We provide chiropractic adjustments utilizing effective techniques. Our practice provides care for the entire family, from the young to the elderly. Our care is based on a detailed health history and chiropractic examination which includes computerized instrumentation and functional tests.
Chiropractic is a health profession concerned with the assessment, care and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the effects of these disorders on the nervous system and general health. Chiropractic does not involve the use of drugs or surgery. You do not need a referral from another doctor in order to see a chiropractor. Chiropractic practice emphasizes care that supports the natural ability of the body to heal itself and may include:
1. chiropractic adjustments
2. soft tissue techniques such as trigger point therapy
3. exercise and rehabilitative programs
4. other supportive care such as the use of electrical therapies, traction and back supports
5. patient education on spinal health, posture, nutrition and other lifestyle modifications.
What ages of people benefit from chiropractic adjustments? Chiropractic care can help children, adults and older adults. In other words, people of all ages can benefit. Although the majority of patients that seek chiropractic care do so for neuromusculoskeletal pain or disorders such as low back pain, neck pain and headaches, a substantial proportion of these patients report improvement in other functions such as better breathing, circulation and digestion.
Chiropractic management for low back pain (LBP), neck pain, and headache is as good as or better than other forms of conservative treatment. Patient satisfaction with chiropractic care is high. Chiropractic care costs no more than other conservative treatments for back and neck pain.
You may be interested to know that chiropractic education is extensive and rigorous. Both medical and chiropractic education require four years of study with chiropractic education requiring 4822 class hours compared to 4667 hours for medical education. For the most part, textbooks, course requirements and objectives are equivalent for the same courses in chiropractic and medical education. The main difference in education is that chiropractic does not offer a postgraduate residency.
The spinal column is a multisegmental linked system composed of 24 vertebrae (spinal bones), 23 discs, the base of the skull and sacrum and coccyx or tailbone. Each unit of the spine is composed of two vertebrae with a disc between them except for at the top of the neck between the first and second vertebra. Each spine unit permits a pair of nerves to exit and supply the body. In general each bone forms a part of at least six joints. Its role is to give solid structural support for daily activities and to permit a wide range of movements while protecting the spinal cord and nerve roots. In all, the spine involves 96 joints (Triano, 2006).
Chiropractic is about optimizing health. The basic principle is that the body’s ability to heal is affected by and integrated through the nervous system. If this communication system is altered somehow then your function will not be 100%. The nervous system is an incredible collection of nerves, neurotransmitters (chemicals), support cells, and the like that allows for information to be “processed” so that we may function well. Your spine houses the spinal cord and from the spinal cord come spinal nerves that exit between the bones or “vertebrae” of your spine. When the information carried in these nerves changes because the nerves are irritated or otherwise dysfunctional, your body cannot function at peak efficiency.
The modern evidence suggests that excessive biomechanical stress is a key factor that can result in many symptoms, both for normal and abnormal anatomy. We call the result of that overstressing event a subluxation. An evidence based definition of subluxation describes it as a buckling of the spinal unit within the normal range of motion resulting in concentration of stress in one or more of the tissues including discs, ligaments, joints, nerve or muscle. Buckling simply means that joints shift in their shape or alignment under force. Any type of material can buckle. For instance, a tin roof can buckle and a car door will buckle when hit by another car. When these structural changes occur within the spine, they increase tissue stress typically resulting in inflammation, pain and swelling. Subluxations can occur from (Triano, 2006):
- single events that overload your tissues such as falls or whiplash
- prolonged stress followed by small movements such as sitting all day and then bending over to pick up something off the floor
- rapid loads to the spine such as jumping off the floor and landing on your heels. This type of jumping activity can apply pressure to the spine of about half the body weight. Under certain circumstances even this kind of load can trigger spinal problems.
- Other factors that can lead to subluxation include inflammation and swelling, restricted movement, spinal degeneration (such as osteoarthritis), various diseases, musculoskeletal disorders (such as tight muscles), poor posture, poor diet, low levels of physical activity and many more.
The subluxation then involves vertebrae that move improperly (often because of “tight muscles”) and this improper movement is thought to be related to neurological changes in the spine. Usually subluxations are painful, but in many cases, they are not. A chiropractor will be able to determine if you have subluxations. Chiropractic uses the spinal adjustments and other hands on techniques designed to release the overstress in the tissues, which improves symptoms and allows better function.
Now that you understand the basics behind chiropractic care, the goals of chiropractic are to:
- meet your immediate needs which often means to relieve pain
- address the cause of the symptoms by restoring normal movement and function of your joints, muscles and other structures of the musculoskeletal system
- improve posture
- enhance your general health and your sense of well-being
As with many other forms of care, how adjustments specifically reduce pain and improve spinal function is not completely known at this point. Most studies looking at the mechanisms for how adjustments work have focused on the biomechanical and neurophysiological effects. In other words, it appears that adjustments work because they improve motion and physiology. To date, there are at least a thousand scientific studies on chiropractic. Chiropractic safety has been well established through research and the safety record of chiropractic adjustments is exceptional.
What conditions can chiropractic help?
You probably are under the impression that chiropractic care can help with back pain, headaches and neck pain. Well, you are right! However, chiropractic can help with numerous other problems. What exactly are the other problems chiropractic can help with, is a common question. We’d bet you probably were unaware of research that supports chiropractic adjustments can also improve the following (see references below):
Ulcers (1) Athletic/sport performance (2) Asthma (3-5) Pulmonary function (6) Immune function (7, 8) Chronic pain (9) Cost-effectiveness (10-13) Crohn’s disease (14) Whiplash (15-17) Injuries/Soft Tissue Disorders (18) Workers compensation injuries (11, 19) Colic (20) Ear infections (otitis media) (21) Vision (22-26) These are only a few of the studies that relate to things other than what people normally think of for chiropractic adjustments. Of course a lot of research has been done in the areas of back pain (9, 10, 27-36), neck pain (37-41) and headaches (41-44).
So how can chiropractic adjustments help with so many different things? Chiropractic is about improving the functioning of the body. The basic principle is that every organ, tissue and cell in your body is in communication with your brain/spinal cord. This communication is achieved by means of your nervous system. If the communication is disrupted somehow then your function will not be 100%. The nervous system is an incredible collection of nerves, neurotransmitters (chemicals), support cells, and the like that allows for information to be “processed” so that we may function well. Your spine houses the spinal cord and from the spinal cord come spinal nerves that exit between the bones (vertebrae) of your spine. When spinal nerves become irritated or otherwise disrupted, your body cannot function at peak efficiency.
Factors that predispose your nervous system to become interfered with include but are not limited to injury, inflammation and swelling, restricted movement, spinal degeneration (such as arthritis), disease, musculoskeletal disorders (such as tight muscles), poor posture, poor diet, low levels of physical activity and many more. The Doctor of Chiropractic examines your spine for areas of improper function commonly referred to as vertebral subluxation (or just subluxation). The subluxation involves vertebrae that move improperly (usually because of “tight muscles”) and interfere with information processing. Usually subluxations are painful, but in many cases, they are not. Only a chiropractor will be able to determine if you have subluxations or not. If you do have subluxations, they can be improved by means of chiropractic adjustments. Adjustments are achieved by your chiropractor applying a specific force to your spine.
Now you should be able to understand how chiropractic adjustments can improve the many disorders mentioned above and many more you can think of that are not on the list. Here is a question for you to test your understanding. Can chiropractic improve muscular strength and if so how? You should know the answer by now. The answer is yes chiropractic can improve strength (ref) and it does so by the same way that chiropractic improves anything. Chiropractic uses the spinal adjustment to influence the biomechanics of your spine and allow better function to result. In many cases, various disorders can be traced back to the spine, particularly where these nerves enter/exit the spine. This is one of the reasons why chiropractic can help with such seemingly diverse problems.
For instance your neck or cervical spine contains nerves that supply: the head and face, neck muscles, glands such as lymph and thyroid, the bones, joints and muscles of the shoulder, arm, forearm, wrist, hand and fingers. Your mid-back or thoracic spine contains the nerves that supply: the arms, wrist, fingers, digestive organs, pancreas, spleen, ovaries, uterus, kidneys, liver, lungs, heart, breast, and back muscles. Your low back or lumbar spine contains nerves that supply: the back muscles, large intestine, uterus, appendix, bladder, sex organs, legs, knees, ankles, feet.
Spinal problems in any of the areas just mentioned could affect the function of the region(s) supplied by the corresponding nerves. For example, research has shown that spinal problems in the lower cervical spine can be related to chest pains.
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