People often see the chiropractor for relief from back pain. The cornerstone treatment that chiropractors use is spinal adjustment, which should provide long-term relief from the pain. However, your chiropractor may also administer one or more treatments that are intended to provide stronger relief from pain in the short-term. Here are a few of those treatments.
Transcutaneous Electronic Nerve Stimulation
You will often see this treatment abbreviated as "TENS." Luckily, though, the treatment is simpler than the name. Your chiropractor will place an electrode on either side of your spine. Then, they will use a small, handheld device to deliver a mild electric impulse through the electrodes. This will cause the muscles to contract and relax rapidly. When your chiropractor ends the treatment and takes the electrodes off, your sore areas will feel a lot looser and less painful. The pain relief can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. TENS is very safe, isn't painful, and only takes a few minutes to complete.
Cold therapy is basically another term for "icing." It's really useful after a chiropractic adjustment as it further helps alleviate inflammation and then keep your spine in place. Since it can be hard to ice your back yourself, it can be really beneficial to have your chiropractor do it. Rather than use a typical ice pack, they may use a machine that circulates cold water through a pack that they place over the sore spot. This keeps things at a more comfortable temperature than an ice pack, which slowly melts and becomes warmer.
Sometimes, depending on the nature of your pain and injury, your chiropractor will alternate cold therapy with heat therapy for greater relief.
Now, chiropractors are generally not massage therapists. However, they do tend to know some basic massage techniques, and they can apply those techniques to small, isolated parts of the body for relief. Your chiropractor will work on the muscles that are most painful to ease inflammation, thereby easing pain. This tends to be more of a deeper sports massage, rather than a soothing massage that uses hot stones and the like, so don't be surprised if it's intense.
These are three of the most common treatments that chiropractors can use for short-term back pain relief. Of course, they work best when combined with an adjustment, which is usually the first thing a chiropractor will do for you. For more information about pain relief treatments, contact a chiropractor.