If you benefit from regular chiropractic care, the COVID-19 pandemic is likely impacting how you receive that care. Like many health care providers across the country, chiropractors are grappling with how best to serve patients while adhering to social distancing guidelines. Some may be reducing hours or shutting their doors altogether. Here is what you need to know about how COVID-19 affects chiropractic care and what you can do if you aren’t able to see your chiropractor.
Social Distancing and Essential Chiropractic Care
Brandon Czekaj, D.C. and certified chiropractic sports practitioner in Virginia, is limiting the number of patients he is currently seeing, but there are some people who can’t delay or forgo chiropractic care.
“We are in a pandemic, but that does not stop people from suffering from musculoskeletal conditions,” Czekaj says. Because those with musculoskeletal conditions may end up in emergency rooms or hospitals without treatment, continuing to see those patients can reduce strain on the health care system, Czekaj says.
Musculoskeletal disorders refer to conditions that affect the muscles, ligaments, tendons or bones, and are the leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Chiropractic care is one form of treatment for this kind of pain, and stopping treatment is not an option for many patients with a musculoskeletal condition.
“If they have an acute musculoskeletal condition, such as sciatica, it can have a debilitating effect on the amount of pain they are having,” Czekaj says.
The Illinois Chiropractic Society recommends that chiropractors postpone or cancel appointments with patients receiving maintenance care or who have reached a point of maximum medical improvement, while still continuing to treat musculoskeletal pain patients. The American Chiropractic Association also deems treatment for musculoskeletal conditions as essential for “helping triage and manage cases that otherwise may end up in emergency rooms.”
Can Chiropractic Care Boost Your Immune System?
Some claims have been made that chiropractic care can boost your immune system, but the World Federation of Chiropractic refutes these claims, saying “There is no credible scientific evidence that chiropractic spinal adjustment/manipulation confers or boosts immunity. Chiropractors should refrain from any communication that suggests spinal adjustments/manipulation may protect patients from contracting COVID-19 or will enhance their recovery.”
Unless you have a musculoskeletal condition or otherwise deal with debilitating pain you need chiropractic care to treat, it’s best to postpone your in-person chiropractic appointments until social distancing mandates are lifted.
Alternatives to Seeing a Chiropractor in Person
If you aren’t able to see your chiropractor in person, it doesn’t mean you have to go without care. Telemedicine is an option in many places, or your chiropractor may be able to talk you through exercises and stretches over the phone.
“People should still reach out if they are in pain,” Czekaj says. “There may be ways to help while still social distancing.”
According to the Illinois Chiropractic Society, many different chiropractic services can be offered via telehealth including:
- Rehab services and range-of-motion therapies
- Assessing symptoms and evaluating patient progress
- Functional medicine
- Some primary care services
- Postural stretching techniques
“With the recent COVID-19 outbreak, chiropractors are able to help people in pain with recommendations and postural stretching techniques without having the patient leave their home,” says Allen Conrad, D.C. “This way the patient can consult with the chiropractor about what injuries they are experiencing and the chiropractor can demonstrate and explain through telehealth what exercises they can do at home.”