Back pain basics: when to see a chiropractor
Back pain affects as many as 85 per cent of Albertans at some point in their lives. Back pain can affect anyone, regardless of age, and can impede even simple, routine activities like walking, sitting and sleeping.
If you’ve experienced it, you know that it can be frustrating and exhausting, and depending on how severe, mind-numbingly, life-alteringly painful.
Back pain is considered a musculoskeletal (MSK) condition – an MSK condition chiropractors are experts at treating. Back pain is actually one of the top reasons why nearly one million Albertans each year seek treatment from a chiropractor.
“Back pain resulting from injury or trauma is more evolving than chronic back pain. Early and proper management for an acute injury is really important,” says Dr. Brian Gushaty, an Edmonton chiropractor and Registrar of the Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors. “Outcomes are far better with earlier intervention.”
Back pain may seem like a simple concern; however, it often carries more serious undertones that can be detected with the help of a chiropractor.
“Patients will often say, ‘I thought it would go away on its own.’ And while it certainly can in four to six weeks, that is not always the case,” said Dr. Gushaty. “Sometimes back pain can resolve itself, but if the pain is not lessening, or is getting worse, it’s best to see your chiropractor as soon as possible. Early intervention may prevent your condition from becoming chronic.”
Chiropractors are experts who are trained to not only diagnose, but also treat musculoskeletal conditions that lead to back, neck and head pain.
Your chiropractor will work with you to ensure the optimal, conservative approach to injuries caused by car accidents, whiplash, sports and workplace accidents, as well as daily sprains and muscle strains.
Chiropractors use a variety of diagnostic methods and treatment options including: hands-on spinal manipulation therapy (an adjustment), activator, decompression tables, flexion distraction, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, electromyography and radiography. Your chiropractor works with other healthcare providers and will refer you if you require medications or surgery.
If you’re ever in doubt about back pain, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. “Seek expert consultation — it could be nothing, but early intervention always leads to better outcomes if it is something substantial,” says Dr. Gushaty.
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