Neck pain, upper back pain, and lower back pain. Millions of Americans experience these symptoms at some point in their lives. Some experience chronic neck or back pain as a result of the aging process or injury, while others experience a feeling of tightness or cramping due to stress or after sleeping on an unsupportive bed and wrong-sized pillow. When patients develop this back or neck pain, they may take medication to reduce inflammation and pain. Others seek relief through a spinal adjustment. When performed by a qualified chiropractor, a spinal adjustment is highly effective in correcting the subluxations (misalignment or displacement of the vertebrae) that cause back and neck pain. However, instead of scheduling an appointment with a chiropractor, many patients attempt to crack, pop, or adjust the spine at home. Temecula chiropractor Nathen Horst explains why patients should undergo spinal adjustments with a specialist.
Why Spinal Adjustments Should Be Performed by a Chiropractor
Chiropractors undergo years of education and training, allowing them to treat a range of health conditions with adjustment treatments. A chiropractor can safely perform a spinal adjustment to alleviate back and neck pain, while also avoiding any serious injury. The manipulations that are performed during an appointment are designed to push specific vertebrae or joints back into place. Chiropractors can determine where the subluxation is located and correct the detected misalignment issues to improve the patient’s overall health.
When a spinal adjustment is performed at home, patients put themselves at risk of further injury or pain. When performed by an unlicensed professional, the adjustment could result in:
- Nerve compression
- A herniated disc
In addition, certain patients should not undergo back adjustments, including those that are experiencing numbness or tingling in the arms and legs and those with osteoporosis. A chiropractor will discuss your medical history and current health with you to determine if you are an appropriate candidate for a spinal adjustment.
Perform Back Adjustment Stretches and Exercises at Home
Although Dr. Horst recommends that our Temecula and Murrieta patients avoid back or spinal adjustments at home, they can perform the following stretches and exercises to minimize pain and strengthen the back.
- Forward bend: This stretch can be performed while seated or standing. In the standing forward bend, patients should keep the legs together and straight and bend at the waist to touch the toes. Patient should return to standing position slowly by rolling the spine back into a straightened position. In the seated forward bend, patients should bend forward so the chest and stomach are in contact with the upper legs and knees. Let the arms dangle freely and hold this position for about 10 seconds before returning to the seated position.
- Neck stretches: Neck stretches can be performed while standing or laying flat on your back. Slowly and gently turn the head from side to side.
- Lower back stretch: Lie flat on your back with your eyes on the ceiling or sky. Bend one leg at the knee and cross it over the other leg and toward the ground. Hold the position for a few seconds, and then return to the starting position. Repeat the process on the other side.
- Upper back stretch: This exercise can be performed while seated or standing. Bring one arm so it rests across the chest and extends past the other shoulder. Place a hand on the forearm and gently press the arm toward the body to stretch the upper back.
To schedule a back adjustment with Dr. Nathen Horst, contact our Temecula practice today.