Chiropractors: What Does a Chiropractor Treat?

Chiropractors are Doctors of Chiropractic. Similar to Dentists, they are Doctors of Dentistry. Neither of which are medical doctors. Each doctor has focused interest and offering specialized services. Chiropractors focus on the diagnosis and treatment of neuromuscular disorders. This includes common conditions such as low back pain, neck pain, sciatica, herniated disc, degenerative disc, stenosis, hip pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, and other muscle pain or joint problems as well. The services chiropractors offer is fairly broad and diverse. However, our emphasis is always on the patient. We strive to get you better quicker and with long term results. The way we accomplish this goal is by teaching our patients how to take control of their pain and problem by actively promoting forms of physical therapy, specifically McKenzie Therapy. Dr. Del Real DC, Cert. MDT is the only chiropractor in Northwest Indiana that is Credentialed in McKenzie Therapy.

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Chiropratic Treatments

Chiropractors use a variety of non-surgical treatments to treat patients with muscle, joint, or spine pain. Dr. Del Real focuses on creating a healthier lifestyle for patients to increase their ability to move with lesser or no pain and reduce or eliminate medication with supervision from their medical doctor. Patients need to learn how to become independent and active in their health including physical and nutritional input.

  • Low Back Pain

    • According to National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes- 80% of adults experience lower back pain at some point in their lives
      – Most common cause of job related disability
      – Leading contributor to missed work days
      – Men and women equally affected
      – Symptoms vary including intensity and frequency of pain
      – Sedentary lifestyle are at equal or greater risk of developing lower back pain
      – Majority of lower back pain is mechanical in nature (affecting components of the spine)
      – Majority of lower back pain can resolve with appropriate self care


      – Learn how your pain behaves and responds to movement & posture
      – Learn what specific spine exercises will centralize, decrease, or abolish your lower back pain
      – Understand the difference between centralization of pain and peripheralization of pain
      – Understand the difference between Hurt Vs Harm and what YOU need to Heal
      – Consistently practice better posture and daily habits of moving
      – Learn if your pain is inflammatory or mechanical or both
      – Learn if you initially need collaboration of care
      – Learn to self-care

  • Neck Pain

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    • According to the Mayo Clinic, 2015 Feb;90(2):284-99. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2014.09.008
      • Neck Pain is the 4th leading cause of disability
      • 50% of individuals experience frequent episodes
      • Prevalence in neck pain was greater in women compared to men
      • Significant association with neck and shoulder pain
      • Simple Classification of neck pain: mechanical (originating from spine) or neuropathic (originating from peripheral nervous system)
      • Acute neck pain resolves within estimated 2 months
      • 50% of patients will encounter frequent recurrences 1 year after occurrence
      • C6, C7 nerve roots most commonly affected for radicular symptoms
      • Nuerogenic weakness from pain-induced weakness needs to differentiated (conditions like carpal tunnel are misdiagnosed)

  • Sciatica

    • According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease
      • Sciatica is most commonly a result of a herniated disk (90% of time)
      • Sciatic Nerve is irritated or compressed
      • BMJ reports 5-10% of patients with low back pain report sciatica
      • Risk factors include sedentary lifestyle, age, strenuous activity, smoking
      • Pain usually radiates to one leg, stenosis or central broad-based disc herniations produce pain down both legs
      • Other symptoms such as numbness, weakness, tingling are present
  • Herniated Disk

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    • According to the National Institute of Health & Mayo Clinic
      • Majority of herniated discs occur in the Lumbar Spine
      • Greater than 90% of disc herniations occur at L4-L5, L5-S1
      • Herniated disk can result in pinched nerves leading to shooting leg pain or arm pain, sciatica, numbness, weakness, or tingling
      • Most people don’t need surgery to correct the problem
  • Degenerative Disc

    • As we age, our spine ages, creating arthritic changes, which may or may not lead to pain
      • Degeneration is inevitable; however, age is not a right of passage to have pain
        • Degeneration is normal, but to have pain associated with it can be avoided
        • Dehydration, bony developed, decreased disc height
        • Understand that degeneration is normal, but can be pain free and limitation free; only if patients remain active in their lifestyle, specifically moving their bodies regularly
  • Stenosis

    • Refers to narrowing of a passageway
    • Stenosis can occur in the canal or the intervertebral foramen (an opening where the nerve exits)
    • Cervical Stenosis
    • Lumbar Stenosis
    • Depending on the type of stenosis, several symptoms and presentations may occur
      • Pain down a leg or pain in both legs
      • Pain down an arm or pain in both arms
      • Same applies with other symptoms, tingling, numbness or weakness
  • Hip Pain

    • Hip pain commonly affects activities such as sitting, standing, walking, running, getting off the ground
    • Sharp pain near the groin
    • Pain due to bursitis
    • Hip flexor muscles can be tight and cause limited movements or compensations with pain produced near the outer hip area; near the IT band
    • IT band syndrome

McKenzie Therapy

McKenzie Therapy is a specific form of physical therapy that is used for musculoskeletal problems that include pain in the back, neck, and extremities (i.e. shoulder, knee, hips, ankles etc). Dr. Del Real is the only Chiropractor in Northwest Indiana that is credentialed in McKenzie Therapy. McKenzie Therapy helps issues like neck pain, low back pain, herniated discs, sciatica, sacroiliac joint pain, arthritis, degenerative disc disease, muscle spasms, and other symptoms like numbness, tingling, or weakness. If you struggle with any spine, muscle or joint problem, McKenzie Therapy can help you.

McKenzie Therapy assesses patients understanding how movements of the spine or joint produce, worsen or improve the pain and restore function. Being able to understand how the pain is produced or how the pain can be changed is important for patients to learn how to self-care and improve. McKenzie Therapy focuses on specific exercises that eliminate pain and improves mechanics of the spine or joint. After the assessment, the patient learns how to care for themselves by performing these exercises improving their problem and continually progression physical abilities with symptom reduction.

The preventative measures that are taken by the patient are only performed and sustained when patients are educated properly to sustain self-care with daily activities. Patients who understand how their pain responds to movement will be able to influence their problem restoring function and taking control of their pain. With a credentialed clinician who utilizes McKenzie Therapy, patients are guided and taught how fix their own back pain with specific treatment strategies.