How Psychologists and Chiropractors Can Work Together

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The link between psychological health and chiropractic therapy may not be immediately obvious, but there is a clear connection nonetheless. Both psychologists and chiropractors help alleviate pain – psychological counseling reduces mental pain, while chiropractic therapy reduces physical pain. Psychologists and chiropractors can work together to improve the overall physical and mental well-being of an individual.

The Root of Pain
The physical manifestation of pain in the body may often have underlying emotional reasons. Patients who approach chiropractors for relief from chronic pain may see immediate relief after a session, but if the pain is rooted in the emotional domain it may reappear soon. Some psychological collaboration can bring enduring pain relief and holistic healing without resorting to pharmaceuticals. Behavioral tools and coping strategies can be used to make the pain relief gained from chiropractic sessions more long-lasting.

Strategies to cope with Internal and External Stressors
Every single person on the planet goes through stress – caused by both internal and external factors. People have different coping mechanisms to deal with these stresses. Some may adopt passive coping strategies by minimizing their own personal responsibility for the situation and attributing the reason for their pain on others. As long as they follow their physicians’ recommendations they may fare well, but many don’t follow instructions and go back and forth in pain – finding temporary relief after a session, but then struggling with pain again. Studies have found that passive coping strategies are generally maladaptive.

Adopting active coping strategies is a more effective way of pain management. This requires the patients to take personal responsibility and be proactive about adopting enduring pain relief options. Active coping strategies may involve taking medication, making appropriate lifestyle adjustments, exercising every day, eating healthy, and even cognitive behavioral exercises.

Combination of Chiropractic Therapy and Psychological Counseling
Anxiety disorders and depression affects millions of people in the country. These conditions are treatable but not all of them receive proper care. Anxiety and depression can slowly chip away at a person’s emotional stability, and it inevitably manifests as physical illnesses or chronic pain.

Persistent stress leads to elevated levels of a hormone called cortisol in the body because the brain is continually preparing the body to be in a highly alert state, thus making any sort of relaxation difficult. This can bring down the body’s natural immunity and create a negative mind-body feedback that may lead to more physical and mental illnesses.

Chiropractic therapy in combination with psychological counseling is a highly effective holistic treatment option. Therapeutic chiropractic therapy relaxes the body and accelerates the healing of both the body and the mind. Since the body is relaxed, the patients are also more open and receptive to psychological counseling, thus eliminating negative patterns and creating a positive feedback loop.

Chiropractic therapy cleanses the body of toxins that are built up in the muscles. While soothing the pain of the body, it also creates a calm and peaceful state of mind. A collaboration of psychologists and chiropractors can create holistic healing and enduring relief to millions of people suffering from chronic emotional and physical pain.

Nidha Reddy writes about chiropractic issues that can help people reduce their levels of stress. Nidha has additional certifications including the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Strong Interest Inventory, and Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation (FIRO).

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Why Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy Makes Sense

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According to a study published in BMC Pregnancy Childbirth, there is a remarkably high prevalence of lower back pain during pregnancy, varying from mild discomfort to severe debilitating pain that can last for months.

 

Chiropractic care during pregnancy is one of the most effective ways to reduce or even prevent the pain and discomfort that are caused by postural and pelvic changes during this time. Chiropractic therapy is the art and science of adjusting the spinal column and other joints of the body that may have become misaligned, thus reducing nerve stress and pain, and improving overall health.

 

Is chiropractic care during pregnancy safe?

Chiropractic therapy typically includes caring for pregnant patients as well, facilitating a pleasant pregnancy and uncomplicated delivery. Massage, yoga, and chiropractic care are the commonly sought after alternative therapies during pregnancy.

 

Pregnancy is the time when you need to care for your physical and emotional well-being the most. A study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine concludes that chiropractic care during pregnancy has been found to be safe and effective in treating musculoskeletal symptoms in pregnant women.

 

Changes that happen to your body during pregnancy

Obvious changes to the body and posture start appearing during the second trimester of the pregnancy. The lumbar curve of the spine increases to accommodate the growing uterus. To balance the protruding abdomen, many women lean backward while walking or standing, thus putting extra pressure on the pelvis.

 

These changes affect not only the lower back and pelvis, but also the feet, ankles, and knees. The posture changes, and water retention (edema) can also occur in the ankles and knees.

 

During the second and third trimesters, night sweats may occur, thus making it difficult to sleep. Also the growing abdomen can add to the difficulty in finding a comfortable sleeping posture.

 

In addition to the bodily changes, mothers also experience a wide range of emotions – especially first time mothers. These feelings can range from excitement to nervousness and worry.

 

It is important to care for pregnant women throughout the duration of the pregnancy so the physical and emotional changes that occur can be easily dealt with. In addition to regular hospital visits and checkups, alternative therapeutic avenues also help significantly.

 

Benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy

During pregnancy, your body changes to create a nurturing environment to accommodate the demands of the baby. Pelvic and postural changes, protruding abdomen, and a curved back can result in spine and joints that are misaligned.

 

Chiropractic care during pregnancy can help with the following:

  • A healthy pregnancy and easy labor
  • Reducing the chances of cesarean delivery
  • Reducing morning sickness and indigestion
  • Eliminating and preventing lower back, neck, or joint pain
  • Controlling edema and sciatica
  • Controlling the swelling and pain in the knees

 

Chiropractic care ensures pelvic balance. The baby will have enough room for development and can easily move into the correct position for birth, thus reducing the chances of breech birth or potential cesarean deliveries.

 

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3 Differences Between Chiropractic and Massage Therapy

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Massage and chiropractic may appear similar from the outside, but they have some major differences. Both promote natural and holistic healing of the body without resorting to invasive treatment, but in practice, massage therapy and chiropractic care are completely different from one another.

 

Educational qualifications and training

The most important difference between a masseuse and chiropractor is that a chiropractor is a doctor who has completed undergraduate education for four years and a doctorate of chiropractic program for another four years. Chiropractors take in-depth classes, go through a residency program, and receive extensive training about the human body and various ailments. A licensed massage therapist has to complete the minimum hours of training mandated by state, but they do not undertake a doctorate program.

 

Chiropractors can request bloodwork, x-rays etc. to investigate why the patient is experiencing pain. A chiropractor can make medical diagnoses. Massage therapists use their hands to relieve muscle pain and stiffness, but they cannot make medical diagnoses or request any kind of diagnostic testing.

 

Differences in the way they practice

Chiropractors treat the entire spinal and musculoskeletal system. Whether the problem is related to muscles, ligaments, tendons, or bones, chiropractic practice can address all of it. Chiropractors may also prescribe specific exercises as part of the treatment. They advise patients on the diet to follow and the vitamins to take for optimal functioning of the body. Chiropractors also refer patients to other medical professionals if required.

 

Massage therapists relax sore muscles using massage techniques such as Swedish massage, deep tissue massage etc. If you are simply looking for a way to unwind, and suffer no serious pain, then massage therapy may be a good choice.

 

If you have severe pain or a possible health condition, visit a chiropractor first to rule out any underlying medical condition. A chiropractor will be able to assess whether the cause of your pain is some serious issue like pinched nerves or herniated discs. They will advise you on whether it is safe for you to visit a massage therapist, if you are in pain. If the pain is caused by something more than muscle stiffness, massage may not be such a great idea.

 

Approach to the body

Massage therapy is primarily about manipulating the soft tissues like muscles, tendons, and connective tissues. Massage therapists use a wide range of hands on techniques with the specific intent to relax stiff muscles. Massage can increase blood flow and speed up healing.

 

The chiropractic approach is unique because it focuses on optimizing the complete nervous system. It is the nervous system that controls every aspect of the body. When the nervous system is balanced and optimized, then the whole body is optimized and is in good health. Most of the time, pain is caused by the nervous system not working in a balanced or optimized way due to some trauma or other underlying reasons. A chiropractor investigates these reasons and brings back the balance to your nervous system.

 

It is important to understand the differences between chiropractic care and massage therapy so you can determine whether you need to visit a chiropractor or a massage therapist the next time you feel a back pain coming on.

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Why You Might Be Sore After A Chiropractic Adjustment

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So you had a back pain that would not go away for weeks and you saw a chiropractor. After the chiropractic adjustment you wonder why you are feeling so sore, and you even worry whether something went wrong. Relax, there is no cause for concern here. Some people may feel a bit of soreness after a chiropractic adjustment – this is completely natural and there is no need to panic. Here, we explain why this happens.

 

Retracing by the body

People experiencing soreness or even a brief increase in symptoms after an adjustment is due to a phenomenon called ‘retracing.’ You may feel some discomfort during this time when the body adjusts to the treatment. The discomfort is temporary and will go away in some time.

 

The body can heal itself but sometimes during the recovery process it can feel like you have taken one step forward and two steps back. This is natural during recovery and is an indication that the body has begun to heal.

 

If you had previously suffered an injury that caused you pain and you lived with it for a while, your body would also have learned to compensate for the injury by using other muscles and ligaments to take over the injured ones. When the healing starts, the body again has to retrace and the parts that had learned to compensate for the injury need to unlearn and start healing too. This could very well mean that you are sore or uncomfortable for a while, but this is usually a good sign indicating that the healing has started.

 

After the first spinal adjustment it is natural to feel sore, but regular treatments may completely eliminate the soreness and your reaction to the adjustment may be a sense of exhilaration than any discomfort.

 

What can you do about the pain?

Talk to your chiropractor if you experience soreness or pain. You may be asked to use ice packs or heat depending on the treatment you have had. It is important to check with your chiropractor first before you use any home remedies.

 

Rest is a good idea. Most people report that the soreness goes away after 24 hours. Drink plenty of water and relax.

 

Your chiropractor may also suggest some specific stretches and exercise that you can do at home which will reduce the soreness. If you have any concerns about your ability to do the stretches, talk to your chiropractor.

 

Previous medical conditions

Before you start the treatment, talk to your chiropractor in detail about any previous medical conditions that you are aware of. Describe to them the nature of your pain, the severity, recurrence etc. so they can design a customized treatment plan for you.

 

In the hands of a skilled and experienced chiropractor, adjustments yield highly beneficial results without any adverse side effects. Have a discussion with your chiropractor before the treatment starts so you know about the possible reactions and you are not caught off-guard.

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