What It Is: Chiropractors physically manipulate the spine and joints and suggest therapeutic exercises. Many also use heat, cold, and electrical stimulation.Claims: The adjustments are thought to increase the motion of the joints by stretching the tissues to improve their mobility and relieve pain. “It also affects the nervous system so that the patient feels less pain,” says William Meeker, D.C., vice president for research at the Palmer College of Chiropractic, in Davenport, Iowa.
What’s Been Proven: There have been about 40 clinical trials looking at the effectiveness of spinal manipulation for lower back pain — one of the main reasons people seek chiropractic treatment. “While it is clear that such manipulation is safe for the most part, the trials show mixed results,” says Richard Nahin, Ph.D., senior adviser for scientific coordination and outreach at the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the NIH. Patients receiving chiropractic treatment do better than those who do not receive care, but not necessarily better than those who use other forms of therapy, such as physical or massage therapy, he says. Some studies also suggest that chiropractic treatment may help with tension headaches, neck pain, and sciatica.
Typical Treatment: You lie on a table while a practitioner puts pressure on specific parts of your spine and certain joints. Some people with acute pain may respond after just one or two visits, but a chronic disk problem, for example, may need more lengthy treatment.
Approximate Cost: Typically ranges from $100 to $300 a session.
For More Info: The American Chiropractic Association website (http://www.amerchiro.org/) lists practitioners, posts the latest research, and answers frequently asked questions.
(Found on realsimple.com)