The Role of Chiropractic in Treatment Beyond the Resolution of Symptoms
- Do you have the same nagging injury that never seems to go away?
- Are you suffering needlessly with pain?
- Are you fed up with taking painkillers?
- Do you want to find out what is causing your pain?
If your answer is ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then chiropractic may be a solution for you.
Typically, the chiropractic patient enters the office with some kind of pain. Back pain, neck pain, hip pain, leg pain, arm pain, shoulder pain, etc. comes in all different shapes and sizes. However, all of these pains share one common thread, they are all symptoms. Symptoms tell you that something in your body has gone wrong. They serve as a warning system to alert you of a deeper problem. Healing occurs regardless of the symptom(s) experienced. The quality of healing depends on the effectiveness of locating and addressing the cause.
Many people in today’s society experience pain due to abnormal structure of the neuromusculoskeletal system. The neuromusculoskeletal system comprises the human frame and posture. Abnormal postural structure not only predisposes the human body’s systems to abnormal function, but may ultimately result in an injury or chronic condition.
Altered alignment of the human frame may lead to poor healing and repair of the body tissues. These architectural and pathological changes may occur in muscle, ligament, bone and central/peripheral nervous system. Chiropractic aims at therapeutically restoring these pathological deformations of the neuromusculoskeletal system and spine to allow for optimum function of the human frame and nervous system.
Correct spinal mechanics and the health of the whole neuromusculoskeletal system are interdependent. Therefore, chiropractic treatment focuses on restoring proper spinal mechanics which will, in turn, influence the function of the nervous system.
Chiropractic rehabilitation enhances the healing process and assists the body in its efforts to heal itself by controlling the long-term degenerative changes in the human frame and posture. Care is based upon the human process of healing. The healing process is categorized into fairly distinct progressive stages. Consequently, conservative chiropractic rehabilitative care flows with these stages. It is not the intention of this article to provide an in-depth review of rehabilitative chiropractic care and/or the healing process; rather, the purpose is to highlight some of the pertinent concepts in understanding how one can achieve better health through chiropractic care.
Acute inflammatory stage.
This initial stage of response to injury lasts up to 72 hours. The goals of care during this phase of healing are directed at reducing the reactive inflammatory response and eventual removal of debris from the tissues. Clinical management includes the use of chiropractic adjustments, ice, heat, gentle range of motion exercises, and passive stretching.
The repair stage lasts from 72 hr. up to 6 wk. and is characterized by the synthesis and deposition of collagen (scar formation) in an attempt to regenerate damaged tissue. During this stage the body’s main concern is the increase of the quantity of collagen to replaced damaged tissue. However, this new scar formation is not fully oriented in the right direction and is of a mechanically inferior quality. Clinical goals during this phase include freeing early adhesions and maintaining muscular tone and ligamentous integrity.
This stage lasts from 3 wk. to 12 months or more (depending on the severity of the injury), during which time the collagen scar is remodeled to increase the function of the new tissue. The rehabilitative goals primarily involve improving the quality, orientation and strength of the collagen. This is accomplished by alignment of global body positions and posture, increasing functional capacity, reducing stress/strain on involved injured structures, and management of disability.
So, when does the healing occur? It starts immediately after the injury and can last for over a year depending on the severity of the injury and the action steps taken to help the body heal efficiently. Addressing an injury as early as possible using chiropractic care can result in the best possible scenario of full recovery. Addressing your chronic injuries now results in the return of a pain free lifestyle, doing all the things you love to do.
*Troyanovich SJ, Harrison DE, Harrison DD. Structural Rehabilitation of the Spine and Posture: Rationale for Treatment Beyond the Resolution of Symptoms. JMPT 1998; 21(1): 37-50.