When seeking help for common injuries, discomfort or pain, a GP is quite often our first point of call. Depending on the severity of the issue, the expectation is that quick diagnosis and treatment by a health professional will lead to recovery and a return to training or normal daily life.
Getting an appointment quickly can be a barrier to accessing the right diagnosis and treatment outcomes to help resolve an issue quickly. There are, however, alternatives to seeing a medical doctor to help find solutions to pain or discomfort. Whereas a medical doctor will seek to diagnose and treat symptoms, a chiropractor will instead look to the musculoskeletal system to find the root cause of the problem.
From help with pain management to improving physical performance and better sleep, seeing a chiropractor regularly has endless benefits as part of a more holistic approach to looking after your body.
To take a more detailed, we’ve captured the insight of a chiropractor in Bury St Edmunds to explain how these health professionals help to manage and treat a range of common ailments and discomfort.
Lower back pain
Dealing with persistent back pain can be draining but for a mobile and active person, it can be particularly limiting. Lower back pain can be one of the most common adult ailments and if not addressed, can severely limit everyday activity. There is a perception that lower back pain can just be a natural part of getting older and that we could just get on with it. This should never be the case and the cause of any pain should be addressed by a medical professional.
Lower back pain can arise for several reasons. During the pandemic, there has been a marked increase in reports of lower back pain in otherwise healthy adults caused by postural issues related to working from home. Poor seating arrangements (such as working from sofas or bed) or lack of equipment for appropriate back support has fuelled issues related to lower back pain. Bad posture can be one of the biggest causes of back pain but lifestyle can also be a contributing factor. Driving for long distances or manual labour requiring strong loads or force on the back can also be problematic.
It isn’t just lifestyle or working environment that can cause back pain. Medical issues such as a slipped disc or a hernia can all lead to painful conditions and back discomfort. Rather than focus on managing the pain through medications, a chiropractor can help to realign and rebalance the body to relieve muscle tension and alleviate stiffness. Chiropractic treatment considers your lifestyle to help understand where back issues may arise. Through adjustments to enhance the motion of the spine, this can help to alleviate the tension in surrounding muscles to give you relief.
A common source of pain, adults can often experience sciatica without necessarily realising what it is. Although it generally relates to back pain, it arises through disruption or compression of the sciatic nerve which runs from the pelvis, through the buttocks down to the feet. The pain of sciatica is often felt in the lower back, buttocks and in several points in the lower leg due to irritation of one of five nerve roots. Sciatic pain is not to be overlooked. It can be very painful and often lead to a host of other problematic symptoms such as numbness or weakness in the affected area.
Often, sciatic pain is due to a slipped disc. However, it is vital to get this pain checked by a medical professional as early as possible. A chiropractor can help alleviate pain through specific adjustments that treat the source of the sciatica but will also offer guidance on the causes and likelihood of future recurrence.
Tennis elbow is more common in older adults, particularly those still physically active between the ages of 40 – 60. Although associated with tennis due to the repetitive motion of the elbow joint, it can actually affect anyone who engages in activity that requires repetitive use of the arm. It is caused by the muscles and tendons attached to the elbow becoming strained and inflamed due to overuse. This inflammation can lead to small tears, resulting in pain and restrictions on mobility.
You might not realise how much you use your arm in daily life but tennis elbow can be very debilitating if the pain persists untreated. Chiropractors use a range of treatments to deal with tennis elbow. Shockwave therapy has shown to be very effective in sending energy pulses to the source of the problem to breakdown scar tissue and encourage blood flow. Along with gentle exercises, tennis elbow can be effectively managed through chiropractic care of this common musculoskeletal condition to regain flexibility and mobility in the arm once again.
Shoulder pain is a growing cause of discomfort in adults. Overuse of a smartphone, bad posture, previous whiplash injury, falling asleep in a difficult position or even something as simple as watching television can all contribute to shoulder and neck pain.
Depending on the cause, shoulder and neck pain can prove to be temporary. Often requiring a short period of rest of immobility to allow the injury to heal itself. Chronic shoulder and neck pain should be addressed as quickly as possible due to the potential for severe disruption to everyday life and activity. Shoulder pain can lead to problematic symptoms in other areas of the body depending on the root cause. Headaches and pain in the arms or shoulder blades are all associated with shoulder and neck pain so getting to the source of the problem is important.
A chiropractor can help increase the motion of the spine to reduce involvement of the nerves as well as any tension surrounding the muscles. By removing any stiffness and tackling the pain directly, the adjustments made by a chiropractor can dramatically reduce pain and help reveal the likely cause.
Often associated with runners or people who spend a lot of time on their feet, plantar fasciitis is very common and it’s estimated one in ten people will suffer with it at some point in their life. It relates to inflammation in the plantar fascia in the base of the foot which causes heel pain, often first thing in the morning, but frequently throughout the day.
Engaging in sports that involve a great deal of walking or running can make you particularly vulnerable to plantar fasciitis but it’s not a problem that only afflicts sportspeople. There are conditions that can make you predisposed to develop plantar fasciitis such as high arches in the foot but generally wearing shoes that offer poor support can leave sufferers open to problems.
Rest is very important when it comes to tackling plantar fasciitis but a chiropractor takes a very holistic approach to tackling this common but painful problem. Through proper and detailed assessment, a chiropractor can manage the process of creating custom made orthotics to provide the right supportive footwear designed to tackle a range of problems related to the function of the foot. With a focus on restoring correct biomechanics, the chance of a recuring problem is low to ensure heel and foot pain will no longer limit your daily life.