A chiropractic treatment plan can alleviate your pain and help you get on the road to recovery. But, what can you do between treatments to help you feel better?
Massage can be very valuable to some patients at certain phases of treatment. But, there are times when a massage may actually work against what your chiropractor is trying to accomplish. For instance, if you have a lot of swelling and inflammation in an area, or an acute injury, your doctor of chiropractic may want you to avoid massage temporarily.
If you see a chiropractor and a massage therapist independently of each other (not in the same office or by referral), make sure that each knows of the other. And each practitioner should be aware of what you are doing at home for your condition (heat, ice, exercise, wrapping).
Talk to your chiropractor about any massages that you plan to have. There are different types of massage and the type of massage you get is as important as the timing. Used appropriately, chiropractic and massage can complement each other.
Heat is helpful for relaxation of muscles, to increase blood flow, and to help ease some types of stiffness. Our patients receive moist heat in our office as part of their treatment, when indicated. But heat is not appropriate for every condition, or for every patient. It is important to use the right type of heat, and to be very cautious in the placement and timing. At your first visit, tell your chiropractor what you have been doing at home and after your examination, discuss what you should be doing at home between treatments.
Ice is often used to reduce swelling, to numb an area, and to treat an acute injury. Just like heat and massage, ice can be wonderful when used correctly and harmful when it is not. Ice is used in our office as part of a treatment plan, when indicated. I review the use of ice with my patients.
For some conditions, both heat and ice may be used alternatively. This is something that should be a part of your treatment plan, if it is used at all.
Rubs and Ointments
There are creams, gels and lotions that may be applied to cool an area, warm an area, or reduce pain. Many are available over the counter. Again, check with your doctor of chiropractic for recommendations prior to using.
Never fall asleep while applying heat or ice.
Make sure you don’t leave heat or ice on for longer than your doctor recommends.
Protect your skin from heat or ice packs.
Use the proper kind of heat or ice pack (I make specific recommendations to my patients).
If you use any ointments, make sure you follow all safety guidelines. (Some typical guidelines are: Don’t use on broken skin; don’t use directly after a bath or shower; don’t cover with a bandage or wrap; don’t use prior to heat or cold; and others.) Safety guidelines vary, depending on the substance used.
For my patients
Feel free to ask me and our chiropractic assistants to clarify any questions you have about what you can do between visits.
Disclaimer for our readers who are not patients
This article is not intended to be medical advice for any specific patient or condition. I can only advise you if you are a patient of our office, after you have had a thorough examination. Thank you for reading our blog!
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