Every day there are people who suffer with pain on a daily basis without hope of relief. GPs can’t do anything about it except control it with medications or try to stop it with expensive and often even more painful surgeries.
Spinal manipulation can often offer patients an alternative for treatment of back, neck, shoulder and even head pain when traditional therapies have failed.
What is Spinal Manipulation
Spinal Manipulation, also called spinal manipulative therapy, combines the moving and jolting of joints with massage, exercise and physical therapy. The goal of the therapy is to relieve pressure on your joints and muscles to improve nerve function, and reduce pain and inflammation.
Spinal manipulation is usually conducted in a licensed physician’s or a chiropractor’s office and is used to treat back, neck, shoulder and even headache pain. Some chiropractors also believe it can help other disorders such as menstrual pain and sinus problems.
Does It Work?
There are two camps of people that appear when you discuss the success of spinal manipulation. There are those that swear by it and believe it works and then there are those that believe it is ineffective and dangerous. There are very few studies on spinal manipulation.
In 2007, one study found that spinal manipulation was moderately effective in easing chronic pain in the lower back lasting four or more weeks. Other studies have also shown it effective in treating pain in the neck as well. Still other studies have shown that spinal manipulation may result in mild to moderate adverse effects, though the incidences of these are unknown due to poor reporting.
In the end, your experience will dictate what you think about the treatment should you choose to try it to help relieve your pain.
Is Spinal Manipulation Safe?
When spinal manipulation is performed by a physician that is both trained and licensed to perform the procedures, it is considered safe. But like any treatment, there are risks and the potential for serious complications.
Some of the most serious complications are herniated disks, compressed nerves, and in some cases it can cause a stroke or even death.
Spinal manipulation is not for everyone. People who have severe osteoporosis, are at risk for stroke, suffer from spinal cancer or have an unstable spine should not undergo spinal manipulative therapy as they are at an even great risk of experiencing potentially dangerous complications.
Because of the dangers associated with the therapy and the lack of proven long term benefits, it remains a controversial therapy today.
The Benefits of Spinal Manipulation
There are many benefits to spinal manipulation that can make it worth a trip to your local chiropractor.
The most obvious benefit is relief of pain. Spinal manipulation can almost instantly relieve some or all of your pain you are experiencing in your lower back, back, neck, head and shoulders. Some patients have even reported being pain free in as little as one visit to the chiropractor.
Spinal manipulation can also help you improve your flexibility. If used along with exercise, you can strengthen your core muscles and improve your movement in your back, shoulders and neck. This will give you better flexibility and help you feel better at the same time.
If you have explored all your options to stop your pain and your only alternative is surgery, then you may want to consider spinal manipulation as an alternative before you set foot into an operating room. In some cases, the therapy can reduce or eliminate your symptoms preventing you from having to go under the knife.
Reduce Dependence on Drugs
Finally, using spinal manipulation can help you reduce your dependence on prescription and over the counter pain medication. These medications often dull your mind, harm your internal organs and can even leave you hopelessly addicted to them in the process. All because you were in pain. Spinal manipulation can help you reduce your pain symptoms thereby reducing your need to take those prescription pain pills in the first place. Once you stop taking those pain pills, you will begin to feel better as you wont be in pain or in a fog because of the medication.
Spinal manipulation is still a controversial treatment but for those of you that are in chronic pain and don’t want to undergo surgery that may or may not even work, it could be the answer to your pain problem. Before undergoing the therapy, however, be sure you talk with your doctor and chiropractor to see if it is right for you in order to minimize the risks associated with the treatment.
Featured photo credit: Alisha Vargas via flickr.com