Should You Go to a Chiropractor for Your Menstrual Cramps?
Usually, if we mention the occupation Chiropractor what kind of patient would come to your mind? Perhaps, someone who recently got in a car accident? Someone who has severe back problems? Probably not someone who wants to get some relief from severe menstrual cramps, right? Well that’s exactly what some doctors are proposing to women who suffer from very painful period cramps. You’re probably asking yourself if it really works. Well first we should go over what a Chiropractor is.
What is a Chiropractor?
A Chiropractor is “ a health care professional focused on the diagnosis and treatment of neuromuscular disorders, with an emphasis on treatment through manual adjustment and/or manipulation of the spine.” It is a form of alternative medicine and as such Chiropractors do not hold the same licensing as medical doctors and their education is very different from that of medical doctors as well. The basic beliefs of chiropractic medicine are that the “biomechanical and structural derangement of the spine can affect the nervous system. [And] for many conditions, chiropractic treatment can restore the structural integrity of the spine, reduce pressure on the sensitive neurological tissue, and consequently improve the health of the individual."
Treatment Options with a Medical Doctor versus a Chiropractor
If you’ve ever been diagnosed by a conventional medical doctor with dysmenhorrea, menstrual cramps, or premenstrual syndrome (PMS) it is highly likely that the doctor prescribed you a drug or recommended an over the counter medicine (OTC). Popular recommendations are medications that have anti-inflammatory and / or analgesic properties that can help ease pain that is caused by these particular problems. Medicines like naproxen and ibuprofen. Often times the symptom is treated rather than the cause of menstrual cramps.
Chiropractors are a little different. Chiropractors tend to try to stop the pain naturally by using traditional chiropractic techniques along your spine. In fact, a study that was recently published in a scientific journal suggests that “using a specific chiropractic technique referred to as the drop-table method, over two menstrual cycles, subjects received three treatments per cycle, specifically adjusting spinal restrictions in the lumbosacral area of the spine. Most of the patients responded favorably to treatment, with significant reductions in back pain and general abdominal pain.”
And in another study, which wanted to explore the effects of chiropractic medicine on PMS symptoms, “Twenty-five patients were divided into two groups, with one group receiving adjustments two to three times in the week prior to menses, for a total of three cycles. The other group received a faux adjustment for the same number of treatments during the study period. Then, the two groups were crossed over so that all individuals received chiropractic adjustments. In both groups, symptoms were significantly better following a trial of chiropractic therapy, yet for one group there was no significant difference between receiving placebo treatment and the actual adjustments.” These results are promising but not conclusive so more studies will need to be done to prove or disprove chiropractic medicine’s efficacy in relieving PMS and menstrual cramping.
So what do you think? Would you try going to a Chiropractor to treat your menstrual cramps? If you’re interested please seek the advice of a physician or a healthcare professional. Then if you do decide to go, make sure to ask these questions of the Chiropractor on your first visit:
How long have you been practicing and what is your license?
Do you have specific training dealing with gynecological issues?
Are you willing to work with my physician or refer me to a medical specialist if necessary?
What are the risks with this procedure?
What health insurance do you accept? And if not in-network, what are my out-of-pocket expenses and will you work with me to submit the proper insurance codes for coverage?
Disclaimer: The information contained here should not be seen as professional advice.