Chiropractic care, also called chiropractic, focuses on the body's structure in relation to its function. Practitioners of chiropractic care are called chiropractors. Chiropractors are health care professionals who perform a variety of different types of chiropractic care, including spinal manipulations (also called spinal adjustments). They often see individuals who are struggling with lower back pain, headaches, generalized back pain, whiplash, and upper and lower-extremity joint conditions, among other issues. Chiropractors will often use physical and imaging exams, as well as other tests, to help diagnose conditions related to the back, spine, musculoskeletal system, or the nervous system. However, not all conditions related to these areas are appropriately treated with chiropractic care. In some cases, after a chiropractor completes an initial evaluation, they may refer an individual to a different health care provider, such as an orthopedic surgeon or another physician who specializes in the spine and its related conditions.1,2
Chiropractors most commonly perform adjustments to the spine. Adjustments involve applying a controlled force to joints that aren't as mobile as they normally would be as a result of an injury, overuse, or other issue. Chiropractors can also perform adjustments to other parts of the body. Adjustments are thought to restore mobility, alleviate pain, decrease inflammation, reduce muscle stiffness, and improve bodily function without the use of medications or surgery. In addition to adjustments, chiropractors may perform other kinds of chiropractic-related care, such as massage. They may also recommend rehabilitative exercises and provide lifestyle counseling as well as nutritional or dietary advice. During a chiropractic care session, you may perform relaxation techniques, utilize electrical stimulation, or utilize heat or ice therapy. Before your session, your chiropractor will explain to you what kind of care you will receive.1,2
How might chiropractic care help women with endometriosis?
Few studies have been performed on the use of chiropractic care for the treatment of endometriosis-related symptoms, and results thus far have been inconclusive. It is possible that chiropractic care may alleviate lower back pain related to endometriosis, as well as provide relief from pelvic pain.3 However, much more research is needed to characterize these potential associations. Additionally, chiropractic care may increase the function of the autonomic nervous system, which controls the functions our body performs subconsciously, such as our breathing, heartbeat, and digestive processes. Several studies have indicated that chiropractic care may regulate the menstrual cycle and support egg movement through the fallopian tubes, potentially aiding infertility, however, more research is needed to support this claim as well.4
Things to note about chiropractic care
Chiropractic care is not meant to replace traditional treatment options for endometriosis. It is a complementary therapy that may be used in addition to other treatment options. Chiropractic care is not appropriate for everyone. It is important to talk with your healthcare provider before seeking chiropractic care to ensure that this is a safe option for you. Your provider may also be able to recommend a reputable chiropractor in your area. Before you begin care, research or talk with your chiropractor to make sure they are licensed and have received the appropriate training. Chiropractors attend a four-year academic program that is accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE). Once they complete this program, they receive a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree. Some chiropractors receive training beyond this program to specialize further.1,2