Chiropractic: It’s Not Just For Your Back

Chiropractic for Extremities

The first part of the body that comes to mind when we hear the word “chiropractor” is most certainly: the back (and the neck is a close second). Yes, chiropractors are wonderful at helping with spinal health, but that’s not where their expertise stops! Follow along as we review many more ways that chiropractic can help your body heal–all over.

Chiropractic for Rib Pain

Finding it difficult to take a deep breath, or have sudden sharp pain when you try to breathe? If a rib subluxates or “goes out” it can cause pain in the back, along the rib cage and/or in the chest. Because ribs sit in such shallow joints and are always being used (since we’re always breathing!) they can easily shift and cause pain. Sometimes this pain can be so alarmingly painful and uncomfortable that you may wonder if something major is wrong.

How chiropractic can help: The chiropractor can adjust the ribs manually (pushing or squeezing gives immediate relief to most patients) and can apply K tape for support, depending on the patient’s needs.

Chiropractic for Shoulder Pain

The shoulder joint is composed of multiple bones: the scapula (shoulder blade) clavicle (collar bone) and the humerus (upper arm bone). If the shoulder isn’t moving well, then the patient can expect pain and stiffness.

How chiropractic can help: The chiropractor can adjust the scapula or clavicle (now that you know what those are) and massage the area to release tension. Exercises can be employed for improved stability and greater range of motion. K tape is also used for shoulder pain to help with good posture and correct placement, bringing them down and back into a better position.

Chiropractic for Jaw Pain

Locking, clicking, popping and pain in the jaw joint can make you grit your teeth (or wince in pain). When your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is giving you problems, there’s likely something else contributing to the issue, whether it’s stress, or a misaligned neck or tight muscles.

How chiropractic can help: The chiropractor can adjust the jaw, neck and/or clavicle to help get your body back in alignment, giving your jaw the opportunity to go back to normal. Massage can also be helpful, to ease tension and relieve the stress being held in your body that may be causing the TMD pain. The chiropractor can give you jaw relaxation tips (stop chewing gum!) and plenty of exercises to keep the pain at bay and avoid another episode of clicking and popping. Read more about TMD/TMJ and see a medical drawing with an uncanny Kevin Bacon resemblance here on our blog.

Chiropractic for Foot Pain

Since the feet are the foundation of our bodies, it only makes sense that when you have foot pain, it deeply impacts the rest of your body’s structure and function. Plantar fasciitis, heel pain, Achilles tendon pain, bunions, or other foot pain must be addressed to help lessen pain in the foot itself, along with related back, knee or hip pain.

How chiropractic can help: The chiropractor can adjust any of the 26 bones in your foot to help relieve pressure and pain, and ensure your foot is as well-aligned as possible. Using K tape for arch support is also key, especially when doing strengthening and mobility exercises, or working on balance (standing or squatting using only foot). Custom-made orthotics is another measure that can help dramatically–even if you don’t think you need arch support, you may be one orthotic away from sweet relief.

Chiropractic for Hip Pain

Hip pain–where your leg bone (femur) attaches to your pelvis–can be debilitating. The muscles around the pelvis or leg may pull on the hip and cause pain (the IT band or piriformis syndrome, for example) or the bursae (the fluid-filled sacs at the joints) may become inflamed. Other hip pain is from leg length discrepancy, which causes biomechanical imbalance and overcompensation from the longer leg.

Some hip pain problems go deeper, like arthritis or hip impingement (a muscle or labrum that feels like it’s catching, or gives a pinching kind of pain). Congenital defects like hip dysplasia or irregularly shaped femurs can also cause hip pain.

How chiropractic can help: If the legs are different lengths, getting diagnosed and measured for a heel lift or custom orthotic can make a huge (good) change. If the hip pain stems from muscle, bursa, or tendon, chiropractic adjustments, orthotics, exercise and soft tissue massage can all be helpful. If the problem is deeper, adjustments, exercises and modification of activities is key. In more serious cases, surgical intervention or injections may be needed.

Chiropractic for Knee Pain

Knee pain can be caused by poor biomechanics, injuries, or degenerative changes, but they may also be a result of a foot or back problem. The foot can cause torsional force on the leg and cause medial (inside) knee pain over time. An uneven pelvis can also load the knee unevenly. It’s also highly common to suffer pain and injury from overuse, such as Osgood-Schlatter disease; patellar tendonitis; Baker’s cyst; or knee tracking disorder; or to have traumatic injuries from meniscus or ligament tears. Arthritis in the knee can cause deep knee pain with swelling and pain in the muscle.

How chiropractic can help: Chiropractic adjustments for the foot and back will help sort out the biomechanics of the feet. Orthotics and K-tape are also useful in providing support and stability to minimize pain. If the pain is due to overuse, rest and activity modification is in order, along with therapeutic massage to help ease tension in the knees. Traumatic knee injuries need special exercises or may require surgery. If the knee problem is degenerative, injections or replacement surgery may be chosen if chiropractic, massage, special exercises and custom orthotics do not solve the problem.

Chiropractic for Tennis or Golfer’s Elbow

Tennis elbow (or lateral epicondylitis) is pain on the outside of the elbow. Golfer’s Elbow (or medial epicondylitis) is on the inside. Both are typically from overuse and you don’t have to play either sport to get it. Besides overuse, poor elbow or shoulder motion can cause the range of motion to be impacted, which can then irritate the tendons and muscles around the elbow.

How chiropractic can help: Chiropractic adjustments for the elbow, wrist, or shoulder can ease tension, improve range of motion, and allow your body to be realigned and better functioning. Massage can allow the muscles to relax for exercises to help your body strengthen and tone the areas impacting the injury. Special elbow braces may be helpful for short-term benefit.


In conclusion, good chiropractors don’t just help backs and necks. Beyond these common conditions, there are plenty more that chiropractors can help–if it’s part of your body’s structure, the chiropractor can help!