WHAT IS CHIROPRACTIC?

Chiropractic Information

Chiropractic is from Greek words meaning done by hand. It is grounded in the principle that the body can heal itself when the skeletal system is correctly aligned and the nervous system is functioning properly. To achieve this, the Doctor uses his or her hands or an adjusting tool to perform specific realignment treatments to the spine and/or the body’s extremities.

Chiropractic Defined

A non pharmaceutical, nonsurgical system of health care based on the self-healing capacity of the body and the primary importance of the proper function of the nervous system in the maintenance of health; therapy is aimed at removing irritants to the nervous system and restoring proper function. The most common method of treatment is by spinal adjustment and is primarily done for neuro musculoskeletal complaints; other methods include lifestyle modification, nutritional therapy, and physiotherapy, rehab, exercise and dietary counseling.

Chiropractic is one of the most popular alternative therapies currently available. Some would say it now qualifies as mainstream treatment as opposed to complementary medicine. Chiropractic treatment is covered by many insurance plans and in 2004; the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced full inclusion of chiropractic care for veterans. It has become well-accepted treatment for acute pain and problems of the spine, including lower back pain, whiplash, and other maladies associated with the spine.

The Origin of Chiropractic

Spinal adjustments has a long history in many cultures but Daniel D. Palmer is the founder of modern chiropractic theory, dating back to the 1890s. Palmer founded the first chiropractic college in 1897. His son, B. J. Palmer, continued to develop chiropractic philosophy and practice after his father’s death.

Purpose

Most people will experience back pain at some time in their lives. Depending on the cause and severity of the condition, options for treatment may include physical therapy, rest, medications, surgery, or chiropractic care. Chiropractic treatment carries none of the risks of surgical or pharmacologic treatment. The goal is not merely to relieve the present ailment, but to analyze the cause and recommend appropriate changes of lifestyle to prevent the problem from occurring again. The odds of an adverse outcome are extremely low. Chiropractic has proven in several studies to be less expensive than many more traditional routes such as outpatient physical therapy. Chiropractic Spinal adjustments is an excellent option for acute lower back pain, and may also relieve neck pain as well as other neuro musculoskeletal issues.

Research and General Acceptance

Chiropractic Physicians see the lion’s share of all patients who seek medical help for back problems. And chiropractic treatment is the most widely used of all alternative medical treatments. Research has also supported the use of spinal manipulation for low back pain. Additionally, the discomforts of pregnancy may also be relieved with gentle, safe chiropractic treatment.

What to expect on the Initial Visit:

A history and systems review, followed by an examination of the nerve, muscle, and bone tissue (neuro musculoskeletal systems) associated with your chief complaint. Additionally, a Chiropractic Spinal Evaluation will be done. The Doctor may also order imaging studies, x-rays or other lab tests if needed.


 

 Key Terms: Subluxation, Spinal Dysfunction, Misalignment are all terms for abnormal movement patterns within the body.

When was Chiropractic discovered and how does Chiropractic work?
Chiropractic was discovered in 1895 by Daniel David “D.D.”Palmer.

A person’s spine is made of twenty-four bones called vertebrae. At the top of the spine is the skull which houses the brain.   From the brain, the nerve impulses travel down the spinal cord which is protected by the vertebrae. Nerves branch out from between the vertebrae and travel to all areas of the body. A person cannot take a step without the brain telling the body to move. When the vertebrae become misaligned or “out of place” they can put pressure on nerve tissue. This is called a “Subluxation.” The terms Subluxation and misalignment mean the same and refer to abnormal movement patterns within the body. When nerve impulses from the brain are slowed down the energy carried by the nerve is not fully able to reach the organs and tissues at 100% of its normal potential. A Doctor of Chiropractic aligns the vertebrae through gentle adjustments to the spine relieving the pressure on the nerve and allowing maximum nerve energy to reach the tissues it serves. The realignment of the bony tissue also helps restore the mechanical function of the joints of the body.

 What are the effects of misalignments?

It is easy to understand if you compare the nerve to a hose. However, if someone steps on the hose cutting off the water supply, the garden will become sick and eventually die. Likewise, if the hose is released, the water supply will be restored and the garden can grow. Your body reacts similarly to areas of spinal dysfunction. After a misalignment has existed for a period of time, symptoms will occur. The various symptoms of misalignment/Subluxation differ greatly. In some cases, the person may experience pain, numbness or tingling. In other cases, the symptoms may go unnoticed except that the person is more susceptible to colds, tires more quickly, or begins to have problems with an internal organ. Nerve impulses travel down the spinal cord, through the nerves serving every area of the body. Therefore many areas of the body can be affected by a misalignment.

 When can the first spinal misalignment occur?

Often the first misalignment occurs at birth. Think of the fragile spine of an infant being pulled through the birth canal. Can you imagine how much trauma that causes? Learning to walk, or ride a bicycle may also be one of the many causes of spinal dysfunction. Adolescents who participate in sports also experience problems. For adults, auto accidents, work injuries, or stress can affect the spine. Many of the normal activities of daily living for people of all ages can cause spinal dysfunction.

 What do Doctors of Chiropractic do?

They restore normal joint function by realigning (adjusting) abnormal joint structures within the body. This treatment protocol can correct, reduce and stabilize abnormal motion patterns within the body, thereby relieving pressure to the nerve, muscle and bone tissues. Chiropractic physicians also give advice and counsel patients on the prevention of future health problems. Counseling for lifestyle and dietary modifications, and when needed recommend drugless nutritional prescriptions to help patients regain and maintain their health.

How long will it take to heal?

It all depends. Many times a misalignment has existed for a period of time before the person starts experiencing symptoms. The muscles of the spine have adapted to the incorrect position of the vertebrae. For this reason, it may take a series of adjustments before the muscles become accustomed to holding the vertebra in the realigned proper position. The muscles have to be retrained. It is almost like playing a tug of war with your body for a while. The doctor adjusts the spine and the muscles, ligaments and tendons pull it back out. Often patients will not seek chiropractic care until the symptoms appear.   By that time the vertebrae have been dysfunctional for some time. This is why periodic spinal checkups are so important. Prevention is the key to maintaining a healthy body.