Most people assume that chiropractors are good only for neck and back pain. And while they do treat a lot of that, there’s plenty else they can do. Chiropractic medicine focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems and how they affect the rest of the body. “Many people don’t know that most chiropractors have postgraduate training and board certification in areas such as pediatrics, clinical nutrition, neurology, orthopedics, physical rehabilitation, sports/athletic injury, and acupuncture,” says Gregory D. Fox, a chiropractor and president of Maine Chiropractic Association and director and founder of Heritage Integrative Healthcare, based in Maine.
That said, while chiropractors can help with a variety of symptoms and problems, there are many things best left to the MDs. “Medical doctors are better at treating acute emergencies, infections, chronic diseases, fractures, injuries that require surgeries, tumors, and broken bones,” says Gabrielle Francis, a naturopathic doctor, chiropractor, and acupuncturist in New York City. Although chiropractors learn about the whole body, they are mainly specialists in musculoskeletal injuries. “Anything outside of this realm is better left for medical doctors,” notes Sunil Pullukat, a chiropractor at Chicago Sport and Wellness. (Want to pick up some healthier habits? Sign up to get daily healthy living tips delivered straight to your inbox!)
Here are a few reasons you might want to see a chiropractor.
This is, of course, the cornerstone of what many chiropractors do. “Chiropractors are able to do a manipulation to the sacroiliac joint—which links the pelvis to the lowest part of the spine—to relieve back pain,” says Pullukat. Some chiropractors are certified in the Active Release Technique, which removes scar tissue from muscles and relieves pain. “A combination of ART and spinal manipulation is a great option for relieving lower-back pain,” says Pullukat. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) notes that while the cause of lower-back pain is often unknown, some people do benefit from chiropractic therapy.
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