If you seek alternative care for musculoskeletal pain or injury, you may find chiropractic manipulation or therapy can help. Your chiropractor may manipulate your affected joints through massage or with the use of various chiropractic tools. You may find these tools to be beneficial when used as a follow-up treatment at home, or at a health care facility. With your doctor's approval, you might want to consider using the following tools to complement your treatment:
1. Massage Stones
The use of hot or cold massage stones is a growing trend among many modern chiropractors. You can purchase these as a set or individually, in various sizes. These stones are good for massaging pectoral muscles, or anywhere muscle strain or pain is felt. To naturally clean and disinfect the stones, try some tea tree oil.
2. Stone Heating Device
As the name implies, this piece of equipment is designed to heat massage stones before usage. It almost resembles a large crock pot, often seen in 12-18 quart capacity. A stone warmer will typically include the warming pan as well as some type of tool for removing the heated stones.
3. Electrotherapy Machine
Perhaps your chiropractor has used a deep tissue therapy laser in the office. You may achieve similar results with an electrotherapy device or ultrasound machine. These machines use Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) to help improve circulation and relieve pain.
With this over-the-counter device, you can use preset programs with varying intensity. The units are typically quite small and portable. It works with the use of pads that are affixed to the affected muscle, and are connected to the device with cords, referred to as electrodes. It's drug-free and uses electrical impulses that stimulate the affected area, much like a massage.
4. Infrared Heat Massager
Using the technology of infrared light and heat, this device delivers a restorative massage exactly where you need it. It also increases blood flow to promote better circulation. Ask your chiropractor if you may benefit from such a device between visits. If you prefer, you may choose an infrared heat lamp without massage.
5. Hot and Cold Therapy Packs
Hot and cold therapy has been used for many years to help control pain and promote healing. Your doctor may recommend the use of moist heat packs that may be warmed in a microwave, or used with household current. Alternatively, a reusable hot and cold gel pack is inexpensive and may work for you. You may store this pack in the freezer when you require cold treatment, or warm it in the microwave for heat therapy.
6. A Water-Based Transdermal Gel
As you are rehabilitating from an injury, try applying this type of gel to the affected area. With your doctor's consent, you might want to use such a gel for several weeks. Comprised of natural herbs and roots such as peppermint leaf, it may help soothe and repair tissue and muscle fibers, while controlling pain with natural analgesic properties. You may use the gel in conjunction with ultrasound treatment.
7. Chiropractic Pillow
If you suffer from neck, shoulder or spinal discomfort, you might want to consider using a specially designed chiropractic pillow for improved sleep. A cervical pillow helps to keep the spine properly aligned, while offering proper support. Some are designed with memory foam or a therapeutic water chamber that is encased in foam or fiber materials.
You may find chiropractic pillows with adjustable support. Other styles are designed for specific sleeping positions, such as back, stomach or side. For added comfort, choose a pillow with ventilation and stay-cool technology.
As a final thought, keep this in mind: Err on the side of caution and discuss self-treatment options with your doctor before trying any method at home.
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