Most types of pain treated by a chiropractor involve muscle spasm. This is a sustained contraction of muscle fibres and an involuntary response to something being wrong in the body. Involuntary responses are those which you cannot control or stop by yourself and require some sort of intervention. Treatment for muscle spasm may include medication, chiropractic adjustment or even surgery. Pain medication often just deals with the symptoms and does not address the underlying issues, however there are times when it is valuable in conjunction with other treatments. Chiropractic adjustments and surgical intervention on the other hand, treat pain and spasm by getting to underlying causes.
Muscle spasm occurs for a variety of reasons:
1. When a joint is out of alignment or subluxated, the muscles that have a neurological connection to the area where the pain is felt will go into spasm. The resultant tension and pain is what usually brings patients to a chiropractic clinic.
(2. & 3. are medical emergencies)
2. Broken bones are surrounded by acute muscle spasm as the body attempts to splint the injury. This is a natural response and often the cause of much of the pain associated with a fracture (another word for 'broken bone'). When a fracture is set (and if necessary corrected surgically) and the initial trauma period has passed, there is usually great relief from the pain - even though the bone is still healing. Pain usually goes long before the fracture is fully healed because the muscle spasm has abated and injured soft tissues have healed.
3. Serious organ pathology such as acute appendicitis will lead to rigid abdominal spasm and severe pain. Situations such as this require emergency surgery.
Muscle spasm therefore is an indicator that something is wrong in the body.
Chiropractic treatment for muscle spasm due to subluxation
Of the three examples given above, chiropractors deal with the first one as stated. It's important to note that there are many layers of muscle in the body. Therapeutic massage on its own can only affect and relieve the top two layers. The type of therapeutic massage performed by chiropractors is usually deep tissue massage which aims to relieve spasm in large superficial (just under the skin) muscle groups. However, reliefof spasm in deeper muscles requires a chiropractic adjustment to realign the joints to which the deeper muscles are attached. This then calms the nerves which have been overstimulated by the subluxation. The nerves will then send less electrical impulses to the muscles which in turn will not contract (go into spasm) as much as they did before the adjustment.
This treatment regime is very effective in many cases of back spasm, neck pain, lower back pain, hip pain and headaches. In fact, many patients feel almost instant relief from just the neck massage or back massage component of the treatment - even before the adjustment has been administered. It has a relaxing yet energizing effect.
If deep tissue massage only affects the top layers of muscle, why is it so important to chiropractic treatment ?
1. The patient becomes very relaxed both physically and mentally whilst being massaged. This has two great benefits:
-It's much easier to adjust someone who's physically relaxed.
-A person who is mentally relaxed often recalls extremely important information about their case. Not everyone remembers every detail of their history
when initially bombarded with a lot of medical history questions.
2. From a physical diagnosis viewpoint, massage allows the chiropractor to observe and palpate (feel) the overall condition of the patient's spine and musculature. This helps to build an overall picture of the patient's general health.
3. It's a chance to get to know the patient on a personal level. This is a very important aspect of the healing process which is often overlooked. Understanding the patient's personality,
lifestyle, work demands and hobbies/sports really does assist in establishing rapport and providing tailor-made treatment.
There are times when message is not advisable. For example, an extremely hot and inflamed area - as in the case of bursitis, would become more irritated if massage were to be used. This is because friction produces heat - the last thing an inflamed area needs. Most cases treated by chiropractors do however benefit from massage prior to treatment.
This practice also provides specialized sports massage and pregnancy massage.
Please note that this practice is located inside Fitness First, Macquarie Shopping Centre and is close to North Ryde, Macquarie Park, Denistone East, ,Marsfield, Epping, West Ryde and Gladesville. Non gym members are welcome.
(massage relieves muscle tension prior to chiropractic adjustment)