Is chiropractic about treating back pain, or is it spinal healthcare? Which is it?
Well, it’s both.
It really depends what your needs or goals are. It should always be your decision.
It’s crucial that your chiropractor and you are on the same page with respect as to why you chose that chiropractic office for your healthcare needs. In fact, I believe that’s a big reason chiropractic sometimes gets such bad press in Quebec. The question I hear most often from new patients is, “Is it true I have to keep coming forever?” Of course you don’t.
If your goal is relief of pain, it might not take that many visits to achieve pain relief. Countless studies demonstrate how effective chiropractic is for relief of pain. Here’s a recent one that the New York Times covered – For Neck Pain, Chiropractic and Exercise are Better Than Drugs. As you may have guessed by the title, chiropractic and exercise definitely outperform drugs, both in the short term and with the long term follow up studies too.
However, chiropractic can and is used to improve spinal health too. But what exactly does that mean?
Like any joints in the body – spinal joints (and vertebrae) react the same way to a lack of motion. They decay. You can call decay whatever you want – degeneration, arthritis, wear and tear, it means the same thing. If a joint isn’t moving through a normal range of motion, regularly, it’s going wear more quickly. This is a little simplistic. If we have abnormal motion, a joint will wear more quickly too.
So the goal of a chiropractic adjustment is to restore normal motion. It’s nothing magical, or mystical. We just want your joints (in particular, your spinal joints) to move normally. So then you can imagine that if you want to keep your spine young and supple, you have to keep it moving. If your goal is to keep your spine healthy and slow or stop spinal decay, you can see that you’ll require periodic chiropractic check-ups. I haven’t even touched on the other health benefits of maintaining a healthy spine, but will do so in a follow-up post.
It’s much like visiting your dentist when you have a tooth ache, or visiting your dentist periodically to keep your teeth healthy and prevent tooth decay.
So to answer the question – Is chiropractic for pain relief or spinal healthcare? Again, the answer is both. It just depends on what your goals are. And if you’re worried that once you start seeing a chiropractor, you have to keep coming forever – don’t. You don’t have to keep coming for chiropractic adjustments, especially if your goal is pain relief.
But remember, your spine protects your nervous system and your nervous system controls everything you do. If your spine isn’t working properly, you can be sure your nervous system isn’t working properly either.
Chiropractic adjustments keep your spine and nervous system working at their best.
A healthy spine is a key component to your good health.