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What is chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a natural method of health care with the proven ability to relieve back pain, increase vitality, and promote well-being. For over a century, doctors of chiropractic have successfully helped millions of individuals recover from spine-related health problems. As a result, chiropractic has earned its place as the largest drugless and non-surgical health care profession in the United States.
Chiropractic is based on the scientific fact that your body is a self-regulating, self-healing organism. These important functions are controlled by the brain, spinal cord, and all the nerves of the body. The moving bones of the spine protect the vulnerable communication pathways of the spinal cord and nerve roots. If the nervous system is impaired, it can cause malfunction of the tissues and organs throughout the body. Doctors call this the Vertebral Subluxation Complex: Vertebral meaning the bones of the spine, and subluxation, meaning less than a total dislocation, and Complex, meaning consisting of more than one point. Chiropractic is the science of locating offending spinal structure, the art of reducing their impact to the nervous system, and the philosophy of all things natural.
How does chiropractic work?
The human body possesses a natural ability to restore itself. This ability depends on a healthy nervous system. Life's events such as automobile accidents, sports injuries, repetitive work, and home stress are just some of the factors that can overwhelm the body's ability to adapt. The joints of the spine 'lock up' when these sorts of events occur, limiting range of motion. Spinal joint restriction and/or misalignment results in irritation and/or pressure at the spinal nerve.
Chiropractic can correct these structural distortions, known as subluxations, restoring the body to its optimal form and function. Local symptoms of subluxations may include pain, tenderness, swelling, tingling, numbness, or spasm around the joints of the spine, back, and neck. Many times these sensations extend further into the shoulders and arms, around the rib cage, or into the hips and down the legs. Subluxations can even lead to headaches, stomach and digestive problems, and loss of overall health.
Impaired nerve coordination causes the whole body to suffer. Vital instructions flow between the brain and the body by way of spinal nerves. These instructions inform and direct the body as to when, where, and how it needs to heal itself. By irritating nerves, subluxations interfere with the essential brain/body exchange, thereby compromising the normal function of the body's organs and tissues. Chiropractic care clears the path for the body to maintain its own health.
What do chiropractic doctors do?
Doctors of chiropractic are specially trained in the evaluation and treatment of spinal conditions, which is why an increasing number of back pain sufferers are turning to them for fast, effective, and reliable care. Similarly, more and more hospitals and private practices are now working closely with doctors of chiropractic in order to ensure the best quality of care for patients who suffer from spine-related injuries and dysfunction.
The benefits of chiropractic care have also been shown to extend beyond reduction of back and neck pain. In fact, chiropractic has proven itself as useful in the reduction of headache pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, jaw pain, sciatica, and tingling in the arms and legs. The rewards of chiropractic care are numerous. People under chiropractic care report better health and well-being and many families have realized the benefits of chiropractic care for their children.
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.
Who should see a Doctor of Chiropractic?
Nerve interference can affect anyone, which is why people of all ages experience relief and improved health through chiropractic care. A qualified doctor of chiropractic will best determine the appropriateness of care for you or your family.
No method of health care has proven itself to be more effective than chiropractic in helping those who suffer from back and neck pain. Doctors of chiropractic are the most highly qualified professionals in evaluating and caring for these, as well as many other health problems.
Why do children need chiropractic care?
Since significant spinal trauma can occur at birth, many parents have their newborns checked for the Vetebral Subluxation Complex. Later, learning to walk, ride a bicycle, and other childhood activities can cause spinal problems. While and 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.
There are other reasons parents choose to bring their child to see a chiropractor. Earaches and avoiding ear tubes is one of the main reasons kids come into our office. It is a non-invasive adjustment done to the ears to release pressure and fluid. Headaches, neck pain, back pain, upper respiratory infection, allergies, asthma, and bedwetting are other common issues chiropractic can help relieve in children.
Is chiropractic safe?
YES. Its non-surgical, drug-free approach to health places chiropractic among the safest of all health care practices. Remember, chiropractic takes nothing out of the body and puts nothing in. As a result, chiropractors enjoy one of the lowest malpractice rates of all health care professionals.
What type of education do chiropractic doctor's get?
Like all primary health care providers, doctors of chiropractic undergo extensive education and training before becoming licensed professionals. Students begin by fulfilling undergraduate degree requirements, with a strong emphasis on the core sciences such as chemistry, anatomy, physiology, and physics.
The professional program leading to the Doctor of Chiropractic degree is very demanding. Chiropractic students continue their study of the sciences, including pathology and biochemistry, at a highly detailed level.
Their education continues into the advanced clinical sciences including orthopedics, neurology, examination procedures, differential diagnosis, and X-ray interpretation. During this entire process, aspiring doctors of chiropractic gain knowledge of the philosophy and practice of health care and chiropractic.
Doctors of chiropractic refine their technical adjusting skills in technique classes. During clinical internships student doctors perfect these skills.
Finally, all doctors of chiropractic must pass the rigorous national board exams and state exams before entering the field.
What is an adjustment?
A chiropractic adjustment is the art of using a specific force in a precise direction, applied to a joint that is fixated, "locked up," or not moving properly. This adds motion to the joint, helping the bones gradually return to a more normal position and motion. The purpose of this safe and natural procedure is improved spinal function, improved nervous system function, and improved health.
There are many ways to adjust the spine. Usually the doctor's hands or a specially designed instrument delivers a brief and highly-accurate thrust. Some adjusting method's are quick, whereas others require slow and constant pressure.
After years of training and clinical experience, each chiropractor becomes highly skilled in the delivery of a variety of adjusting approaches.
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 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.
Can I speed the healing process?
While there aren't any shortcuts to speed your body's natural healing process, there's a lot you can do to give yourself the best chance of a quick recovery. Learn proper sitting and lifting methods. Specific exercises may be suggested to help retrain the muscles that support your spine.
Proper rest is an important aspect of the healing process, too. Get the appropriate amount of rest your body needs and avoid sleeping on your stomach.
During the healing process, proper nutrition is more important than ever. Make sure you eat balanced meals, and if you're overweight, now would be a good time to slim down and reduce unnecessary stresses to your spine.
Perhaps, most important of all, keep your appointments and follow your chiropractic doctor's recommendations for optimum results.
How much chiropractic care will I need?
The number of visits you make to your chiropractor depends on the nature of your condition and your personal goals. Many people use chiropractic as part of a preventive health care routine, scheduling chiropractic appointments on a regular basis to keep their bodies functioning at their best. Others seek care and treatment for specific conditions with the primary goal of treatment being pain relief. It is important for you to discuss your objectives with your chiropractor in order to develop a treatment plan that works best for you.
Keep in mind, healing rates vary from person to person. Children tend to respond more quickly to treatment, whereas adults and seniors may respond more slowly. A good rule of thumb is that the longer the spine has not been working properly, the more extensive the care plan may be to achieve desired results.
What can chiropractic treat?
The usual complaints for which people consult a chiropractor may include:
- Upper back pain and lower back pain
- Neck pain and whiplash injuries
- Slipped discs, bulging discs, herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis
- Postural problems
- Accident/sports injuries
- Headaches and migraines
- Shoulder, hand, and arm pain
- Hip, knee, and leg pain
- Pins and needles or numbness
- Arthritic joints
- Back pain from pregnancy
- Muscle and ligament problems
- Balance disorders and dizziness
While chiropractic does not specifically treat breathing problems, digestive disorders, fatigue, menstrual pain, ear infections in children and other general health problems, patients often see an improvement of symptoms of these complaints after a course of treatment involving lifestyle changes, nutritional advice and spinal correction through manipulation.