Muscle therapy is an important component of your chiropractic care. This treatment can come in many forms, and isn’t always for the reasons you expect.
When a chiropractor does their initial evaluation, many patients will often say, “It’s just a muscle problem, right?” In my experience, it’s never “just a muscle problem.”
When your vertebra moves out of its normal position, it causes the muscles to tighten, spasm, and have inflammation. All of this also creates pressure on the nerve – leading to pain. Once we perform the chiropractic adjustment and move the vertebra back into its normal alignment, we have to address the muscles.
Since the muscles attach to the spine, they will be largely responsible for keeping it back in its proper place. Tight muscles will pull that bone right back out of place if we don’t work to help them relax and reduce inflammation.
Some of the muscle therapies we will use to accomplish this in the office are electrical stimulation, myofascial release, trigger point work, and stretching. At home, we may recommend icing, foam rolling, and exercises.
In The Office Muscle Therapy
Electrical stimulation is used to reduce inflammation and muscle spasm. This is performed by putting small pads around the area to be treated and then the stimulation unit will be turned on. You will feel tingling and may feel your muscle contract during the treatment time. An ice pack may also be applied to the area at the same time.
Myofascial release and trigger point work are “hands on” therapies performed by your Doctor of Chiropractic. Your chiropractic doctor will use their hands to find areas of tightness and tension in the affected muscles and then apply pressure until they feel the muscle release or relax.
Stretching in our office is done as “active stretching.” The doctor will move your spine, arms and legs into various positions and then have you push against them in different ranges of motion. This pushing stimulates blood flow into the affected muscles and will relax the muscles and improve the overall range of motion.
At home, we may recommend that you continue to use ice to keep inflammation under control. This is a better alternative to taking additional anti-inflammatory medications in most cases.
We will also demonstrate how to use a foam roller, stretches, and any exercises we feel will be specifically helpful for your condition. By doing this additional muscle therapy at home, you can improve how your muscles respond to treatment and how quickly you get results.