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Chiropractic Care and Back Pain, Whiplash, and Headaches

Throughout their lifetime, an average of 80% of people in the United States will suffer from some form of back pain. Chiropractic treatment for back pain has been so successful for so many people, that Chiropractors are often referred to as ‘Back Doctors’. While Chiropractors do specialize in the care of the spine, spinal problems not only result in back pain, but a wide variety of health problems throughout the body.

In trying to determine the effectiveness of Chiropractic care in relation to lower back pain, a panel appointed by the U.S. Agency for Health Care Policy and Research reviewed almost 4 thousand studies on acute lower back pain treatments. The panel rejected the effectiveness of treatments ranging from bedrest to injections, and even surgery (barring the rare extreme case). When it came to chiropractic care and spinal manipulation, however, they deemed that chiropractic care is helpful for patients with acute lower back pain.

Chiropractic care has also been studied for its effect on the symptoms of long term, or chronic, back pain. It has been shown that chiropractic care is beneficial in the treatment of chronic lower back pain, and is helpful in relieving a person’s symptoms. In both the treatment of sudden, or acute, lower back pain, and the treatment of long term, or chronic, lower back pain, Chiropractic care has been deemed useful, and even superior, to medical management of symptoms.

Chiropractic treatment is not limited to injuries or pain in the lower back. It has also been used to treat neck pain and neck injuries.
A common occurring neck injury that nearly everyone is familiar with is whiplash. Whiplash occurs when, by way of a sudden impact, the body moves violently forward or backward with the head staying in its original position. The head then is thrust into the opposite direction from the body, before the neck lurches it in the other direction in a movement that is over compensatory. In extreme cases, whiplash can result in bone fractures, however it is more common for the injury to solely affect the soft tissue. Whiplash can cause pulling, stretching, or tearing of the muscles and ligaments in the neck.

There are some common symptoms and side-effects of a whiplash injury, though the range of time that they present themselves can vary greatly. Symptoms can occur anywhere from a couple of hours after the initial injury, to sometimes years after the initial injury occurs.

The most common symptoms of a whiplash injury are neck pain, headaches, and shoulder pain. The headaches can range from being localized to one area, or spread generally over the head, and can be present constantly or are more sporadic. This type of unspecified symptom, can often lead to misdiagnosis, making the sufferer potentially a victim of unnecessary pain. Other symptoms include: difficulty swallowing, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, nausea, fatigue, weakness, irritability, dizziness, and vertigo. Also, tensed or torn muscles can cause pain which radiates from the back of the neck into one, or both of the backs of the shoulders. This pain is described as being burning, prickling, or tingling.

Chiropractic care has been proven as an effective treatment method for whiplash injuries. It is often said to be even more useful than other medical alternatives or intervention. What has been found useful in the treatment of whiplash injuries is mobilization, manipulation, and exercise, which can be combined with over the counter pain remedies. These are the common practices involved in chiropractic treatment.

Headaches, a common affliction for most people, are another source of pain which can be treated with chiropractic care. An astounding 15 million or more Americans suffer from persistent recurring headaches with no source.

Chiropractic care can elicit relief from numerous types of headaches, from tension headaches to migraines. Research has been done into the cause of different types of headaches, and it has been found that they mostly can be related to the structure of the neck. Chiropractic care was found to reduce hours of headache pain originating from the neck by 69%, as well as reducing the intensity of the remaining headaches.

Migraine headaches, one of the most severely painful headaches, have also been shown to respond to chiropractic care. It has even been shown that almost 75% of migraine patients found relief from chiropractic treatment.

Chiropractic care is beneficial for many types of pain, aside from the lower back pain typically associated with the name Chiropractic. It has been proven an effective treatment for neck and lower back injuries, as well as headache and various other types of pain. Sufferers of any type of body pain mentioned, as well as others, may find it beneficial to look into chiropractic care before seeking potentially invasive medical intervention.

Michael J. Campo, DC
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