Chiropractic physicians are moving into the medical mainstream. You’ll find them at many U.S. medical centers — including Cleveland Clinic — often working side-by-side with your primary care physician and specialist.
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Chiropractors are adept at relieving pain from new and old injuries from acute and chronic conditions. They are especially skilled at treating:
- Back and neck pain
- Pelvic pain
- Shoulder, elbow and wrist pain
- Hip, knee and ankle pain
Primary care with a twist
Chiropractic physicians provide primary care but focus on your muscles, ligaments, joints, nerves and surrounding tissues. Rather than prescribing medication, they offer:
- Exercise prescriptions to improve muscular endurance and overall function and to reduce stresses on the body
- Soft-tissue therapy, including active release therapy, myofascial release therapy and cross-tissue friction massage
- Joint bracing and taping, including Kinesio Tape and Leukotape
- Manipulation and mobilization of the spine and joints
- Nutrition recommendations
Today’s chiropractic physicians tend to specialize in areas such as wellness, sports, nutrition and neurology.
Wellness chiropractors consider “the whole patient, not just the area that hurts,” says Anthony J. Wyrwas, DC, DACRB, DAAPM, CCSP, CSCS, a wellness chiropractor in the Center for Integrative Medicine and certified sports chiropractor.
Dr. Wyrwas relies primarily on exercise therapy, soft-tissue work and home exercise programs. His advanced training in nutrition allows him to help patients lose weight to relieve pressure on joints and to correct posture.
Spinal adjustments were once the chiropractor’s stock-in-trade — but no longer.
“I only adjust 30 to 50 percent of my patients now,” says Dr. Wyrwas.
Success since ancient times
Yet manipulation, which originated in Egypt, certainly has its place. “Manipulation dates back thousands of years, and treatments that don’t work don’t stand the test of time,” says sports chiropractor Tom Torzok, DC, in the Center for Sports Health.
Dr. Torzok treats athletes exclusively. He explains that manipulation helps:
- Mechanically, by improving or restoring motion
- Neurologically, by reducing pain
- Physically, by decreasing protective muscle spasms
“The effects of manipulation may not seem significant. But if they came in pill form, they would dwarf the sales of the most popular drug,” says Dr. Torzok.
Gain — without pain
Dr. Wyrwas notes that treatments generally do not hurt. “Everyone has a full exam and workup first,” he says. “The treatment prescription is based on what is best for the patient and what the patient is most comfortable with.”
Experienced chiropractors can easily make adjustments for patients with complex conditions, including high blood pressure and diabetes.
For example, patients on certain blood thinners should steer clear of manipulation. “No problem,” says Dr. Wyrwas. “We work around that in conjunction with the patient’s medical doctor or primary care physician.”
Some patients with chronic pain respond to manipulation under anesthesia, a treatment that is administered in the hospital, he adds.
Chiropractic visits can be short-term or long-term. The great majority of chiropractic services are covered by insurance companies, which consider chiropractic care to be cost-effective.