From the chiropractic standpoint, rehabilitation can help promote motion and maintain stability as well as relieve pain. Disease or dysfunction in the nervous system, joints or muscles creates misalignments that cause pain and can result in increasing disability. Chiropractic rehabilitation is focused on increasing the patient's stability and balance, reducing or controlling pain, and improving physical performance and functional capacity. In addition to correcting alignment problems, a chiropractic rehabilitation specialist treats myofascial (related to the dense tissue covering a muscle) pain, motor control, and strength. The treatment is often much more intense and takes longer than regular chiropractic adjustments.
People whose muscles have become weakened from disuse can benefit from chiropractic rehabilitation. Muscle imbalances are relatively common in American society because so many people perform sedentary jobs and don’t exercise regularly. Muscles that are not used shorten and are more likely to become spastic; tight muscles are also more likely to contribute to spinal and joint alignment problems. Chiropractic rehabilitation includes specific excises designed to promote stability and flexibility, with a strong focus on stabilizing muscles that affect posture and coordination.
So-called “regular” rehabilitation is usually focused on people who have undergone major trauma or suffered a stroke, or who have degenerative diseases like muscular sclerosis. It is typically conducted in a specialized rehabilitation center and is often inpatient treatment, although rehabilitation services may also be delivered in the home. Rehabilitation is multidisciplinary and may include such health care professionals as doctors, physical and occupational therapists, dietitians, social workers and nurses.
Although many of the techniques used in chiropractic rehabilitation are taught in a chiropractor’s basic education, chiropractic rehabilitation is considered a specialty. The American Chiropractic Rehabilitation Board offers a number of post-graduate educational courses as well as a certification program. To become certified, a chiropractor must complete a certain number of hours of rehabilitation training, pass two online certification exams and an oral exam, as well as submit a rehabilitation case study.
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