” your back). Many people believe that the technique helps reduce pain in the back and neck, as well as headaches.

Spinal manipulation can reposition small joints, alleviating nerve pressure and decreasing inflammation. It also may inhibit the “pain-spasm” cycle, in which pain leads to increased muscle activity that causes even more pain.

While a few patients can experience side effects, such as dizziness or nausea, most patients have positive results from this treatment. However, it’s important to note that spinal manipulation does not cure all back pain. Those who do not respond to this treatment may benefit from a more gentle approach called spinal mobilization.


Chiropractors such as Brad Kern can diagnose a patient’s pain management needs by conducting a thorough physical examination and taking X-rays. They then develop a plan to treat the problem and monitor progress. They don’t prescribe pain medications but may recommend exercise, soft-tissue therapy, and dietary supplements.

A chiropractor’s primary treatment technique is manually manipulating the spine or other joints to restore movement and improve function. This is referred to as chiropractic adjustment or spinal manipulation. It involves using the hands to apply controlled force to a joint to improve alignment quickly.

When a joint is stiff, swollen, or misaligned due to injury, poor posture, or age-related wear and tear, it can affect the surrounding muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This can sometimes lead to muscle weakness, pain, numbness, or tingling. To avoid this, chiropractors use joint mobilization to move the joint into a better position and reduce the pressure on surrounding structures.

Soft Tissue Therapy

Soft Tissue Therapy manipulates and rehabilitates all your soft tissues, such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This hands-on process reduces the tightness and stiffness in your soft tissue that causes pain and inhibits your ability to move.

Cellular trauma will occur when your body experiences a load that exceeds its physiological capacity, creating micro-tears in the soft tissue. The body will then attempt to protect the damaged area by forming knots and adhesions and depositing scar tissue around these areas. The formation of these restrictions in the soft tissue impedes its ability to function, causing the movement patterns to change, which increases your risk of injury.

Eliminating the knots and adhesions will re-establish the full range of motion in your soft tissue, which will decrease restriction and limit the compensation strategies in the movements of your joints. In addition, restoring the proper length to your tissues will allow your nervous system to communicate more efficiently, reducing the potential for injuries in a sport where milliseconds and millimeters matter.

Collaborative Care

A patient is more likely to feel considered and valued by a collaborative healthcare team. This can be achieved by promoting a culture of interdepartmental cooperation, which requires putting aside departmental pride and encouraging interaction between physicians, nurses, physiotherapists, pharmacists, and others. This allows patients to hear the same information from various health professionals, giving them more chances to understand and learn it.

One way to facilitate this is by implementing a collaboration model of care, where clinical goals and outcomes are constantly measured using various evidence-based tools. This means that healthcare professionals will actively change a treatment plan when symptoms don’t improve as expected until they do. This approach can significantly improve patient satisfaction and has been shown to cut down on medical costs as well. Those patients who received collaborative care saw an average of a 21 percent reduction in their overall medical expenses compared to those receiving standard treatment.

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