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Is Chiropractic Care Preventative?

Doctor adjusting patient's backIf you have ever had back problems, or are concerned about developing them in the future, it is common to wonder about the role of chiropractic care. After all, since chiropractic care has been shown effective for treating back pain, it is common to wonder if it can prevent back pain, too.

As a licensed chiropractor for more than 20 years, I have many patients who wonder about the role that chiropractic can play in keeping them healthy as they age. In this article, I will explain what science says about what chiropractic can — and cannot — do in terms of preventative care.

How Chiropractic Care Prevents Back Pain

Back pain is the most obvious signal that something may be wrong with your back. However, the back pain itself often results from underlying biomechanical issues which can be successfully treated with chiropractic care or other therapies.

Treating underlying conditions that cause back pain instead of waiting until pain develops is an important type of preventative care. Some treatable conditions that can lead to back pain include:

Hypomobility: This condition happens when the ligaments in your spine are too short or tight. When this occurs, your spine becomes hypomobile, meaning that there is a decreased range of motion. Over time, this can lead to damage like degeneration of tissues in the spine.

Hypermobility: Hypermobility is the opposite of hypomobility. In this condition, the ligaments in your spine are too loose. This leads to an excessive range of motion. When you are hypermobile, your spine does not get the support it needs, causing instability and pain.

Inactivity: Besides being a major cause of back pain, inactivity is linked to degenerative disc disease of the spine and physical deconditioning, which can also cause back pain.

Repetitive movements: Repetitive motions like bending, pulling, reaching, straining, and twisting can harm the tissues in your back by straining and weakening them. This can lead to pain.

Trauma: Injuries like car crashes and falls can cause back pain.

Degenerative disc disease: Degenerative disc disease of the spine is a major cause of back pain. It can cause other painful complications like bulging and herniated discs.

Steps You Can Take to Prevent Back Pain

Your chiropractor can advise you on steps that you can take on your own to prevent back pain. Many of these steps are things that you can do at home. Your chiropractor can work hand-in-hand with your primary care provider to help you maintain your health and remain free of back pain.

Steps to avoid back pain include:

Exercise and stretch your back: Performing back-strengthening and stretching exercises at least 2 days weekly can help you keep your muscles healthy, preventing back pain

Keep good posture: Standing and sitting up straight can avoid postural issues leading to back pain

Don’t strain your back: When possible, avoid lifting heavy objects. If lifting something heavy is unavoidable, make your legs do the work instead of your back. You can accomplish this by bending your knees and keeping your back straight up-and-down, instead of bending at the waist to pick something up.

Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight puts extra strain on your back, leading to back pain. Becoming active, eating healthy, and losing weight can, therefore, prevent back pain.

Does Chiropractic Maintenance Care Prevent Recurrent Back Problems?

Doctors used to think that single episodes of back problems were temporary and did not even need treatment. However, doctors have learned more about back pain in recent years, and expert opinion has changed.

More recent studies suggest that if you have had episodes of low back pain in the past, chiropractic maintenance care can help you avoid more back problems in the future. This is especially true if chiropractic care has helped you overcome your previous issues with back pain.

Chiropractors are also trained to offer help or referrals for a range of maintenance care options, including:

  • Chiropractic adjustments
  • Exercise advice
  • Diet and weight loss advice
  • Lifestyle counseling

That said, everyone has a unique medical history and a different physiology. Your chiropractor will be able to tell you if maintenance chiropractic care can help avoid recurrent back pain in your specific situation.

Does Chiropractic Care Prevent Illnesses Besides Musculoskeletal Ones?

It is important for doctors to follow the science when it comes to treatments, a practice known as evidence-based care. Although some people may claim that chiropractic care can prevent illnesses other than musculoskeletal ones, the science says otherwise. Chiropractic care can prevent and treat many conditions related to the musculoskeletal system, however chiropractic has not been shown to prevent other health conditions.

That said, all the body’s systems are interrelated. Sometimes people find that addressing a musculoskeletal issue with chiropractic care translates into improvement in other health conditions, too. For example, certain musculoskeletal problems in the upper spine have been linked to high blood pressure. One study showed that fixing this issue with NUCCA chiropractic ended up also lowering blood pressure.

Chiropractors are experts in spinal care. For this reason, Dr. Packer believes that even if chiropractic helps with other medical conditions, it is not a substitute for medical care of non-spine related issues.

Preventative Care for Back Pain at Precision Spinal Care

At Precision Spinal Care, I can help you decide if preventative care for back pain is appropriate for you. As a certified NUCCA chiropractor and credentialed spine care specialist, I will review your medical records at your first visit. Then, I will fully assess your condition with a thorough spine exam and a discussion about your medical problems.

After your exam at the first visit, we will discuss my evaluation. If chiropractic maintenance care is not the best solution for your needs, I will recommend the type of specialist who is most appropriate for you.

If chiropractic care is the best way to meet your care goals, we will work together to develop a plan to meet your needs. I make sure to set reasonable expectations and milestones for your recovery. At regular intervals, I will reevaluate you to make sure you are meeting these goals and that chiropractic remains the best choice for you.

We understand that you need to explore all your options when you look for expert chiropractic care. At Precision Spinal Care, we are happy to help you determine the best way to address your specific needs and discuss all the options with you and your family.

Call our office at (757) 382-5555 to speak to the doctor or set up a consultation. You can also set up an appointment through our webpage.

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