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While it is well-known that the chiropractic adjustment is a well-researched and commonly used tool for patient pain management, as chiropractors, we often like to offer more.
Typically, this comes in the form of additional in-office modalities.
We will discuss a few of these additional tools we use as solutions to common pain complaints at their base level and their potential to improve our patient’s lives.
Before we begin, it is essential to identify the type of pain patients have before applying treatment strategies.
The 4 Most Common Pain Types
Here are four common types we see in chiropractic offices:
If your patient has cancer, past broken bones, mineral deficiencies, or osteoporosis, this can be described as bone pain.
It can be an enduring, deep ache that causes high levels of discomfort despite low activity levels.
This is a common type of pain stemming from inflammation in muscles and tissues.
This is the type of pain that commonly results in bruising.
Soft tissue pain can range from short-lived back or neck pain and sprains to more chronic conditions such as bursitis and tendonitis.
My heart goes out to patients suffering from nerve pain, otherwise known as neuralgia or neuropathy.
They report a range of symptoms, including burning, stabbing, shocking, and shooting sensations.
Nerve pain is generally caused by nerve damage or inflammation.
The slightest touch or bump can cause intense grief.
This includes those with diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and circulation issues.
Your patient’s pain can be characterized as chronic if it lasts three months or more.
Perhaps a few of your patients suffer from this syndrome.
According to the Cochrane Database Systematic Review, “prevalence studies indicate that up to half the adult population suffer from chronic pain, and 10% to 20% experience clinically significant chronic pain.” (1)
Additionally, the source of discomfort is felt on most days of the week.
Chronic pain can be attributed to arthritis, cancer, diabetes, and fibromyalgia and significantly affect one’s quality of life.
Forms of Relief: Solutions to Common Pain Complaints
Now more than ever, patients have a growing interest in non-prescription-based treatment.
Fortunately, there are several options available.
Some of these solutions to common pain complaints are for patient home-based use, while others are specifically for chiropractic offices.
We recommend keeping as many options as possible on hand as pain is often multifactorial.
Red Light Therapy
Infrared therapy is a light-based treatment method used for pain and inflammation.
It works by increasing what is known as nitric oxide, the molecule responsible for blood vessel health (2). Light therapy offers soothing, localized relief.
- Enhances cell regeneration
- Penetrates deeply into the inner layers of the skin, non-invasive and painless
- Improves circulation
- Soft tissue pain: muscle pain, joint stiffness, diabetes, inflammation, and arthritis
Red light therapy typically comes in panel and wand form.
Panels, for example, can be placed on a desk or hung from a door.
We recommend the Horizon II Infrared and Red Light Therapy unit from DocShop Pro.
It delivers powerful light over its roughly 2″ diameter surface plate.
Treatments take a little over 90 seconds, meaning you save time.
Its standalone design means the Horizon II was designed to be lightweight, durable, and portable.
Electric therapy works by delivering low-voltage currents directly to the skin.
This method temporarily blocks or changes patients’ perception of pain by targeting the nerves.
When evaluating solutions to common pain complaints, it’s worth noting that electric stimulation increases the body’s production of endorphins, the hormone associated with pain relief.
- Improved circulation
- Tissue regeneration
- Muscle strengthening
- Bone growth (3)
- Bone Pain: Osteoarthritis
- Nerve Pain: Fibromyalgia
- Soft Tissue Pain: Tendonitis
- Chronic pain: Back and neck
While many patients are not familiar with the word transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, chances are they have heard of its abbreviation, TENS unit.
Tens units are a common form of electrotherapy that offers a host of positive outcomes.
It is highly versatile as it can be used to treat the four types of common pain complaints referenced above.
If you are interested in total coverage regarding pain relief, I suggest the BodyMed® 2 Channel Digital TENS Unit.
It features five stimulation modes as well as an adjustable pulse rate and treatment timer.
Not only that, but it is also programmable.
We have all seen store shelves stocked with vibrating massage wands and pads during the holiday shopping season.
People love the sensation of soothing and gentle relief.
Vibration promotes relaxation and pain relief by increasing blood flow.
Besides the welcomed calming effect, there are several additional benefits for pain relief.
- Stimulates bone growth and repair
- Improves circulation
- Reduces joint pain
- Improves muscle strength
- Soft Tissue: Workout and exercise injuries, frozen shoulder
- Nerve Pain: Fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis
Vibration therapy comes in several forms, including chairs, plates, and wands.
Vibration plates, for example, send high-speed vibrations up through its user’s body, stimulating the muscles.
These can produce a full-body workout and, as such, are often found in gyms.
This, like the other previously mentioned solutions to common pain complaints, is considered a non-invasive and evidence-based method of treating soft tissue and musculoskeletal pain.