Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts for longer than three months and, in some cases, the pain can last for years. Between 10% and 20% of the world's population is living with chronic pain at any one time and it is one of the leading causes of disability. Many people living with chronic pain hit a brick wall when trying to access effective treatment that will improve their quality of life from standard medical sources. A chiropractor takes a different approach to treat chronic pain and chiropractic care can be the starting point of your life completely changing for the better.
Can chiropractic care help with chronic pain?
Some cases of chronic pain have an obvious cause that stems from injury or trauma but, in most cases, the pain is non-specific but related to the musculoskeletal system in some way. In these cases, patients are sometimes told that their pain is "all in their head" or their only treatment options are pain medication or surgery. In the case of pain medication, this isn't actually treating the cause of the problem. Instead, it is only masking the symptoms, and it has the potential of unpleasant side effects as well as patients building up a tolerance to the drug. On the other hand, surgery has some inherent risks involved and it can be expensive.
A chiropractor doesn't aim to mask the symptoms of chronic pain and will offer treatments that are entirely non-invasive. When approached by a patient with chronic pain, chiropractors will take a holistic approach that looks at the patient's history, their current physical presentation, and their psychosocial circumstances to determine where their body and mind sit in relation to their chronic pain. The care that a chiropractor offers is centered on the patient and their needs and includes supporting the patient in their own self-management of their condition.
Chiropractors understand that the musculoskeletal system is complex, with different parts of the system relying on all of the other parts to be in balance. When the system is out of balance because of injury or other reasons, this can affect entirely different parts of the system. This can result in referred pain that is felt far away from the initial injury.
Chiropractic care can help to bring your body back into balance so that these stresses aren't felt throughout the system, which can help to reduce your pain. This treatment is centered on the spine as the core of the system and the element that most keeps it in balance, but it will also focus on other parts of your body. As well as adjustments to your spine, your chiropractor can offer you exercises to help strengthen the muscles that support the areas of your body that need it, as well as stretches to ensure that your connective tissue is supple. You may also be offered other pain-relieving treatments, as well as education and advice about your posture, exercises you can do at home, and ergonomic training.
Chiropractic care for chronic pain involves a careful physical examination to uncover the root cause of the pain as well as a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses all the different factors that could be feeding into your chronic pain condition. Chiropractic care can give you real, long-lasting relief from your chronic pain as well as empower you with the skills that you need to prevent it from coming back.