Longer cashier lines. Heavier shopping bags. More crowded malls. Busier thoroughfares. Prolonged traffic hours. Christmas parties left and right.
These are but a few of the unmissable signs that indeed, the Holiday season is upon us. Although ‘tis the season to be jolly, all these added stressors can put further strain to our already tired and exhausted bodies. Putting others first is, of course, the spirit of the holidays, but not thinking of our own well-being can take a huge toll on our bodies. Repetitive taxing activities without proper stress management will eventually lead to the physical manifestation of pain and discomfort in the back, the shoulders, and the neck.
That is why it is only vital that during this wonderful but stressful season that we take good care of ourselves. It’s important to sit back and relax once in a while and enjoy calming and soothing pursuits like getting pampered by visiting a spa or getting a good back rub or massage. However, these relaxation activities may not be enough. You may need a more far-reaching but more holistic stress management activity like chiropractic stress management.
What is chiropractic?
Chiropractic is considered a form of alternative medicine concerned with the examination, diagnosis, treatment, and over-all management of various disorders of the musculoskeletal system. The chiropractic practitioners, or chiropractors, manipulate or “adjust” several parts of the body, especially the spine, to provide relief from stress and pain. The main objective of chiropractic therapies is to bring the body back to its proper alignment and function. This therapy may be your best bet after sustained sitting during heavy traffic, extended standing at the cashier lines, and continued carrying heavy loads of shopping bags.
For someone new and have no prior exposure to chiropractic stress management, the experience may seem unsightly to the eyes and unpleasant to the ears at first. The degree of manipulation chiropractors does to the body can be nerve-wrecking to someone who has not experienced chiropractic therapy first hand and the cracking and popping sound of the joints make during the manipulation can be cringe-worthy and nauseating. Never fear – the cracking, popping sound are not your bones being cracked per se, but these are the sounds produced when the tissues of the joints of the spine are stretched and the gas trapped in the joints are released. The same phenomenon happens when you crack your knuckles. The uneasiness (including stress and pain) you will experience prior to therapy will all melt away after your first session as a wave of relief will flood your whole body.
It is important to emphasize that a quick visit to a chiropractic center will not immediately result to complete relief of all your symptoms. Like medical doctors, licensed or registered chiropractors will assess their patients before performing any procedure. These assessments are likely to include a detailed health history and a physical exam. Some chiropractors may even request for an x-ray of the spine or order an MRI. These are very important steps as they will pave the way for the patient’s treatment plan.
According to the American Chiropractic Association, chiropractic treatment is generally considered one of the safest drug-free and non-invasive treatments procedures available for musculoskeletal problems. The treatment procedure is very safe and effective that athletes and sports teams hire their own chiropractors to help the team maintain their athletic edge. A study conducted in 2002 by Stevenson and Ernst and published in the American Journal of Medicine showed that chiropractic care has an excellent safety record in terms of patient safety. Several other studies compared chiropractic care against using steroids, pain medication, and surgery and found that chiropractic care have a better safety record in treating back pain. However, it goes without saying that even if chiropractic therapy is safe and effective, potential adverse effects are possible to happen. Some common adverse effects include muscle soreness, stiffness, and aches after therapy.
Then again, it is also imperative that a consultation with your primary care physician take place before pursuing any alternative forms of treatment. Usually, pain and stress are best managed through the utilization of both allopathic (mainstream) medicine and alternative medicine such as chiropractic therapy. According to The Spine Journal, “Chiropractic therapy in conjunction with standard medical care offer a significant advantage of decreasing pain and improving physical functioning when compared with only standard care, for men and women between 18 and 35 years of age with acute low back pain.”
Reaping the benefits of chiropractic stress and pain management can be very rewarding, especially during the holidays when the hustle and bustle are endless. The holiday season is a very stressful time for everyone, but you don’t have to be, as long as you take care of yourself. Do yourselves a favor: Add chiropractic care to your holiday shopping list!