Some people think chiropractors only treat back pain, but actually, they are specialists in the entire musculoskeletal system. They do focus primarily on the spine and surrounding tissues, but the spine is intimately related to the good functioning of the whole body. Chiropractors may treat back pain and spasms, sports injuries, headaches, and pregnancy pain. They are trained in a variety of non-invasive techniques and believe in the most natural healing possible.

How do you know if a chiropractor is right for you? Here are some conditions for which chiropractic treatment has been shown to be particularly effective.

1. Joint pain. Pain in the back and other joints is one of the most common health complaints and causes the greatest number of missed work days for health reasons. Chiropractors specialize in treating back pain and have a wide variety of techniques to treat pain anywhere from the feet and ankles up to the neck.

2. Headaches. In particular, migraine headaches can often be effectively treated by a chiropractor. While the exact origin of migraines remains a mystery, spinal manipulation has been shown to improve symptoms as much as a common prescription drug known as amitriptyline.

3. Athletic injuries. Laser therapy is a common treatment for plantar fasciitis, a typical running injury, and it is commonly administered by a chiropractor. A soft tissue therapy known as the Active Release Technique is a popular treatment offered by chiropractors that can treat long-standing injuries to muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves and fascia.

4. Pregnancy. A somewhat sudden addition of around 30 pounds to the average woman adds stress to the body, from the back to the ankles, knees and feet. It also results in greater spinal curvature in the lower back and changes to the pelvis. Spinal adjustments, soft tissue therapy and therapeutic exercises have been shown to be effective in reducing pain during pregnancy, particularly lower back and groin pain.

5. Whiplash. Whiplash is a common injury sustained after a motor vehicle accident. It results in pain in several areas of the body, as well as headaches and vision problems. Chiropractic treatment has been shown to be effective in treating whiplash through the use of spinal adjustments, soft tissue therapy, and specific exercises for the affected areas.

Other things to consider when choosing the type of care you need for your injury is that chiropractors use drug-free approaches without surgery. They are a good option for many kinds of pain and won’t steer you towards drugs or operations, which should be last-resort treatments because of the risks involved. At the same time, chiropractors are not “anti-traditional medicine” and often collaborate with allopathic doctors as well as other health professionals such as acupuncturists and massage therapists in order to design the most effective treatment plan for their patients.


During your initial visit, you will be provided with a few registration and medical history forms by the office staff. Then the chiropractor will typically ask further questions about your health history and about your current problem or condition, such as:

  • If you are experiencing pain, where is it located and when did you first notice it?
  • Does the pain or discomfort seem to be the result of a recent injury or activity, or has it existed for some time?
  • Are there activities or circumstances that make it better?
  • Are there activities or circumstances that make it worse?

You may also be asked about any pre-existing medical conditions or prior injuries, your family’s medical history, and other treatments you have received from health care providers. Once completed, your chiropractor then will carry out a thorough chiropractic examination, with a special emphasis on the spine. In addition to general tests such as blood pressure, respiration, reflexes, and pulse, the examination may include certain tests to assess the range of motion of the injured or painful body part, muscle tone and strength, and neurological integrity. Additional diagnostic studies such as X-rays or laboratory tests may be performed or recommended.

The medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests all help to determine a specific diagnosis. The chiropractor will explain the diagnosed condition to you and determine if it is likely to respond well to chiropractic care. If so, the chiropractor will explain the proposed chiropractic treatment plan or other treatments to you and the anticipated length that the treatment should take. Both short- and long-term goals for your treatment will be discussed, and additional therapies may be recommended for future visits, such as:

  • Application of heat or cold to affected areas.first chiropractic visit
  • Massage and stretching.
  • Modalities to speed healing of soft tissues and improve pain control, such as electrical stimulation and traction.
  • Rehabilitative and general exercise to improve muscle balance, strength, and coordination.
  • Lifestyle counseling about healthy eating and weight loss.

Many chiropractors begin treatment during your first visit, although some may wait until the next appointment to perform the first adjustment. During a typical adjustment, you will be placed in various specific positions while your chiropractor treats the affected areas. For example, you may be asked to lie face down on a padded table specifically designed for chiropractic adjustments.

Chiropractors then use their hands to apply a controlled, quick force to a joint, which extends it beyond its usual range of motion. The goal of this maneuver is to increase the range and quality of motion in the area being treated and to aid in restoring health. You may hear cracking or popping sounds as your chiropractor manipulates your joints during the treatment session. This is similar to cracking one’s knuckles, and there are rarely any feelings of pain or discomfort.

As your course of treatment continues, your chiropractor will evaluate your progress, to see how much your treatments are helping, and may adjust the recommended treatment regimen accordingly.


What to Expect at the First Chiropractic Consultation
FAQ: An Overview of Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic: An Introduction
Chiropractic adjustment – What Can You Expect
Chiropractic Information and Resources
What can I expect on my first Chiropractic visit?

The question of whether repeated headers in the game of soccer have a long-term impact on the brain or cognitive function is a raging debate among experts with no clear answer one way or another. An LA Times article on the subject makes this clear in its opening line… “Like a loose ball in a kids’ game, the argument over the safety of heading in soccer has parents, coaches, and scientists scrambling all over.”

The one place where there is solid agreement is that proper form is the key to preventing injury. Even if your child plays in a league where heading isn’t allowed, kids will emulate in the backyard what they see the top soccer players doing on TV. Take a moment to learn the basics of proper form so you can double check what you, your child and your child’s coach are doing.

Here are a few dos and don’ts to look for to ensure safe soccer headers:heading a soccer ball

Do strike the ball with the head. Don’t allow the ball to hit you in the head.

The main thing to remember is that the player should actively ‘strike the ball with the head’ rather than allowing the ball to ‘hit them in the head’. It is very hard to learn the skill of intentionally hitting a flying object with your head! The player needs to be active and purposeful in heading the ball, not passive.

Do keep your eyes open and locked on the ball. Don’t close your eyes when heading a soccer ball.

The most common mistake that young players make is closing their eyes. Instead, keep the eyes open and locked on the part of the ball you want to head.

Do use the whole body to generate your power. Don’t try to use your neck muscles.

Another mistake is believing that the power in a soccer header comes from the neck muscles. It doesn’t. In a traditional header, the power comes from the upper body. The back is arched in preparation for the header and the torso is trust forward to contact the ball. All the while, the chin is tucked toward the chest. This stabilizes the neck. In a diving header, the neck position is locked and stabilized and the entire body is propelled forward to contact the ball. The power comes from the jump and gravity, not the neck.

Do use a ball that is age-appropriate. Don’t use a wet ball for practice.

Soccer balls come in different sizes for a reason. When practicing headers, make sure you are using the right size ball for your age and not a ball that is too large and heavy. Also, as a soccer ball gets wet, the weight increases by 20% or more, so for practice, choose a dry ball.

As we stated at the beginning of the article, the debate about whether heading a soccer ball is safe for children (and adults) rages on. What we do know for sure is that kids will do it with or without proper instruction and that proper technique is the key to injury prevention. As adults, our job is to provide the proper instruction to keep our kids safe playing ‘the beautiful game’.

The Spine Chiropractic Center, servicing Alamo CA, makes sure you get the best chiropractic service. For inquiries, you may call the office at (925) 939-7778.

Dreyfuss, I. (2001, May 20). Experts Face Off About Soccer Heading. LA Times.

Institute for Sports Medicine Heading the Soccer Ball. (n.d.). Retrieved 9 9, 2011, from Children’s Memorial Hospital Chicago, IL.

Kirkendall, D., & Garrett, W. E. (2001). Heading in Soccer: Integral Skill or Grounds for Cognitive Dysfunction? Journal of Athletic Training, 36(3), 328-333.

Soccer Training Heading the Ball. (n.d.). Retrieved 9 9, 2011, from