WHAT IS CHIROPRACTIC?
Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system. When one of these systems is interrupted, it can cause havoc on your general health. Through manual adjustments, chiropractic care can realign your body to achieve optimal health and well-being. Chiropractic services are most commonly used to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, such as back pain, neck pain, joint pain, and headaches; however, it has also been proven to help compliment the treatment for stress, depression, anxiety, and addiction.
WHAT IS A DOCTOR OF CHIROPRACTIC?
Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) are educated with broad diagnostic skills and practice a hands-on, drug-free approach to health care. Their education consists of a Bachelor of Science degree, and a 4-year doctoral graduate degree. DCs assess a patients needs through examinations, including but not limited to, orthopedic examinations, neurological examinations, spinal examinations, laboratory testing, and diagnostic imaging. DCs can determine when chiropractic treatment is appropriate or when it is not appropriate. Chiropractors will refer patients to the appropriate medical provider when chiropractic care is not suitable for the patient’s condition, or when the condition requires comanagement with other medical providers. Chiropractic care may be a patient’s primary method of
treatment for low back pain or headaches, however, when other medical conditions exist, chiropractic care may complement the patients treatment by relieving the musculoskeletal aspects associated with the condition.
WHAT IS SPINAL MANIPULATION?
Spinal manipulation or “chiropractic adjustment” is a therapeutic procedure performed by DCs. The purpose is to realign the spine and/or joint by manually applying a controlled force to restore mobility. When joints become hypomobile, their movement is restricted causing the injured tissues surrounding the joint to undergo physical and chemical changes causing inflammation, pain, and decreased function. By manipulating/adjusting the affected joint and surrounding tissues, DCs are able to restore mobility and alleviate pain and inflammation, allowing tissues to heal properly.
WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM CHIROPRACTIC CARE?
People of all ages can benefit from chiropractic care. Chiropractic has been shown to help during pregnancy to alleviate aches and pains, reduce swelling and discomfort, and help turn the baby from a breech position. During the younger years of childhood, chiropractic care has been proven to keep the nervous system and muscular system aligned to allow for proper growth and development. It has also been shown to help alleviate earaches, sleepless/restless nights, posture abnormalities, colic, and assist in the co-management of ADHD. Throughout adulthood and into our wise years, chiropractic care can help keep joints healthy by maintaining adequate blood flow to prevent degenerative joint disease, increasing overall mobility, improving posture and balance, and helping one maintain an overall sense of better health and well-being.
IS CHIROPRACTIC CARE SAFE?
Chiropractic has an excellent safety record. It is the result of a conservative approach to health that avoids invasive procedures or addictive drugs. A thorough case history and examination help reveal areas of the spine that may be causing nervous system malfunction. This information will be used to determine the best course of care for each patient. Chiropractic care is a natural approach to better health that is proven safe and effective.
WHAT DO CHIROPRACTIC DOCTORS DO?
Helping to restore proper spinal biomechanics and improved nervous system function begins with a case history. This gives the doctor a background about your health, such as surgeries, accidents, the onset of your condition, and other details affecting your current health. After reviewing your history and discussing your specific problem, a thorough orthopedic, neurological, and chiropractic examination is performed. X-rays may be taken to uncover structural and functional problems associated with the spinal column. These examinations help identify areas of spinal malfunction and resulting nervous system deficit. The findings of these examinations are explained and a plan of chiropractic adjustments may be recommended. Progress is monitored with periodic examinations and follow-up reports. Since the word “doctor” comes from the Latin word meaning teacher, regardless of your approach, he or she has a strong commitment to patient education.
WHAT TYPE OF EDUCATION DO CHIROPRACTORS GET?
Today’s doctor of chiropractic is well educated. The science of chiropractic requires a special emphasis on anatomy, physiology, and pathology, neurology, biomechanics, X-ray, spinal adjusting techniques, and related subjects. This demanding curriculum prepares chiropractic doctors to locate the Vertebral Subluxation Complex and help correct the resulting nervous system dysfunction. To graduate with a Doctor of Chiropractic degree, each candidate passes the demanding National Board Examination. Then, a doctor applies to a governmental or professional licensing board and passes a still more difficult test before being granted the privilege to practice. A chiropractic education never ends. Doctors complete postgraduate instruction for license renewal and to stay current on the latest scientific research.
HOW LONG WILL I NEED CHIROPRACTIC CARE?
Spinal problems neglected from early childhood may require ongoing supportive care for optimum spinal function. These, long standing problems are often associated with muscle weakness, soft tissue damage, and degenerative changes to the spine. Most patients find that periodic chiropractic checkups help keep them in tip-top shape. Those who are active, have stressful jobs, or want to be their very best, find that a schedule of preventive visits are helpful in maintenance of good health. Some patients seek chiropractic care only when their ache or pain becomes unbearable. While this style of “crisis management” is usually more costly and time consuming, our office stands ready to help all patients, regardless of their health goals. How long you decide to benefit from chiropractic care is always up to you.
AM I TOO OLD TO RECEIVE CHIROPRACTIC CARE?
More and more people are consulting chiropractic doctors, especially in their later years. With growing concerns about over medication and side effects of combining various prescription drugs, safe natural chiropractic care is growing in popularity. Restoring better spinal function can help improve mobility, vitality, endurance, and patient appetite. Many patients report improvement with arthritic symptoms and other chronic ailments often associated with the aging process. The adjusting technique used by your doctor will be modified for maximum comfort and result. As we get older and wiser, the simplicity and effectiveness of chiropractic care becomes more and more obvious.
CAN I SPEED THE HEALING PROCESS?
Since significant spinal trauma can occur at birth, many parents have their newborns checked for the Vertebral Subluxation Complex. Later, learning to walk, ride a bicycle, and other childhood activities can cause spinal problems. While a bandage and some comforting words can help a skinned knee, the unseen damage to the child’s spine is the unique domain of a chiropractic doctor. Many childhood health complaints that are brushed off as “growing pains” can often be traced to the spine. Regular chiropractic checkups can identify these problems and help avoid many of the health complaints seen later in adults. Naturally, chiropractic adjusting procedures are modified to a child’s spine. Most parents report that their children enjoy chiropractic adjustments and seem healthier than other children.
ARE ALL PATIENTS ADJUSTED THE SAME WAY?
The doctor evaluates each patient’s unique spinal problem and develops an individual course of care. The resulting recommendations are based upon years of training and experience. Some patients, who complain of headaches, may actually have a lower back problem that is causing a compensation reaction at the base of the skull. Other patients may be experiencing numbness and tingling in their fingers, when the actual problem is in the neck. Every patient presents a uniquely different spinal pattern. Patients notice that their chiropractic care is delivered with confidence and precision. Each visit builds on the one before. And while visits may seem similar, each patient’s care is uniquely different from every other patient.
DO I HAVE A SLIPPED DISC?
Technically a disc can’t “slip.” The intervertebral disc is a pad of cartilage-type material situated between spinal bones. Each disc serves as a connector, spacer, and shock absorber for the spine. A soft, jelly-like center is contained by outer layers of fibrous tissue. Healthy discs help allow normal turning and bending. Because of the way each disc is attached to the vertebrae above and below, a disc cannot “slip.” However, trauma or injury to the spine can cause discs to tear, bulge, or worse, rupture. This can be quite painful, as the soft center of the disc leaks, putting pressure on the adjacent nerve roots and spinal cord. While results cannot be guaranteed, many patients have avoided needless surgery or a dependency on pain pills, by choosing chiropractic care for their disc-related health problems.
DO I HAVE A PINCHED NERVE?
Many patients consult a chiropractic doctor because they think they have a pinched nerve. Because of the way your spine is designed, abnormal spinal function caused from physical trauma, emotional tensions, or chemical toxins can affect the delicate tissues of the spinal cord and nerve roots. While commonly associated with the spine, the pinched nerve (compressive lesion) is actually rare. Researchers suggest that only 10% to 15% of spine related problems are caused by direct pressure of bone on nerve tissue! This can result in numbness, burning or a “pins and needles” feeling. More frequently, nerves are irritated (facilitative lesion). This is caused when nerve tissue is rubbed, scraped, stretched by a loss of spinal curve, or irritated by malfunctioning spinal joints.
AT WHAT AGE SHOULD CHIROPRACTIC BEGIN?
Newborns have received spinal adjustments especially after difficult traumatic births. There are case histories of infants close to death who were adjusted in hospitals with seemingly miraculous recoveries.
WHAT TYPES OF PAIN DO CHIROPRACTORS TREAT?
Chiropractors are known for their expertise in caring for patients with back pain, neck pain, and headaches. They also treat sports injuries and other disorders involving muscles, ligaments and joints. The benefits of chiropractic care go beyond this and extend into general health as our core body structure affects overall function and health.
WHAT IS A CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENT?
A chiropractic adjustment is the art of using a specific, controlled force in a precise direction that is applied to a spinal joint not moving properly or “locked up.” The purpose of this natural and safe procedure is to correct structural alignment and eliminate interference in the nervous system. For the patient, this means improved spinal function, reduction in pain, and an overall improvement in health and wellness.
DO ADJUSTMENTS HURT?
Chiropractic manipulation is a highly controlled procedure that rarely causes discomfort because minimal force and gentle pressure are used. In fact, most patients feel relief immediately following treatment. Any reported soreness after an initial adjustment has been described as similar to that associated with starting a new exercise program. Drinking plenty of water, using an ice pack, and engaging in light stretching after your first visit can help ease any discomfort promote healing.
ARE ADJUSTMENTS SAFE?
Chiropractic care is widely recognized as one of the safest drug-free, non-invasive therapies available for the treatment of most back and neck problems. Spinal adjustments are extremely safe when performed by a licensed chiropractor.
WHY DO ADJUSTMENTS SOMETIMES MAKE A POPPING SOUND?
The noises you hear resembling popping sounds are your joints releasing tiny pockets of air. A chiropractic adjustment does not affect the bones of either side of a joint; it affects the connective tissue that holds the joint together.
WILL A CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENT COMPLETELY REMOVE BACK PAIN?
For many, back pain can become chronic if left untreated. Chiropractic care has been shown to ease and even eliminate back pain for many patients.
WHAT DO ADJUSTMENTS FEEL LIKE?
After the brief thrust, many patients report a sense of well-being or a feeling of calmness. Others feel improved mobility. Inflammation or muscle spasms may delay these positive effects. Chiropractic doctors excel at making adjustments comfortable and effective.
HOW LONG DO CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS TAKE?
This all depends on the length and severity of your condition, however, most first visits may last as much as 30 minutes. Follow-up visits are much less, often as little as 5-10 minutes.
HOW CAN SPINAL DECOMPRESSION WORK WITH CHIROPRACTIC CARE?
Correct spinal and body alignment is usually a multifaceted issue that requires a multifaceted approach. A spinal injury or condition usually requires Chiropractic care to realign subluxations (vertebrae that are not in correct alignment). But disc problems may still be present and need treatment even after the vertebrae are realigned. This is why certain patients also need complementary therapies like decompression to address all facets of their back pain, neck pain, spinal injury, sciatica, headaches, etc.
HOW MANY SPINAL DECOMPRESSION TREATMENTS DOES IT TAKE BEFORE I SEE IMPROVEMENT?
This depends greatly on your individual condition, but generally speaking, long-term relief can be achieved after somewhere between 4-8 sessions.
WHO MIGHT BE A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR SPINAL DECOMPRESSION? IS THERE ANYONE THAT SHOULD NOT HAVE THIS TREATMENT?
Spinal decompression is safe for most patients, and is especially helpful when drugs and surgery are poor options. We will do a complete examination and go through your extensive medical history to make sure there are no conditions that could cause problems (this may not be the best option for patients with advanced osteoporosis, pregnancy, obesity and extensive nerve damage).
CAN CHIROPRACTIC HELP ORGANIC (HEART, LUNG, KIDNEY, BLADDER, ETC) PROBLEMS?
Yes. Your nerve system controls and co-ordinates your entire body including your organs. Subluxations interfere with normal nerve function between the brain and body. Chiropractors remove subluxations allowing for the normal expression of the nerve system, re-connecting the brain and body aiding organic function and its healing.
CAN CHIROPRACTORS PREVENT BACK SURGERY?
In a majority of cases the answer is a resounding YES!
IF I DON’T HEAR A CRACK DOES THAT MEAN THE ADJUSTMENT DID NOT WORK?
When your chiropractor adjusts you, the goal is to restore normal motion to your joint. Sometimes the joint is so tight your chiropractor cannot get it to fully release. In this case you may not hear a popping sound. The adjustment was still helpful in stretching the joint, it just was not as profound a stretch as your chiropractor might have wanted. Other times when the joint is fully mobile with no restrictions, you do not hear a popping sound because no release was needed by the joint. A good chiropractor will make an assessment of the movement of your joints before adjusting you. They will then only adjust the joints that are restricted in their movement. Sometimes however, even the most experienced chiropractor will think a joint feels restricted until he attempts to adjust it. Then while delivering the adjustment the true motion of the joint is apparent.
Do not become preoccupied with hearing a “crack” every time you get adjusted. Sound is not a good indicator of the effectiveness of the adjustment.
WHAT DOES THE ADJUSTMENT OR MANIPULATION OF THE VERTEBRAE REALLY DO?
It separates the joint briefly, which stretches it and brings in joint fluid to promote normal motion. It also stimulates receptors in the spine, which help block pain and normalize nerve signals. The adjustment increases blood flow to that area, which promotes healing. The muscles around the joint are stretched, which relieves muscle spasm and restores joint motion.
ARE X-RAYS REQUIRED?
Not every patient needs to have x-rays taken. It will depend on your condition and information obtained from your examination. If there has been a recent injury such as a car accident, or fall, x-rays will usually be taken to make sure nothing has been broken.
HOW DOES CHIROPRACTIC CARE HELP DURING PREGNANCY?
Structurally, as the uterus expands during pregnancy, the abdominal muscles are stretched and they lose their ability to help maintain good posture. The curve in the low back increases and the center of gravity is moved forward. This causes increased strain on the muscles and ligaments in the low back leading to pressure and pain. Chiropractic adjustments can help lower the incidence of pain in the low back and legs, and between the shoulder blades. Women also report fewer headaches and often less nausea or easier bowel movements. We have a specially designed table that allows pregnant women to lie face down comfortably even into their ninth month!
CAN I SEE A CHIROPRACTOR IF I AM PREGNANT?
Many pregnant women find that chiropractic adjustments improve the pregnancy experience and make delivery easier. Adjustments are adapted to accommodate the stage of pregnancy and the unique needs of each patient.
IS BACK PAIN COMMON?
More than 80 percent of people experience lower back pain at some point in their lives. In fact, it is one of the most reported reasons people miss work and is the second most frequent reason patients visit the doctor.
IS IT BAD TO “CRACK” YOUR BACK?
The desire to “crack” or “pop” the neck or back is caused by tension from a jammed or fixed vertebrae, which causes another part of the spine to compensate by moving too much and “popping” or clicking a lot. The jammed part should be adjusted by a chiropractor so that the rest of the spinal column will balance being so movable and noisy.
AFTER MY FIRST FEW ADJUSTMENTS I FELT SORE AFTERWARDS, BUT NOW I DON’T, WHY IS THAT?
Well, that is probably because vertebrae subluxations can exist for a long, long time before you go to a chiropractor. In fact many people go to a chiropractor feeling no soreness at all, but after the adjustment the body begins to reshape its spine using muscles it has not used for years. So when you first go to a chiropractor it is quite possible that extensive changes are taking place in a short space of time and you will feel it afterwards, and then after awhile you get accustomed to it and you don’t feel it anymore.
CAN SPINES AUTOMATICALLY GO BACK IN PLACE?
Yes. There are verified instances of blind people recovering eyesight after a fall, of individuals able to walk again after their wheelchair was thrown amnesiacs who remember their past after receiving a trauma – these are examples of “accidental adjustments.” A visit to the chiropractor is a lot safer. Massage, acupuncture, meditation, various types of body work, as well as a cathartic emotional release can also reduce stress, sometimes permitting the spine to automatically realign. Occasionally, even a good night’s sleep can correct a subluxation.
CAN I TELL IF I HAVE A SUBLUXATION WITHOUT CONSULTING A CHIROPRACTOR?
Not always. A subluxation is like a dental cavity – you may have it for a long time before symptoms appear. That’s why periodic spinal checkups are so important. Although it may be possible to know you have a subluxation, it is rarely possible to be sure you don’t. An occasional spinal checkup is always a good idea.
WHAT IS A VERTEBRAL SUBLUXATION?
To understand what a vertebral subluxation is, you first have to understand a little about the body’s anatomy and about the nerve system. Virtually every nerve in the body starts as part of the brain. Millions of nerve fibers leave the base of the skull and run down inside the bones of the spine, and there thousands of them branch out at each level to go to the various parts of the body so that the brain can stay in communication with all of the organs, all of the cells, all of the body parts, and make them work as a team. Every time you bend, twist, or turn the body has to ADJUST, move, or re-arrange the position of these vertebrae.
A vertebral subluxation is a circumstance where the body does not perfectly move these vertebrae. The body doesn’t have the energy or force available to properly move them so some of the vertebrae/bones of the spine actually irritate the very nerves they are meant to protect.
So, a vertebral subluxation is a circumstance where the body does not have perfect control over the movement of its own vertebrae, resulting in nerve irritation and a dis-communication or dis-harmony between the brain and all parts of the body.
For you to function perfectly as a human being every single cell in the body must be in constant communication with the brain and the brain must be in the position to regulate and control all of the cells. A vertebral subluxation interferes with this causing an imperfection, so that the various systems of the body function with less than perfection.
Obviously a vertebral subluxation interferes with your health potential, but also it interferes with every other potential of the body. It interferes with your coordination, your speed, your stamina, your energy, your income earning capacity, how well you play sports, how well you drive a car, your sex live, your moods, your relationships with your kids.
If you have a vertebral subluxation, as long as that vertebral subluxation stays there, the body can’t run its various functions at perfection.
IS CHIROPRACTIC SIMILAR TO MASSAGE?
No. Chiropractic deals with the spinal column, nervous system, meninges and body structure. Massage therapists deal with muscle tension, circulation and body fluid drainage.
DO CHIROPRACTORS WORK IN HOSPITALS?
Today chiropractors have privileges in many hospitals. Ideally, doctors of chiropractic would go through every ward and check all patients’ spines; after all, who needs healthy spines more than people facing life-threatening diseases? The presence of D.C.s in hospitals is a welcome beginning – hopefully paving the way toward making drugless, natural methods of chiropractic care available to all hospital patients.
DO CHIROPRACTORS HAVE MD DEGREES?
Chiropractors have Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degrees granted from chiropractic colleges. Chiropractic education and medical education are similar in some respects and different in others because chiropractors do not prescribe drugs and medical doctors do not correct the vertebral subluxation complex.
WHY IS IT THAT SOME CHIROPRACTORS TALK ABOUT NUTRITION, REST, AND EXERCISE WHEN OTHERS DON’T MENTION THEM?
Well it is a matter of personal choice. The practice of Chiropractic is to keep you as free from vertebral subluxations as we possibly can. However, some chiropractors are concerned with more than Chiropractic. They give advice on a number of things including as you said nutrition, rest, exercise, etc. even though those things are not strictly a part of Chiropractic.
CAN A PERSON WITH A BROKEN BACK OR NECK SEE A CHIROPRACTOR?
After the break heals, yes. In fact, a broken bone forms a callus or bone scar when it heals that is stronger than the rest of the bone. This should dispel any concerns about the safety of an adjustment. People who have had broken bones need chiropractic checkups because accidents usually cause subluxations.
CAN I GO TO A CHIROPRACTOR IF I AM UNDER MEDICAL CARE?
Yes. Having your subluxations corrected is important, no matter what other type of healthcare you are receiving. Today many D.C.s and M.D.s are working together in clinics and on joint research projects. M.D.s are quite likely to have patients who are under chiropractic care; in fact many medical doctors see a chiropractor themselves.