To anyone who’s ever had to stare down a wall of heating pads, braces, pain relievers, balms, and ointments at the drugstore, it should come as no surprise that roughly 80% of the population experiences back pain at some point. A lot of that pain starts in the workplace. In fact, the American Chiropractic Association suggests that half of all working Americans each year report back pain symptoms. This makes for a growing problem in San Francisco chiropractor offices. The city has added an estimated 50,000 office jobs in recent years, and that means a lot of time at the desk. Sitting, according to Chicago-based chiropractor Christopher Wolcott, ”is one of the worst things we do as a society.”
Why the Back Hurts
It’s easy to understand why so many people seek out clinics in San Francisco: the back’s vertebral column comprises dozens of bones (more than 15% of all bones in an adult body), all of which work in concert to protect the thick bundle of nerves running the length of the spine.
How Chiropractors HelpDuring spinal manipulation, chiropractors perform a series of swift motions that realign all those intricate moving parts—usually with their hands but sometimes with a small device to help wrangle bones and soft tissue. This mechanically assisted technique, called the Activator Method, is used at San Francisco practices such as Family Chiropractic Clinic (222 7th St). The small, handheld instrument employs a spring-loaded mechanism to deliver a focused, corrective pulse to specific areas of the spine, allowing for more fine-tuned adjustments. Some chiropractors may also recommend massage therapy to round out treatment plans.
Does It Work?The spine’s organizational complexity calls into question the idea that someone can simply crack your back and fix it, but a wide range of studies have shown that over time there can be spinal benefits to having a trained professional make minor physical adjustments. Some studies have found that spinal manipulation can alleviate lower-back pain as effectively as pain-relief medications and other conventional treatments. The therapy also doesn’t carry some of the side effects of daily medication, and a chiropractor, osteopath, or physical therapist can customize treatments to target specific regions of tension and soreness.
Where to GoThere are dozens of chiropractic doctors in San Francisco. Here are just three to get you started:Financial District Chiropractic | 555 Front St.SF Custom Chiropractic | 425 Washington St.Life Chiropractic | 644 Laguna St.